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Readers Report that eBooks, Credits Aren’t Transferring From Sony to Kobo

Sony sony kobo logoannounced 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.

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seveng April 1, 2014 um 10:11 am

It’s going to be a sad day when my PRS-950 finally keels over, I may cry more than the day I left a 500 in a seat pouch on a 737.

Common Sense April 1, 2014 um 12:31 pm

This is why I strip the DRM from all my ebooks and back them up. I don’t share them illegally, but I want to be sure that I can keep what I purchased, regardless of what happens to the vendor.

Knet April 29, 2014 um 8:47 pm

I do the same thing, for the same reason. I don’t like Kobo, after I have had too many customer service problems with them, so I purchase where I can, and save the files.

Doug April 1, 2014 um 4:39 pm

No email for me, yet.

I’m less concerned with my e-books than with my credits. I’m pretending in my little fantasy-land that the reason I haven’t gotten the email is because they want to get the credit transfer process working correctly first. So I’m not in a rush.

Marc April 2, 2014 um 2:03 pm

Hi Doug,
My name is Marc from Kobo Customer Care, we’d like to help.
Please click on the link below to contact us or cut and paste onto your browser.
Hope to hear from you

Alexander Inglis April 1, 2014 um 4:51 pm

I received multiple emails from Sony telling me the service was closing and that I should download all my books before March 20th at 6 pm. Then I got the one from Kobo around March 27 on how to initiate the transfer. Seven of nine books transferred over; two were not available.

I find it difficult to believe that any regular Sony customer didn’t hear about this in advance. I can certainly see how someone might miss the sole transfer email after closing but surely the account is tied to the Sony email address on file and can be sorted out.

This is a much better experience than the closure of Fictionwise. If the company I am doing business with closes, well, it closes. It’s up the consumer to be pro-active in these situations. Every customer throughout his/her tenure with Sony had the option to back up files by downloading them. Since Kobo and Sony devices systems use the same Adobe DRM, the books should play on a variety of devices and apps going forward.

Sanda April 1, 2014 um 7:33 pm

No email for me yet either!

Marc April 2, 2014 um 2:05 pm

Hi Sanda,
Marc from Kobo Customer Care here, we’d like to help.
Please click on the link below or cut and paste onto your browser
Click on the Sony button to get our phone number

Tyler April 2, 2014 um 10:50 am

My e-mail came late March, March 31st! But all eight of my Sony books transferred. I didn’t buy much from Sony even though I have several Sony ereaders. I do have a decent number of books on Kobo though.

Like COMMON SENSE, I backed up all my e books and had stripped the DRM from them. Including my Amazon books.

Sanda April 2, 2014 um 2:46 pm

Hi Tyler

How do I strip the DRM, what software do you recommend, I would very much like to back up my e books.

Thank You

Alan Birkby April 2, 2014 um 11:37 am

I have purchased almost 700 books from Sony and am still waiting on the email to transfer. This is April 2, not "late March" as promised. Am I just going to lose everything?

Marc April 2, 2014 um 2:07 pm

Hi Alan,
this is Marc from Kobo Customer Care, we’d like to help.
Please click on the link below or cut and paste onto your browser.
Click on the Sony button once you get there and you’ll see the number to contact us with.
hope to hear from you.

Penny April 3, 2014 um 2:20 am

I, too, had an existing account with Kobo before the Sony changeover. While my Sony library of books transferred, I can no longer download any of them or even my most recent purchase from Kobo on March 30-31. All of these books are Adobe DRM. I put in an inquiry to Kobo on the 31st and am still waiting on Customer Service to get back to me. Have tried putting in a second inquiry but their site keeps informing me the lines are too busy and no one available for chat.

While I have copies of my Sony books saved onto my hard drive as well as a memory card, I have no access to the newest purchase from Kobo. When I attempt to download the file it simply times out. I am not sure what to do now and although I was considering purchasing a new ereader from Kobo, am now thinking about switching to a B&N product.

LS April 11, 2014 um 10:41 pm

I just finished going through my 700+ Sony to Kobo merge book by book and found more problems.

1. Over 40 of the books they said didn’t transfer are available on the Kobo website. (which I mentioned before)

2. In 3 cases the wrong book transferred over to Kobo. They added a book of the same title to my Kobo account, but it was by the wrong author!

3. One book they said transferred over did not. The Kobo website keeps offering to sell it to me.

4. There were 5 books I purchased from Sony missing entirely from the transfer. They are not listed on the "did not transfer" or "transferred" list. Four of those books are available on Kobo, and should have transferred.

5. And finally, there are 3 transferred books the Kobo website says are in my library, but I just can’t find them there, even alphabetically.

I contacted Kobo help again, but still haven’t heard anything from them.

Janette April 18, 2014 um 12:22 am

I have not received my transfer link yet. I have contacted sony customer service twice via chat and once on the phone. Was promised once I would have the email in three days then the last time in 24 hours still nothing. Very frustrating. I don’t currently have a Kobo account I was waiting for the transfer link.

Celebrate the Day Against DRM, Redux – The Digital Reader May 6, 2014 um 1:56 pm

[…] At the same time, the rights of users are curtailed left and right. In the past year we have seen multiple examples of the perils of DRM, including the closure of Diesel eBooks and Sony ebook stores. (Even though Sony promised a smooth transition to Kobo, many readers still lost ebooks in the process.) […]

Amanda Cornish July 10, 2014 um 8:33 am

I am having real difficulty – so complex I cannot even explain it.
The effort is disproportionate.
I suspect that the final objective is to persuade all Sony reader owners to buy a Kobo reader.

Sunrise July 29, 2014 um 6:19 pm

I also suffered the experience of being transferred from Sony to Kobo.

Somehow when I transferred my account to Kobo, I lost half of my books in my Sony Reader. They are on the cloud in my new Kobo account but I cannot access my account wirelessly in my Wi-Fi Reader.

Kobo was insisting that I use the outdated Sony software to connect to my account but that is only compatible with Windows computers and I no longer use a Windows computer. I tried to install the awful software in an old computer and ran into technical and DRM issues – not exactly the wonderful experience that Sony promised!

Then I received a notice from Kobo announcing that Wi-Fi is now available but they never explained how and are not available. They are not answering emails at [email protected] and their complex web form is not working.

I don’t consider my issue resolved until I have direct Wi-Fi access to my Reader and all of my legally owned books are back in my Reader.

Kobo is a disaster and the worst customer and technical service that I ever experienced.

Me Me September 17, 2014 um 5:16 pm

Kobo customer is awful! Have bought books on 2 separate occasions and the books will not download to my Sony ereader. They send you on a wild goose chase in a vague attempt to resolve then tell you that as 30 days have passed you can only get store credit as oppossed to a full refund. Therefore, the steal your money and you have to pay again for the books elsewhere! Rip off merchants in my book. Furthermore none of the 20 or so books I purchased prior to the change over transferred, appalling, appalling, appalling! – steer clear of this company!

Celebrate the Day Against DRM, Redux | The Digital Reader June 19, 2017 um 2:51 pm

[…] At the same time, the rights of users are curtailed left and right. In the past year we have seen multiple examples of the perils of DRM, including the closure of Diesel eBooks and Sony ebook stores. (Even though Sony promised a smooth transition to Kobo, many readers still lost ebooks in the process.) […]

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