WASHINGTON - Sony announced Thursday it was closing its ebook store for North America, and giving its customer list to rival Kobo.
The Japanese company, which earlier unveiled a major reorganization, said it will close its Reader Store in the US 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 eReading company, Kobo - an admired ebook seller with a passionate reading community," a blog post at the Sony Reader website said.
Sony said customers and their current ebook libraries "will transfer 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."
Canadian-based Kobo, founded in 2009, sells ebooks and reading devices and says it "offers one of the world's largest ebookstores with nearly four million titles across 68 languages," according to its website.
The news came as Sony announced in Japan it was cutting 5,000 jobs and exiting the PC market in the face of a billion-dollar annual loss.
Sony has pinpointed digital imaging, video games and mobile as the units which it hopes will lead a turnaround in its core electronics business.
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