Sony is calling it quits in the e-book platform market, the company announced today (via Engadget). The move isn’t entirely unexpected: Sony has always occupied a relatively small portion of the market compared to the big kid on the block Amazon. And in light of recent revenue figures, and the decision to cut the much more recognizable VAIO brand, absolutely no one should be shocked by this decision.
The Reader digital storefront for purchasing e-book titles will be shut down as of next month in the U.S. and Canada. Owners of Sony Readers (I’m looking at you, dad) in those countries shouldn’t be worried about what happens to all their purchases, since Sony is generously migrating accounts and existing libraries intact to Kobo, which works on iOS and Android devices as well as Android hardware. The Kobo Android now will also ship pre-installed on Xperia devices as part of the arrangement.
Sony has yet to reveal exactly how users can switch their content over, but they’ll be sending an email to Reader account holders to detail the process ahead of the projected end of March dead date for the Reader store.
As for Reader hardware, it appears to have been doomed as far back as October last year, at least for the U.S. market, when the company removed the Reader section from its website entirely and listed existing models as discontinued. Moving e-book sales to a partner is probably a smart move, given its existing decision to pull away from that category of devices.