Amazon is in talks with Kodansha Ltd, Japan’s largest publisher, about bring Japanese language eBooks to the Kindle, reports Business Week. It sounds like Amazon is hoping to get some Japanese eBooks for international distribution on the Kindle platform, and also to bring the Kindle device and store to Japan, where it is not currently available, because Amazon offers no Japanese eBooks.
Japan’s eBook market is much, much larger than the market in the US, but much of the eReading is done via cell phones. eReaders haven’t actually done too well there, as Business Week points out: ” The Japanese e-book market — worth 46.4 billion yen ($505 million) in the 12 months ended March 31, 2009, is dominated by readership of comics on mobile phones…Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp., Japan’s two biggest consumer electronics makers, scrapped their e-reader business in the country in 2007 and 2008 respectively.”
So, it’s a risky market for Amazon, though the company is obviously eager to expand all it can in the wake of iPad and in anticipation of forthcoming tablets, which threaten to make eReaders obsolete.