Despite flaws, Rakuten is 1-0 against Amazon in Japan's e-book wars
News On Japan via Japan Times -- Aug 15
Rakuten, Japan's largest online shopping mall - and a head-to-head rival of Amazon Japan that also hopes to expand its business globally - launched its first e-book reader, the Rakuten Kobo Touch, on July 19, getting the jump on the long anticipated Japanese release of Amazon's Kindle.
On June 26 - the very same day Amazon Japan officially announced on its website that its Kindle e-book reader was "coming soon" - Rakuten launched a simple teaser site stating that it would shortly be releasing an e-book reader: The single page site looked as if it had been designed in a hurry. On July 2, the Rakuten Kobo was then introduced at a press conference, and began shipping on July 19.
Whilst the Amazon teaser does not give a date for the Kindle's release in Japan, the speed with which Rakuten acted with its Kobo has surprised consumers. The price too, ¥7,980, which closely matches the $99 price of Amazon's latest Kindle Touch in the United States, is quite competitive compared to existing e-readers in Japan.
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