Businessweek is reporting that Amazon and Kodansha—the largest publisher in Japan—are in talks to bring the Kindle to Japan.
Japan has an interesting e-book market, having almost bypassed the dedicated e-reader completely. Amazon is still weighing whether to jump into the market, though it perhaps should note that Osaka-based Panasonic and Tokyo-based Sony stopped selling their dedicated e-readers in their home countries in 2008 and 2007 respectively.
But the e-book market it booming there—estimated to be around 46.5 bn yen (£324m) in 2009, about four times the US market in 2009—it is just almost exclusively on mobile phones. The Bookseller did a piece almost a couple years ago on the m-book phenomenon, books written in short Twitter-ish bursts, aimed specifically for mobile phones. What it driving the market now is manga and comics read on smartphones.
There are obvious differences to the UK market—traditional print publishing has historically been a far more buoyant here—but British publishers would perhaps be wise to note how Japan has moved away from the dedicated device as the Land of the Rising sun is perhaps five years ahead of the UK in terms of the generation of smartphones and, crucially superfast mobile networks.