Japan online retailer Rakuten to launch e-reader

Jul 02, 2012
President of Japan's top online retailer Rakuten, Hiroshi Mikitani (R), introduces the company's electronic book player "Kobo Touch" with a six-inch e-ink display in Tokyo. Rakuten will launch an ebook service in the nation's largely untapped market on July 19, releasing the Kobo Touch reading device exactly at 100 USD.

Online retailer Rakuten said Monday it would launch a $100 e-reader into Japan's largely untapped digital book market, as rivals including US online giant Amazon eye the reading-mad nation.

The Japanese , following its acquisition of Canadian e-reader firm Kobo, said the gadget would sell for 7,980 yen ($100), with about 2.4 million titles initially available in several languages from July 19.

Users can buy from an online store and download them to the Kobo device or other platforms including and smartphones.

The move comes as Amazon.com is expected to launch its Kindle e-reader in Japan, a potentially lucrative market where reading remains hugely popular.

In addition to the new Japan service, Kobo has online bookstores in Canada, the United States, Britain, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand and France.

However, digital books in Japan have so far failed to match their success in some other nations, despite a publishing industry worth an estimated $23.5 billion.

"I want to start the reading revolution in Japan and in the world with Kobo," Rakuten chief executive Hiroshi Mikitani said Monday.

"Kobo is a global device, a global platform, which allows anyone in the world to enjoy a variety of content."

Material in Japanese will be limited to about 30,000 titles but Rakuten said it was aiming to grow that figure to about 1.5 million in several years.

Explore further: New iPad cellular models have Apple SIM flexibility

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan's Rakuten to buy Canada's Kobo e-reader firm

Nov 09, 2011

Japan's top online retailer Rakuten on Wednesday said it had agreed to pay $315 million in cash for Kobo Inc., the maker of a popular e-reader in Canada whose majority shareholder is book retailer Indigo.

Japan's Rakuten to shut China online shopping mall

Apr 20, 2012

Japan's top online retailer Rakuten said Friday that it was ending a shopping venture with Chinese Internet giant Baidu, blaming "intensified competition" in the growing e-commerce sector.

New Kindle Touch is an impressive e-reader

Feb 09, 2012

When it comes to reading digital books, tablets are all the rage. But there's a lot to like about simple e-readers, which over the past year have become both a lot cheaper and a lot less clunky.

Borders Group Inc. launches electronic book store

Jul 07, 2010

(AP) -- Borders Group Inc. has launched its e-bookstore as it tries to catch up to competitors who have a head-start in a small but growing market that's seen as the future of the book industry.

Recommended for you

New iPad cellular models have Apple SIM flexibility

22 hours ago

Cellular-enabled iPad models are under a new paradigm, said AppleInsider, regarding the Apple SIM. Apple's newest iPad models with cellular connectivity use a SIM card which tech sites said could eventually ...

Thinner iPads, sharper iMacs in Apple's lineup (Update)

Oct 16, 2014

(AP)—Apple unveiled a thinner iPad Thursday with a faster processor and a better camera as it tries to drive excitement for tablets amid slowing demand. The company also released an update to its Mac operating ...

User comments : 0