Top online retailer Rakuten presented an e-reader device that will cost $100 and will provide users with access to 2.4 million titles starting July 19, in a move meant to tap Japan’s promising digital book market.
The launch comes after Rakuten’s acquisition of Canadian e-reader company Kobo. The digital books can be downloaded from an online store to the Kobo device or to other smartphones or tablets.
“I want to start the reading revolution in Japan and in the world with Kobo,” said Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten’s chief executive. “Kobo is a global device, a global platform, which allows anyone in the world to enjoy a variety of content.”
Kobo has online downloading platforms in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Australia and New Zealand.
Only 30,000 titles on the new Japanese platform will be in Japanese, but the number may grow to 1.5 million in a few years, according to Rakuten.
U.S.-based rival Amazon is expected to soon launch its Kindle e-reader on the Japanese market.