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Amazon Now Has 40% of the Japanese eBook Market?

amazon frownIt’s been only 3 months a bare month and a half since Amazon launched a Kindle Store in Japan and they’ve already turned the market on its head. According to the market research firm Impress R&D, Amazon now accounts for the single largest share of the Japanese ebook market.

Impress R&D has just started selling the results of their most recent quarterly survey. The polling took place in December, with the survey respondents drawn from the readers of OnDeck Weekly, a digital trade magazine which (I think) covers the Japanese digital publishing industry.

I don’t have a copy of the report, but I do have the one detail that Amazon now dominates the Japanese ebook market. This does not bode well for Brazil, China or India, other markets which Amazon recently entered. Amazon is likely going to dominate those ebook markets as well, thus reinforcing the situation some publishers fear.

Update: I have a new source with more details from the report:

A full 40 percent of those polled are actively buying books via the Kindle e-book store, according to the data from Impress R&D, the research arm of a Japanese publishing house. That is three times the 13.4 percent who said they buy books from BookWeb, the online bookstore run by national book chain Kinokuniya.

Sony’s Reader Store was next at 10.1 percent, followed by the e-book offering from online shopping mall Rakuten at 7.4 percent. Both Sony and Rakuten offer e-reader devices that compete with the Kindle, as well as apps for reading their titles on mobile phones and tablets.

Many observers in Japan feel that 2013 is the year that the domestic e-book market, which has lagged markets like the U.S., will take off. Impress predicts the market, which was ¥62.9 billion (US$720 million) in the year through March 2012, will over triple in the next five years.

What’s most interesting about those stats is that Kobo only has a 7% share of the Japanese ebook market. That’s not exactly stellar success, is it?



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yuzutea January 9, 2013 um 7:37 am

According to the report, Rakuten/Kobo is in 4th place with 7.4%. Ouch.

fjtorres January 9, 2013 um 8:17 am

Does the report specify/discriminate *what* the readers are buying? Specifically, the language? Amazon has *always* made a good business in Japan out of their global-english ebooks.
(There was a Teleread report a few years back from the author of a Kindle user’s guide that was asked for a Japanese edition to acommodate people who were importing US Kindles.)
So, anyway, it may be that Amazon’s global english content may be the driving force for Kindle sales even in non-english language regions. Local players fed solely by local content would be at a serious disadvantage, no?

R. Scot Johns January 9, 2013 um 10:57 am

How does this "not bode well" for other markets? Having access to a massive collection of content internationally that is otherwise unavailable is no bad thing. For those of us who write and sell books this opens up new territories that are hard to reach. Amazon is a distributor, a retail partner to authors and publishers looking to expand their readership. From my point of view this bodes very well for everyone.

Nate Hoffelder January 9, 2013 um 11:20 am

I was tapping into the Big 6/5/4 publishing industry’s fear of Amazon. Sorry it was not clear.

fjtorres January 9, 2013 um 11:59 am

It bodes well (in the short-term) for Amazon partners and customers, not so much for their competitors. Rakuten in particular.
In the long term, if Kindle steam-rollers even deep-pocketed competitors in their home markets, it will invite whining and government action. (C.F., India, 2012.)
And that wouldn’t be good for anybody.

Amazon possède 40 % du marché de la lecture numérique au Japon January 10, 2013 um 6:01 am

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