Sony announced in February that they were shutting down the NA branch of the Sony Reader Store and transferring their customers to Kobo, but that process really only started about a week ago - and it's not going very well.
Numerous former Sony customers are reporting that store credits and some ebooks did not make it from one retailer to the other, while some are reporting an even more worrisome tale. What's worse, several readers have shown up in the comment section of this blog with reports that they still have not received an email with instructions on how to transfer their account.
Many of those who have gotten the invite email report that most but not all of their ebooks have transferred:
- I checked my gmail account this morning at about 3 AM and there were my instructions. When I finished the click trail, 31 out of 37 books transferred to Kobo.
- 38 of my 41 books transferred. 3 didn’t. 2 of those that didn’t transfer automatically are available for purchase at Kobo.
- I finally got my transfer email. 621 out of 729 books transferred over in a matter of minutes. The list of ones that didn’t make it looked suspiciously large though, so I took a closer look. Over 40 of the books that didn’t transfer are available on Kobo.
- 92 out of 110 transferred successfully. It claimed the others didn’t transfer because they are not in the Kobo store.
On a related note, Kobo has also confirmed that not all of the existing store credits have transferred; they are working on fixing this issue.
Readers are getting mixed reports for why certain titles didn't transfer even though Kobo sold the titles in question, with Kobo CS telling some that the titles would be added to their account manually while others have been told that it simply wasn't possible for the ebooks to be added manually:
I just had a long talk with Kobo’s help desk. I was told that they CAN NOT add these two books to my Kobo account manually. When I told them that others (such as yourself) have reported that books are being added to their accounts manually, the customer service agent went off-line to talk to a supervisor, and then stated once again that if the automatic transfer failed to transfer some books, then the missing books CAN NOT be added manually to the Kobo account.
Furthermore, the service agent stated that they (Kobo) have a list of books; titles and authors; that they have determined are not eligible to transfer from Sony to Kobo, and that my two books are on this ineligible list. (Note: I made up the name ‘ineligible list’ Kobo’s service agent didn’t call it this.)
That last bit about a list of titles which Sony and Kobo have refused to transfer is new to me; Kobo has not shared that list publicly nor even mentioned it on their website. What they do say is:
Most of the Reader Store catalogue is available in the Kobo Store, so there are very few eBooks that won’t transfer to your Kobo library.
That is by no means the same thing. I have queried Kobo for an explanation, and I will report back with their response.
In spite of the bumps in the road, anyone whose books have transferred is in a much better position than some former Sony customers. Several people have left comments as recently as last night with reports that they not received an email notifying them of the option to transfer their account to Kobo.
Given that Kobo explicitly states that emails were sent out in late March, anyone who has not gotten an email should probably start panicking. I would suggest that you contact Kobo and ask them about it.
While the deadline for the transfer is still a couple months away, there is a concern that anyone who didn't get an email from Kobo in late March might also miss later warning emails about the deadline. This is a matter which should not be left to the last minute.
Over the next couple months Sony and Kobo will be sending out other emails with new details, including news about firmware updates. The Sony Reader will be getting a couple firmware updates in April and May which will tie the device in with Kobo's bookstore. The update is only going to be released for the T1, T2, and T3, but not any of Sony's earlier models.
With the exception of the PRS-9xx models, Sony's earlier models lacked wireless connectivity and thus will not be affected by the transfer. Kobo ebooks can be loaded on to those older models by transferring the ebooks over USB, just like with any other Epub ebook.