Apple’s iBookstore Headed to Japan This Year
Apple is preparing to take a serious run at the Japanese e-book market. The company is negotiating deals with a handful of Japanese publishers to supply a local version of its iBookstore with their e-book catalogs.
Sources with knowledge of the situation tell AllThingsD that Kodansha, Shogakukan and Kadokawa are among the publishing houses to whom Apple is talking. Conversations are said to be going well, and the company expects to have agreements hammered out soon — though not as soon as the Nikkei, which first reported news of the talks, claims.
“Later this month,” we’re told, is far too optimistic a date for launch. Remember, the Japanese e-book market is a notoriously difficult one to break into, and this is essentially Apple’s second attempt at it. When the company first brought iBooks to Japan, back in 2010, it failed to negotiate the necessary deals with Japanese publishers. So its virtual shelves ended up being filled entirely with public domain content, and have remained that way ever since.
That’s going to change this year, but probably not in January. And when it does, it will be good for Apple, and for Japan’s burgeoning e-book market, as well. The iPad is enormously popular in Japan, so it’s conceivable that the device could give the e-book market a nice boost, particularly after an October 2012 update to the iBooks application that supports Japanese-language e-books.
Apple declined comment on its plans for the Japanese e-book market.