Sony and Kobo have inked a deal that will see Sony’s ebook and e-reading customers move over to the Kobo platform as early as March. Kobo will sell ebooks to Sony eReader and tablet ebook buyers. A Kobo app will come pre-loaded on select Sony tablets sold in the U.S. and Canada.
With the move, Sony is retreating from its ebook business in the U.S.
“Sony is withdrawing from the digital reading business in North America. We are currently reviewing how many employees will be affected and in what way,” Sony spokesperson Maya Wasserman told Digital Book World.
While reasons for the move are still unclear, the company is optimistic that a transition will run smoothly.
“Kobo is the ideal solution for our customers and will deliver a robust and comprehensive user experience. Like Sony, they are committed to those most passionate about reading and share our vision to use open formats so people can easily read anytime and anywhere,” said Ken Orii, vice president of digital reading business division, Sony Electronics, in a statement (below). “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.”
Requests for comment from Sony and Kobo on how many customers this will affect as well as the financial specifics of the deal were declined.
According to the statement, Kobo currently has 18 million customers who have access to 4 million ebooks.
While it could seem to some that this deal with another Japanese company could have something to do with Kobo replacing its founding CEO Michael Serbinis with an internal Rakuten candidate who is Japanese, the company said the timing is coincidental.
“The deal was negotiated prior to Takahito Aiki joining Kobo as CEO,” Kobo spokesperson Rene d’Entremont told Digital Book World.
Sony Selects Kobo to Bring its World Class eBookstore to Sony Readers in the US and Canada
Kobo to power book lovers to keep reading on Sony’s Readers, tablets and smartphones
Sony Electronics, together with Kobo, a global leader in eReading, today announced that Kobo will provide Sony’s Reader™ and Sony’s Xperia® tablet and smartphone users in the United States and Canada with Kobo’s world-class catalogue of more than 4 million eBooks, magazines and newspapers, graphic novels, and kids content. Sony’s Reader Store customers and their current eBook libraries will transfer to the Kobo ecosystem starting in late March. Reader Store customers will be able to take advantage of Kobo’s new dedicated Kids Store and magazine experience, and have full access to purchase the most popular bestsellers.
“Kobo is the ideal solution for our customers and will deliver a robust and comprehensive user experience. Like Sony, they are committed to those most passionate about reading and share our vision to use open formats so people can easily read anytime and anywhere,” said Ken Orii, Vice President of Digital Reading Business Division, Sony Electronics. “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.”
“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 Takahito Aiki, CEO, Kobo. “Together, millions of customers across the US and Canada will find their next great read at their fingertips – any time, any place, and on any device.”
The free, top-ranking Kobo App for Android will be pre-loaded on select Sony Xperia smartphones and tablets. Timing and availability may vary by market and carrier. Sony’s WiFi Reader will also harness the wide variety of content available via the Kobo eBookstore. Sony’s current Reader Store customers in the US and Canada will have access to the Kobo eBookstore starting in late March via a simple and easy migration process, and Sony’s Reader Store will close in late March. Reader Store customers will receive an email from Sony with instructions on how to easily transfer their library to a Kobo account. Until that time, Sony’s customers can continue to purchase eBooks from Sony’s Reader Store.
Kobo serves 18 million readers around the world and works with 1.3 million authors to deliver one of the world’s best catalogues of more than 4 million eBooks, magazines, and newspapers. From bestselling authors like Dan Brown, Margaret Atwood, Jodi Picoult, Khaled Hosseini, John Grisham, Nora Roberts, and Gillian Flynn, to popular magazines like Vanity Fair, People, Macleans, Food & Wine, and Today’s Parent, Kobo has something for everyone.
For more information, please visit:
Kobo – http://www.kobo.com/sony
Sony – http://ebooks.custhelp.com/
About Kobo Inc.
Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services offering more than 4 million eBooks, magazines and newspapers to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides consumers with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders and Google-Certified Android tablets to suit any Reader’s style including the award-winning Kobo Touch™, Kobo Mini, Kobo Glo, Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura HD, Kobo Arc, Kobo Arc 7, Kobo Arc 7HD, and Kobo Arc 10HD. Along with the company’s free top-ranking eReading apps for Apple®, BlackBerry®, Android®, and Windows®, Kobo ensures the next great read is just a page-turn away. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo produces eReaders and tablets that can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.
About Sony Electronics
Headquartered in San Diego, Sony Electronics is a leading provider of audio/video electronics and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. Operations include research and development, design, engineering, sales, marketing, distribution and customer service. Sony is noted for a wide range of consumer audio-visual products, such as the BRAVIA® LCD and 3D high-definition televisions, Cyber-shot® digital camera, Alpha Digital SLR camera, Handycam® camcorder and Walkman® personal stereo. Sony is also an innovator in the IT arena with its VAIO® personal computers Reader devices and Sony Tablets; and in high-definition professional broadcast equipment, highlighted by the XDCAM® HD and CineAlta™ lines of cameras and camcorders, and the SXRD™ 4K digital projector. For more information, visit www.sony.com/news or join the Sony Community: www.sony.com/blog; www.facebook.com/Sony; www.twitter.com/SonyElectronics; www.youtube.com/SonyElectronics; and www.pinterest.com/SonyElectronics.