Amazon Winning Ebook Battle in Japan

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Just three months after launching its ebook business in the country, Amazon is reportedly winning the war for ebook market-share in Japan, even besting Sony and Rakuten (Kobo), which are both based in Japan yet operate internationally.

According to research firm Impress R&D, 40% of Japanese ebook readers are buying from the Kindle store. The most popular competitor is BookWeb, an online bookstore run by domestic bricks-and-mortar bookstore chain Kinokuniya, which has about 13% of the market. Sony’s Reader Store is third with 10%, followed by Rakuten (Kobo), which has 7.4%.

The race for ebook market-share in Japan by international players got started in earnest this summer when Kobo made an early push to sell 100,000 of its devices in the country before rival Amazon even launched. There were reportedly problems with Kobo’s technology, however.

In Oct., Amazon launched in the country with its bookstore and the well-reviewed Kindle Paperwhite. Japan is thought to be resistant to ebook adoption despite the large size of its publishing industry, large reading population and its mature culture of using consumer electronics.

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