Sony closes the book on its e-reader business

6 Aug 2014

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Sony's PRS-T2 Reader

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Japanese electronics giant Sony continues to streamline its business with the end of its e-readers on the horizon.

First reported by German blog Lesen.net, Sony’s PRS-T3 e-reader will in fact be its last and, once its supplies have all been snapped up in Europe, there will be no more.

A spokesperson from the company told the BBC, “We do not have plans to develop a successor Reader model at this time.”

This last batch of Sony e-readers was manufactured in May and coincides with Sony’s decision to stop selling e-books in Europe, North America and Australia this year, with users in these markets directed to use Kobo’s services instead. Users in Japan will still be able to access the brand’s Reader Store, however.

According to Gartner, the global e-reader market peaked in 2011 with 23m devices sold worldwide, but this is forecast to drop to 10m by 2017. The biggest player in the game, Amazon, dominates a large portion of the dedicated e-reader market with its Kindle range, while the growing use of smartphones, tablets and phablets have made these devices largely unnecessary for a vast swathe of users.

Sony’s losses tripled to US$1.26bn earlier in 2014, and the firm is quickly shedding products and services that are no longer profitable, including its Vaio PC business, which private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners bought for up to US$489m. The first Sony-independent laptops were also released this summer.

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com