Sony Reader e-book bits being put out to pasture, with Kobo's help

Sony Reader
Closing the book on Reader

Sony's PC business isn't the only thing the Japanese consumer electronics giant is signing off on of this week: The keys to the company's e-reader service are soon being over to onetime rival Kobo.

Sony announced today that its US and Canadian e-reader business will soon be handed off to Kobo as the Japanese company winds down operations on its own Reader service.

Beginning in late March, customers will have their existing Sony Reader libraries migrated to Kobo, whose Android app will now come pre-loaded on Sony Xperia smartphones and tablets.

Kobo currently serves 18 million readers with e-books, magazines, newspapers, graphic novels and kiddie fare from more than 1.3 million authors.

Turning a page

Sony Reader never managed to gain much traction in the e-book market against the likes of Amazon Kindle, so the decision to close up shop isn't much of a surprise, and existing customers will likely be well-served by Kobo's catalog of more than four million titles.

"Kobo is the ideal solution for our customers and will deliver a robust and comprehensive user experience," said Ken Orii, Sony's Vice President of Digital Reading Business Division. "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."

Once the transition is complete, Sony Reader customers will have full access to existing libraries in the Kobo app, which is also available on other platforms including Apple's iOS App Store.

Reader Store customers will receive an email with full details on the Kobo migration process, and Sony says that any purchases made from its own service between now and then will also come along for the ride.