Sony was one of the first companies to launch a line of eReaders. But last year the company pulled the plug on its Sony Reader line of eReaders in North America when it decided not to sell its latest models here. Now Sony is sweeping up the leftovers by killing its Sony Reader eBook store in North America as well.

Sony Reader

The Sony Reader Store isn’t the only business division Sony is paring ways with. The company is also in the process of selling off its unprofitable Vaio PC business.

Sony is partnering with Kobo so that customers who have been using Sony Reader hardware or apps will be able to pick up where they left off by using Kobo when the Sony Reader store shuts down on March 20th, 2014.

Both Sony and Kobo use Adobe’s DRM system, which means books purchased from the Sony store can already be read using a Kobo device or app. But Sony’s going to make the transition a bit easier by automatically transferring existing customer’s content libraries to Kobo so that all of your books will continue to be available.

Future Sony Xperia phones and tablets will also come with the Kobo app pre-loaded.

In the meantime, now might be a good time for Sony Reader users to re-download any books they’ve purchased just in case anything goes wrong. And it’s also not a bad idea to think about stripping the DRM from your eBooks so that you can use them any way you see fit in the future.

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4 replies on “Sony Reader eBook store shutting down in US, Canada”

  1. I can see why this happened, even though I generally liked the Reader products. The last few iterations of the Sony Reader were lack luster and didn’t sell well at all. I couldn’t even find the latest version in stores to try out. The Evernote integration was a great feature, it’s too bad they couldn’t have improved upon their designs and software instead of killing it off. The latest device is clearly a device that had next to no R&D effort put into it since it wasn’t much different than the previous version.

    I guess Kobo’s are pretty good products too, so I will have to look into one of those. I won’t buy a Kindle until Amazon lets up and offers DRM free books. Unfortunately they are the dominant player(and pretty much the only player) so I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  2. I wonder how Adobe switching to new DRM for their e-reader software will effect all the existing Sony and Kobo ereaders. Will only old books work after a certain date? Their are ebook stores that do not use DRM. Not sure why people would put themselves in a position where their library may not be usable in the future.

    1. The Sony exit smells like the bad old days of DRM-ed music when
      several of the players, including Microsoft and Yahoo, left the market
      and screwed customers that had bought the DRM-ed (copy protected)
      music but couldn’t access them as the vendors’ servers were disabled. Shortly after
      that, iTunes started offering DRM-free mp3s. The iTunes store even let customers
      download high bit rate mp3 versions of the DRM-ed songs they had
      purchased. Shortly after that, DRM-ed music ceased being sold.

      I hope the same thing will occur in ebooks but I’m not holding my
      breath. For one thing, the biggest purveyor by far of ebooks is
      Amazon, and it’s only selling ebooks in the DRM-ed proprietary Kindle format.
      Making matters worse, Amazon doesn’t sell ebooks in the “industry
      standard” EPUB format (with or without Adobe DRM).

      Just wondering, how can something be called “industry standard”
      when its sales are a minority of the ebook market?

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