Lots of People Unhappy with Sony Sending Accounts to Kobo


Today Sony sent out another email about the Sony Reader ebook store closing tomorrow on March 20th. The email doesn’t contain any new information or give a specific date when the transition to Kobo will commence.

It just basically says to expect an email with a link to transfer your account over to Kobo in the next few days, which you can opt out of if you don’t want to go to Kobo. They are probably going to send the emails out over a few day’s time to avoid problems with everyone trying to transfer at once.

I decided to go to the Reader Store website one last time before it closes and ended up following a link over to the Sony blog with the official closure announcement. I noticed it had nearly 500 comments. So I scrolled down and started reading some of them to see what people thought about the Reader Store closing.

Many of the comments are questions that can be easily answered by reading Sony’s closure FAQ.

But I was surprised to read so many comments about how people dislike Kobo’s website compared to Sony’s (well, not that surprised considering my own problems with Kobo’s website). Many seem to argue that Sony’s website is easier to navigate, it has more features, and contains more helpful information about specific titles.

I thought I would find more comments with people complaining about Sony deciding to close their ebook store, but it seems there are more comments complaining about Sony choosing Kobo to send accounts to.

Here’s a few examples:

T Cromwell wrote:
I am extremely disappointed in to hear this news. I dislike the kobo site. It is much more difficult to navigate and browse than the Sony site. Even when my sony reader gave up the ghost and I started reading on my samsung tablet, I have continued to use the sony reader app and website.

Dawn wrote:
Does Sony have any idea how awful Kobo’s website compares to Sony’s? They don’t have nearly the classy look nor the information available that Sony does. I can find most everything I need right on the website without having to send Sony an email. This site makes it so easy to locate information & clear to read. Kobo has no author notification available nor do they have an FAQ. NO FAQ, impossible!!! I am VERY unhappy to lose Sony. I have been very happy doing business at Sony. Now we have to go to a second rate site.

Dianne wrote:
Not all Kobo books transfer to the reader. I purchased a book that’s an epub, but not an Adobe DRM. Now I’m out the money, and Kobo offers no help. I didn’t have this type of problem at the reader store. How are we supposed to know which Kobo books the ereader supports?

That last comment brings up a really good point. Kobo’s new website design no longer lists what format you are buying. Some Kobo ebooks are available in regular Adobe DRM ePub format, but not all. Others are only available in Kobo’s proprietary .kepub format, which isn’t compatible with Sony Readers. Does Kobo have a plan for that?

10 Responses to “Lots of People Unhappy with Sony Sending Accounts to Kobo”

  1. It’s a shame what things have come to. Not all that long ago, Sony had the best ereaders, and the best store. Now, the store is gone, and their ereader is plastic crap. I just don’t understand why they abandoned this market. If there was any company large enough to compete with B&N, Apple and Amazon it would have been Sony. Just sad for us as consumers as our choices diminish.

    • C. — all eReaders are made out of plastic now — the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Sony. So I guess according to you comment they are all plastic junk. 😉

      Note: Sony abandoned the U.S. market because it wasn’t profitable for them, especially competing against Amazon. They do fairly well in Europe and make good products. I still have my PRS-T1 and love it. One can only hope they will return to the U.S. one day.

  2. I don’t think that there’s a sufficient number of ways which e-book stores selling Adobe DRM protected ePub books can differentiate themselves from other stores. There never seemed to be any kind of competition on price. I predict that it will all probably eventually boil down to the three that you listed, B&N, Apple and Amazon. Maybe a few odd publisher storefronts will persist, like Baen books. I think that this is the third eBook store closure that I’ve gone through, with eReader.com and Fictionwise biting the dust first (assimilated by B&N).

    eReader.com was my first source of eBooks, read on my old Palm organizer starting 15-17 years ago. If there were earlier eBook stores I never heard of them.

  3. Kobo does offers option to download adobe drm epub for their kobo files. Log in to your kobo account at their website and the option is there.
    Hope this helps someone.

    • That will work about 90% of the time, but not all are available in Adobe ePub format. Some are only available in Kobo’s format. One trick that people use is to first choose to get a preview of the book; then they can see if it has an ePub option from the Kobo library or not.

    • Like Dianne I also purchased a book not available for download. Kobo support pointed out that each page displays which devices can read their books. This is ridiculous because the page clearly indicated that the book could be read on ereaders and nothing indicated that it was restricted to Koko devices.

      After a few emails, my account was credited and support suggested that I preview the books via the library to confirm if it is available for non-Kobo devices.

      I queried whether this would be an on-going issue after Sony’s customers are assimilated, but received no reply.

  4. Can Calibre be used to convert .kepub ebooks to .epub?

    • Yeah I’m sure it’s possible, though I haven’t tried. Probably have to use the script to de-DRM the .kepub file first before importing.

  5. Maybe they will update Sony’s devices to the Kobo software. That would solve most of the problem (except the PDF viewer. The Sony PDF option is way better).

    • Nah. The stylus input and software wouldn’t translate to Kobo’s os, among other things. They are just going to swap out the store, which means Sony users are going to have a lot less sorting options and other useful information that they are used to :).