Fittingly for a company that is now owned by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, Kobo is officially launching its e-reader and digital bookstore in Japan in July. The Kobo Touch e-reader will be available for pre-order July 2. It is ¥7,980 (USD $100). A full digital bookstore will open at http://kobo.rakuten.co.jp on July 19.
The Japanese Kobo Touch supports EPUB 3, which allows for Japanese characters and vertical text. Kobo says it’s the “first company to fully adopt” the format in a digital bookstore.
The store itself will contain “a robust lineup of Japanese titles, including novels, essays, business and comic books,” as well as the rest of the content in Kobo’s library (about 2.4 million titles). By the end of the year, Kobo says, the store will also carry some exclusive Japanese content.
Kobo now sells its e-readers in 190 countries with content in 60 languages, and it’s launched local-language digital bookstores in Germany and France. Next it plans stores in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Brazil.
Amazon is also close to a launch in Japan. The Verge recently noted that Amazon.co.jp has an updated Kindle page saying the e-reader is “coming soon.”