Sainsbury’s Shuts Down Its eBookstore, Hands Customers to Kobo

Sainsbury's Shuts Down Its eBookstore, Hands Customers to Kobo eBookstore Kobo Remember back in March when B&N got out of the UK ebook market and surprised us all by handing its customers to Sainsbury's rather than Kobo?

It turns out that B&N could have saved everyone the aggravation, because Sainsbury's just got out of ebooks and handed its customers to Kobo.

Kobo posted the news on their blog:

Rakuten Kobo, a global digital reading company created by booklovers for booklovers, is working with Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand (part of Sainsbury’s, one of the UK’s leading food and non-food retailers), to offer Sainsbury’s customers the opportunity to transfer their eBook libraries to Kobo’s eReading service as Sainsbury’s exits the digital entertainment business.

Both companies will ensure Sainsbury’s customers have a seamless transfer of the current digital libraries of books they’ve purchased, and will have the ability to continue buying eBooks from the millions of titles available on Kobo.com.

That's a pity, but not entirely unexpected.

It's not just that Kobo arranged similar deals with Tesco and Sony, but also that Sainsbury's has only a negligible share of the UK ebook market.

There was a time when we thought Sainsbury's might be a contender in the UK ebook market, but that was several years ago. the retailer first got into ebooks when it bought a controlling interest in the Anobii ebook community in 2012. That effort was rebranded as "eBooks by Sainsbury's" in 2013, but in spite of several sales promotions in 2013 and 2014 its market share never amounted to much.

Amazon dominates the UK ebook market to an even greater degree than they do in the US. This is why everyone except for Kobo, Apple, and Google got out of the market.

So yes, today's news was entirely expected.

image by Peter Glyn

 

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

7 Comments

  1. Irish Imbas20 September, 2016

    Sony, Flipkart, Tesco, Sainsburys.
    Poor old Kobo. Their key function seems, increasingly, to pick up the scraps from failed ebookstore ventures. One wonders if/when B+N’s Nook will approach them.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder20 September, 2016

      I wrote that post already, and if it’s still unpublished come 1 April I plan to use it as a joke.

      Reply
    2. Chris Meadows21 September, 2016

      I don’t know as I’d say “poor” Kobo. After all, they seem to have figured out how to stay in business whereas nearly every other would-be competitor to Amazon has either flamed out or fizzled, and the biggest one that’s left doesn’t seem long for this world. They’ve made a business model out of coming along and cleaning up the leftovers when that happens.

      I’d be more inclined to say they’re pretty clever insofar as that goes.

      Reply
    3. Ian27 October, 2016

      B&N’s Nook doesn’t exist – it’s Sainsbury’s Nook now… Well, it was. It just became Kobo’s Nook

      Reply
      1. Nate Hoffelder27 October, 2016

        I don’t know that you can call it Kobo’s Nook – not unless Kobo adds some type of integration.

        Reply
  2. […] Just that. When Barnes and Noble offloaded their UK ebooks section, they chose to hand it to Sainsbury’s instead of to Kobo. Sainsbury’s, it seems, have decided they don’t really want the gig after all, and have pa… […]

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  3. […] the introduction, I mention that Sainsburys in the UK has shut down their ebook business and handed their customers to Kobo (which is what Nook should have done in the first […]

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