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Posts tagged Rakuten

Digital Publishing in 2013 — Meet the New Seven Sisters
January 2, 2013 | 12:56 pm

  By David Wogahn There seemed to be a sigh of relief the last few months of 2012 as the trade publishing establishment trumpeted the slowing growth of e-book sales. It may indeed be slowing, but the pain of adjusting to new economies of scale, changing consumer habits, technology adoption and lack of business model options are even bigger threats to the independence of large traditional publishers. The digital revolution has had an undeniable impact on how businesses operate. Costly technology and complex analog media production (music, publishing, film) are no longer the purview of large organizations. With lower technology costs and easy...

Rakuten insists hidden reviews were of premature version of Kobo Touch service
July 27, 2012 | 11:41 pm

On The Digital Reader, Nate Hoffelder discusses Rakuten’s response to those who noticed it has chosen to hide all consumer reviews of its Kobo Touch e-reader from Japan. Rakuten claims that a version of its site and service leaked before the actual launch date, so the reviews were of a product that was not actually meant to be reviewed yet. However, Hoffelder points out that this doesn’t explain all the problems brought up in the poor reviews, such as Rakuten launching with less than 2/3 of the Japanese-language titles it promised to have available, or overall poor customer service...

Rakuten removes all Japanese customer reviews of Kobo Touch from its website
July 26, 2012 | 8:10 pm

Over at The Digital Reader, Nate Hoffelder has coverage of the Kobo Touch’s launch in Japan, which seems to have turned into something of a debacle. Bad reviews of the device were posted so prevalently to Rakuten’s website that it finally removed all reviews, both good and bad, from its site. Customers reported problems with buggy desktop software, lack of availability of Japanese titles, and unresponsive touchscreens. Nate writes: Folks, they took the reviews down from the website so new customers wouldn’t be warned about the many problems. I want you to look past the...

A war against Amazon in Japan
July 12, 2012 | 10:16 am

From an article by Robin Birtle in Publishing Perspectives: TOKYO: The keynote panel discussion at Tokyo’s E-Book Expo, as part of the Tokyo Book Fair last week, wasn’t expected to get the pulses racing despite the presence of Mikitani-san, whose company Rakuten has acquired Kobo, and Noma-san, the leader of the giant publisher Kodansha. We feared that the dot-com arriviste and the bastion of traditional Japanese publishing would do little more than exchange platitudes. Such an exchange would signal that the publishing establishment had pigeon holed Kobo alongside the much reviled Amazon and that the prospect for the whole industry getting out its...

Here’s the official Kobo announcement about their entry into the Japanese market
July 2, 2012 | 2:40 pm

Screen Shot 2012 07 02 at 2 38 21 PM From the press release: Kobo Inc., a global leader in eReading, today announced that it will launch its full eReading service in Japan on July 19. The company’s award-winning Kobo Touch™ eReader will be offered to Japanese consumers for ¥7,980 including tax (or $100 USD). Starting today July 2, the Kobo Touch eReader is now available for pre-order through Kobo’s parent company and the world’s third-largest e-commerce company, Rakuten. On July 19, Kobo will launch with a fully localized Japanese experience at http://kobo.rakuten.co.jp, with local currency, and popular Japanese content and authors. Since its inception in December 2009, Kobo has experienced explosive growth...

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 Amazon.com 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%...

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 Buy.com), 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...