Today I got online after being off for two days and as I was checking headlines at NPR I saw Book News: It’s The End Of The Story For Sony’s E-Bookstore. That got my attention since my ebooks are available in Sony’s Reader Store thanks to their distribution deal with Smashwords, the company that distributes my ebooks. I went to Smashwords’ Site Updates page and saw the news there, along with a post on their blog that details that NPR didn’t provide.
Sony will continue to sell ebooks until 20 March as they move their United States and Canada customers to Kobo, another company that Smashwords distributes to. Unfortunately Sony will not get any new content from Smashwords, so if you use the Sony Reader you’ll need to get ready to be moved to Kobo. The has some great information for Sony customers.
Sony was one of the very first two publishers to work with Smashwords when my distributor was formed back in 2009. Sony accounts for less than 2% of sales for Smashwords authors but I’m a little disappointed by the move. As an independent author whose best “seller” is a free ebook Sony has always been the quickest to report how many times He’s With the Band has been downloaded while I’m still waiting for a report from Kobo that shows the download I know happened back in November. It may not seem like a big deal since I get great numbers from stores like Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble but every bit of information on how readers are finding my ebooks can be important as I try to see what I can do to get my writing before more readers’ eyes.
I’m sorry to see Sony leave the ebook market but I understand that even a major company like them needs to look at how their efforts are best being used and it looks like the ebook market wasn’t as good a fit as they’d hope it would be. At least they’re not simply shutting down the division and leaving authors and readers on their own and I think Sony deserves a lot of credit for making sure both authors and readers aren’t left in the lurch by their departure of the ebook business.