Ebooks on the move as Kobo takes over customers after Sony quits ebook business

Ebook pioneer Sony has quit the e-reader business in North America and is handing over all its customers to Kobo.

The move means the loss of an outlet, albeit a relatively small one, for self-published authors when Sony shuts its Reader Store in the US and Canada on March 20.

The firm’s ebook customers will get a link to transfer their libraries to Kobo and any existing Reader Store credits will be transferred to Kobo if the transfer is completed by May 31.

Customers will be able to use their Sony Reader to read ebooks from Kobo.

The Kobo app will be pre-installed on Sony tablets and smartphones in the future.

Self-published authors who have books on Sony’s Reader Store platform will find their book listings at Sony will disappear around March 20. If your books are already listed on Kobo, then obviously you should have no problem.

Leading distributor Smashwords, which is a Kobo partner, says Sony book files will not transfer from Sony’s servers to Kobo’s servers.  Kobo will use the ISBNs (unique digital identifiers) of the Smashwords/Sony books to map the customer’s purchase to the same book at Kobo.

If Smashwords books have been bought by Sony customers and those books are not currently distributed and on sale at Kobo, then those books will not transfer.

Smashwords says authors can mitigate this customer inconvenience by ensuring all their Smashwords Premium Catalog books are opted into Kobo.  Since Smashwords distributes to Kobo under a separate agreement, the book product listings at Sony will not transfer to Kobo. Smashwords says less than 2% of its authors’ monthly sales come from Sony.