ePublishing has been slow to get off the ground in Japan. Sure, magazines and manga are readily available on smart phones and other devices, but there’s been a lot of reluctance on the part of publishers, printers, and distributors alike to really move the decidedly 20th century Japanese book market into the 21st century.
Fears of lost profits and lost jobs are mostly to blame. And seeing the collapse of the physical bookstore market in the USA probably has not done much to inspire confidence either…
Now, AFP is reporting that Amazon will soon be entering the ebook business in Japan and is already in negotiations with major publishers to begin selling content by the end of the year. Release timing and pricing seem to be the major factors on the table.
Asahi.com is reporting that publisher PHP Institute will be among the first publishers to sign a contract with Amazon, with over 1000 books, how-to guides, and other titles soon to be offered from the mid-sized company.
In addition to supporting downloadable content for personal computers and smart phones, Amazon is also considering launching a Kindle e-book reader for Japanese consumers (ebook readers have yet to take off in Japan either).
It’s not clear exactly what effect a move to ebooks would have on manga publishing (obviously, our favorite sector of the Japanese publishing industry) but given the news about Kindle Format 8, the results could be pretty spectacular. So here's to the future with fingers crossed!