With all its book lovers and gadget and technology buffs, Japan would seem to have the makings of a large market for electronic books.If only the country's publishers were ready to shift the $20 billion book market into the digital age.
Even as Apple prepares to launch its iPad in Japan this month and Amazon.com and Sony mull selling Japanese language ereaders, the publishing industry is circling the wagons to protect the paperback business model.
This loose but potentially influential alliance of 31 publishers is not out to stop digital distribution, but its attempts to control it could slow growth and hinder the ability of Amazon.com and others to make money in Japan.
Big publishers are wary of changing a decades-old business model under which they set the retail prices and discourage discounting. This helps put a floor under their profits and, they argue, protects the country's culture.
E-book service providers are likely to charge less for buying electronic titles, as they do in the United States, and this could lower prices of paperbacks and dent profits.
continued here (it's worth reading)