Amazon.com, the largest internet retailer, plans to launch its electronic book services in the Japanese market before the year ends.
News reports said the US online retailer company is at the end stretch of negotiating with large Japanese publishers such as Shogakukan Inc. and Shinchosha Publishing Co. Already, a medium-sized publisher PHP Inc. was reported to sign a deal with Amazon within the month offering about 1,000 e-book titles for distribution to Kindle e-reader. These books will be comprised of literary and non-fiction works.
Large Japanese publishers remain hesitant to provide Amazon their book contents given the apprehension that the online retailer would put the books on sale for up to 90% discount similar to what is being implemented in the US. Talks with major publishers have not been easy given some concerns on prices and other issues.
Amazon has a strong following in Japan and its breaking through in the Japanese market is anticipated to tighten the competition in e-book services even further.
The entry of the US online retailer in Japan would mean consumers can access the Amazon.com e-book store and download e-books to their smartphones and tablet computers.
The e-book market in Japan reached about $847 million or 65 billion yen in the past fiscal year compared to the estimated 2 trillion yen for printed books and magazines.