Kobo is launching an ebook service in Japan, starting on July 19th. The fully localised service, which you can find here, will offer the Kobo Touch eReader as well as a wide range of ebooks covering a number of different genres and styles, including comic books. Here’s the English-language press release.
It’s no secret that there are a number of companies seeking to exploit the under-developed Japanese ebook market. Amazon is launching the Kindle in Japan before the end of 2012, and now Kobo – which is owned by Japanese entertainment company Rakuten – seems to be trying to get in early and grab some market share in advance.
The ebook market hasn’t taken off in Japan so far, with the notable exception of comic books. Now that Kobo and Amazon are both entering the market, perhaps we’ll finally get to see if this under-performance has been due to a lack of interest from Japanese customers or simply a lack of choice.