Amazon.com, the world’s leading online retailer, plans to make its e-book distribution service and Kindle reading device available for Japanese readers in late August or September.
Sources said the U.S.-based firm has already reached a basic agreement with the Kadokawa Group that it will receive content from Kadokawa’s publishers for the service. Shinchosha Publishing Co. also plans to offer its content, they said.
The move by Amazon is expected to break open the e-book market in Japan. Earlier this month, Internet auction site operator Rakuten Inc. put its own e-reader on sale in Japan.
With the e-book market poised to heat up in Japan, Google Inc. and Apple Inc., both based in United States, are expected to open e-bookstores for Japanese readers on the Internet on a full-fledged basis.
In the world of e-books, EPUB is the global standard format. EPUB can display the Japanese language both horizontally and vertically.
Recently, Amazon released a program that converts files, which were created in EPUB format, to those that can be read on the Japanese version of Kindle. It also provided guidelines on the use of the program to publishers.
In negotiations for contracts to offer contents to Amazon, publishers initially expressed opposition to some stipulations, including those concerning the right to decide retail prices. However, a major publisher said, “Amazon has made big concessions since then.”
Earlier this year, Amazon reached agreements with major publisher Gakken Holdings Co. and some midsized publishers to distribute their books via Kindle.
Since then, it has held negotiations with other major publishers that have published books in a variety of fields.
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