Sony, one of the first companies to enter the e-book market but which has fallen far behind Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble, will close its e-bookstore, the Reader Store, in March and allow its American and Canadian customers to migrate their accounts to Kobo. "Our customers can be assured that they will have a seamless transition to the Kobo ecosystem and will be able to continue to access and read the titles they love from Sony devices," said Ken Orii, v-p of Sony’s digital reading business division. Sony e-reading devices include the Sony Reader and the Xperia tablet and smartphones, although beginning last fall Sony stopped offering its Reader PRS-T3 dedicated e-reader in the U.S. to focus on tablets and smartphones.
As part of the transition, the free Kobo App for Android will be pre-loaded on select Sony Xperia smartphones and tablets. Timing and availability may vary by market and carrier. Reader Store customers will receive an e-mail from Sony with instructions on how to transfer their library to a Kobo account. Until that time, Sony's customers can continue to purchase e-books from Sony's Reader Store.
The agreement between Kobo and Sony comes two days after Takahito Aiki was named to succeed Michael Serbinis as Kobo CEO. "With a shared philosophy to deliver the best reading experience across platforms and with the best content available, Kobo and Sony will reach more people than ever before," said Aiki about the Sony deal.