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Sony closing North American e-book store, transferring customers to Kobo

AFP-JIJI

Sony announced Thursday it will close its e-book store for North America and give its customer list to rival Kobo.

Sony, which earlier unveiled a major reorganization, said it will close its Reader Store in the U.S. and Canada on March 20.

“Although we’re sorry to say goodbye to the Reader Store, we’re also glad to share the new and exciting future for our readers: Reader Store will transfer customers to Toronto-based e-reading company Kobo — an admired e-book seller with a passionate reading community,” a blog post at the Sony Reader website said.

Sony said customers and their current e-book libraries “will be transferred to the Kobo ecosystem” under the change.

“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, Sony vice president for digital reading.

“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,” he said.

Kobo, founded in 2009, sells e-books and reading devices. The Canadian firm’s website says it “offers one of the world’s largest e-bookstores with nearly 4 million titles across 68 languages.”

The news came as Sony announced in Japan it was cutting 5,000 jobs and exiting the PC market in the face of a $1 billion annual loss.

Sony has pinpointed digital imaging, video games and mobile devices as the units which it hopes will lead a turnaround in its core electronics business.