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Posts tagged Japan

Rakuten (Kobo) to sell ereader in Japan; beats Amazon
June 27, 2012 | 8:46 am

Images From The Asahi Shimbun: Rakuten Inc., Japan's top online retailer, will release its own e-book reader in late July, marking its full-fledged entry into the e-book market. Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten chairman and CEO, said the company plans to price the Kobo Touch reader at around 10,000 yen ($126), considerably lower than that for existing similar devices. ... U.S. online retailer Inc. is expected to announce later this year when it will begin offering a Japanese version of its Kindle e-reader. Rakuten hopes to seize the upper hand in the e-book business by marketing its e-reader earlier than its U.S. rival. "As a Japanese company, we...

Kobo seeks to beat Amazon to Japanese marketplace with Kobo Touch
June 23, 2012 | 2:15 pm

The Japanese paper Asahi Shimbun reports that Rakuten, the Japanese company that bought Canadian outfit Kobo, is going to try to beat Amazon to market in Japan by introducing the Kobo Touch there in July before Amazon is able to bring out its Kindle Touch there later this year. "As a Japanese company, we cannot lose (to overseas rivals)," [Rakuten chairman and CEO Hiroshi] Mikitani told The Asahi Shimbun. "With Kobo devices, we will be able to export Japanese content. The Japanese publishing industry will become a huge content industry." There may be...

Kobo-owner Rakuten to sell Japanese e-books to Japanese consumers from Toronto
June 11, 2012 | 10:30 pm

Remember the stories about how Amazon bases its European e-book operations in Luxembourg to avoid having to pay the huge VAT (Value-Added Tax) surcharges that would come from selling e-books out of England? The Bookseller reports this strategy might also make it “big in Japan”. Or, rather, big outside of Japan. Japanese company Rakuten, who recently bought Kobo, will be selling Japanese e-books to Japanese customers from Kobo’s servers in Toronto. Because the sales will be considered “exports” to Japan, they will not be charged Japanese consumption taxes (currently set at 5% but planned to rise to 10%...

Amazon inches closer to releasing Kindle in Japan
April 19, 2012 | 3:19 am

Tech In Asia reports that, after months of delays, Japanese news sources have reported Amazon is soon to release the Kindle in Japan. This marks the fourth time such reports have surfaced in the last few months. This time, the anticipated date is by the end of the year. A previous prediction had set the device’s debut right about now. It seems that negotiations with Japanese publishers have been going slowly, though several major and about 40 minor Japanese publishers are reported to have signed on so far. Perhaps they’ve learned from watching Amazon’s history with publishers in the...

Manga scanlations hold up digital manga licensing
March 30, 2012 | 3:56 am

Publishing Trends has an interesting article looking at the problem of manga scanlation, which a number of manga publishers feel is retarding the potential international market for their product. Scanlation, the manga equivalent of fansubbing, has been around for a while, but really kicked into gear around 2007. (I covered this in detail a couple of years ago.) [Kurt Hassler, Publishing Director at Yen Press (Hachette’s manga imprint)] argues that rather than “pushing” manga publishing into the digital age, the genre’s robust digital piracy-base has retarded its progress. As if the challenges of image-rich content weren’t...

E-book initiative in Japan promises ‘1 million e-books’
March 1, 2012 | 1:26 pm

In an article that showed up complete in my RSS reader but turned out to be behind a paywall when I tried to click through, The Bookseller reports that a group of 180 Japanese publishers are joining forces under an initiative with a goal of creating 1 million e-books. This may be just a bit optimistic, given how slow the Japanese market has been to develop so far: “Digitising one million books would revolutionise the market here but it is difficult to take that number seriously given that it has taken the Japanese publishers nine years...

Trading in paper books for e-books: Is it possible?
February 5, 2012 | 2:37 pm

In my email this morning, I received a notice from Quora that I had been invited to submit an answer for the following question: Are there any services or business models in which one can trade paperback or hardcover books for digital books, without having to pay full price again? After typing my answer, I thought it was interesting enough to repost here: Not that I've ever heard of—or no model that is legitimate under copyright law, anyway. The idea has been suggested by a number of people as something that publishers should...

Kobo could be Amazon’s only major international competitor
January 25, 2012 | 1:17 am

On Wired’s Epicenter blog, Tim Carmody writes about why he thinks that the main global e-book competitor Amazon has to worry about is Kobo. He points out that while Amazon and Apple have been making highly visible splashes with their new hardware or e-publishing initiatives, Kobo has quietly been building support from a multinational network of bookseller partners, including major booksellers in England, Hong Kong, and France. And now its acquisition by Rakuten adds all of Rakuten’s previously-existing worldwide digital book and media operations to the Kobo brand. “An e-book reader will ultimately not be only...

Rakuten completes purchase of Kobo
January 11, 2012 | 11:49 pm

Engadget has the press release from Kobo on the completion of its purchase by e-commerce company Rakuten. Kobo’s HQ will remain in Toronto, though Rakuten is based in Japan. Given that Rakuten owns a lot of popular e-commerce and other industry sites already (including e-tailer, it has the potential to give Kobo a lot more expansion and marketing opportunities than its erstwhile partner, the late Borders. Will that be enough to let Kobo catch up with Amazon, or even maintain its lead in international areas Amazon doesn’t service yet? That remains to be seen. But if there...

Kizuna: Fiction for Japan – help Japanese orphans
January 11, 2012 | 12:05 am

Kizunabanner2 Found this on the Moorcock website.  Dated August 11, 2011, but the links still work and the cause is still important. {Blockquotes omitted.} Edited by Brent MillisKindle ebook: $9.99Print version: TBAThe earth shook. The waters rose. Japan cried out...And we listened. After the devastating earthquake, people from all over the world have found ways to help, and Kizuna: Fiction For Japan is one that is new and unique.Kizuna: Fiction for Japan is a mixed-genre anthology of short fiction, most of it 1000 words or under. It boasts internationally-known authors like Michael Moorcock, Ken Asamatsu, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, John Shirley, Shinya Gaku,...

Ereader lets you physically turn the page
January 9, 2012 | 9:42 am

From Discovery News: “E-books have grown in popularity, but we think they lost the physical features that real books have,” said Yuichi Itoh, an associate professor at Osaka University and project manager for the new device, called “Paranga.” Itoh worked with Osaka University students as well as Worcester Polytechnic Institute alumni to develop the hardware and software for the reader. The device is a mixture of high and low technology. Inspired by flipbooks, the prototype has two facing parts resembling an open-faced book. Page turning is controlled on the right-hand side, which is made from a flexible rubber sheet covered in spongy cloth....

Hokusai Manga compiles works of Katsushika Hokusai
December 2, 2011 | 9:23 am

51fI1Qy1VXL SL500 AA300 This isn't an ebook, but I'm a lover of Japanese art and I just found out about the publication of this book.  It's an important resource to all us Japanophiles. From the Amazon description: The legendary masterpieces of Hokusai-fifteen volumes in a single chunky book. Hokusai Manga is one of the masterpieces by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), a master of Ukiyo-e art, depicting ordinary people’s lives, animals, plants, landscapes and human figures, historical and supernatural, even demons and monsters, as if it were a visual encyclopedia, amounting to fifteen volumes. Hokusai Manga turned out to be very popular among every class of people,...