Sony to launch e-reader in Japan

Sony Corp said on Thursday that it would launch an e-reader and online content distribution service in Japan by the end of this year. Apple Inc’s iPad hits shelves in the country on Friday.

Sony, the maker of PlayStation games and Bravia flat TVs, also said that it plans to launch its e-book operations in China, Australia, Spain and Italy this year.

Sony's Reader electronics book reader, which vies with's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook, is available in the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Sony has partnered with telecoms operator KDDI Corp, printing firm Toppan Printing Co and the Asahi Shimbun newspaper to set up a planning company to prepare for the service, which will offer book, comic, magazine and newspaper content.

Sony is stressing on the quality and quantity of the content rather than the time lag between the Apple iPhone debut in Japan and its service launch. This is evident from the current arrangement within the participating companies of the new initiative, owned a quarter each by Sony, KDDI, Toppan and Asahi. Although the ownership is divided, the content distribution business will be open for other firms to join, and there will be multiple types of e-reader terminals from different companies.

But how open the content distribution will be seen, when the service takes decision or even contemplates on taking decision on giving content to iPad or Kindle. --------

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