Apple’s iBookstore is reportedly heading to Japan this year, finally delivering its popular e-book store to the ever-growing number of Japanese iPad users. The Cupertino company is said to be in the process of negotiating deals with a “handful” of Japanese publishers to supply a local version of their titles at launch.
Sources with knowledge of the situation have told AllThingsD that Kodansha, Shogakukan and Kadokawa are among the publishing houses that Apple has already entered negotiations with. Those negotiations are going well, according to the source, and an agreement is likely to be reached fairly soon.
Once that happens, Apple can give the iBookstore its grand unveiling in Japan. That’s expected to be a few months away, however. A January launch, previously reported by Nikkei, is “far too optimistic a launch date,” AllThingsD says.
The Japanese e-book market is tremendously difficult to break into, even for a company like Apple, which will be taking a second stab at it. The company first brought iBooks to Japan back in 2010, but it did not negotiate deals with Japanese developers. With that being the case, its store was filled entirely with public domain content, and it’s been that way ever since.
If Apple could launch iBooks in Japan, however, it’s likely to be a success. The iPad is hugely popular there, and it could give Japan’s e-book market a big boost.