Book retailer WHSmith has announced it is migrating its entire ebook operation to Canadian-based Kobo.
In an email to customers, the high street and online retailer said while customers can continue to search and browse for eBooks at WHSmith.co.uk “when you have found an eBook you will click through to Kobo’s website to complete your purchase.”
Customers have been advised that existing accounts at WHSmith.co.uk will be closed on 28th December 2011.
To ensure continued access to purchased titles beyond this date customers are advised to download the ePub files to their computer.
As part of the tie-up with Kobo, WHSmiths will also sell the firm’s range of WiFi eReaders, including the new Kobo Touch at £109.99, the first WiFi touch screen eReader widely available in the UK.
The email to customers also states:
“In time and with your permission we will move your library of eBooks bought from WHSmith to Kobo. This will not impact the copies of eBooks you hold in your ADE or OMC accounts.
“Please be reassured that we will not share your personal details with Kobo to transfer these eBooks – we will provide Kobo with a list of the titles in your library associated with an anonymous Customer ID number, we will then email you a link to their site with that code so that you can start the transfer.
If you already have an account with Kobo then you will be able to add these eBooks to your Kobo library. We are working to move as many of your eBooks as possible to Kobo and will email you in the coming weeks with more details about this transfer.”
Although WHSmith launched an iPad app last year, it has been generally poorly reviewed by users who have reported a number of performance issues.
The tie-up cements Kobo’s position as the one of the top three ebook retailers in the UK alongside Amazon Kindle and Apple’s iBooks.
Kate Swann, CEO of WHSmith, said: “WHSmith is pleased to be working with Kobo to bring its world class eReaders and eBookstore to the UK and Irish markets. The partnership with Kobo further extends our presence in this developing market whilst complementing our physical books business”.