Sunday, June 22, 2014

E-Readers & Japan

I thought I might update random things related to Japan on Sundays when I think of something, or if I think it might be interesting or relevant to my book reading life!
So today, I thought I might talk about what I've noticed when it comes to Japanese and E-Readers.

I have owned e-readers for a pretty long time. My first one was a Kobo that I got the Christmas of 2010 (It broke twice within its guarantee period, god they were fragile). It was really useful since I'd always had problems choosing what books to bring with me to college. I also have had a Kindle and currently have a Kindle Paperwhite (which I love). These have been essential in Japan, as I could only bring about ten books with me from the States and it makes buying new books in English way easier and faster.

The thing about Japan is that E-Readers haven't really caught on.

In the Fall of 2011 I did a study-abroad in Chiba and brought my Kindle. No one had ever heard of an e-reader out of my Japanese friends and they were intrigued by it. I also didn't really see advertisements for them anywhere. I think they might have been around, but it was only the beginning of their arrival here.

When I came back in August 2013, most people I talked to still didn't know of e-readers, but Kindle as a brand name was very well known from the Kindle Tablets.

There is however advertisements for them around. So who is the e-reader king of Japan? Surprisingly, Kobo Books snatched themselves a rather good deal. They formed a partnership with the of Japan, Rakuten. Rakuten has found its way into many bits of Japan life. I'd say they're a bit more non-internet-user friendly than Amazon as there seems to be a presence. There is also ads for Rakuten EVERYWHERE.
English Rakuten logo w/kobo
Due to this Kobos, are known as a brand name as well here. Of course Nooks might as well not exist.

I bring my Kindle to work and it's always really interesting to see my co-workers responses to it. One even mentioned she was thinking of getting one and wanted to inspect mine. The hardest thing to explain in Japanese, however, is e-ink, the reason why I love e-readers in the first place, but it seems like I get the idea across.

Does anyone know how e-readers are seen in other countries? Is it just as prevelant in Europe as it is in the States? Before I came to Japan with it, it was really easy to assume EVERYONE knew about e-readers lol.


Mel@Thedailyprophecy said...

I'm from The Netherlands and while they aren't THAT popular, people are definitely familiar with e-readers :) You can't buy them everywhere (we have special stores for electronic stuff) and we don't have all brands (I don't believe we can buy Kindles in the store), but they are here :)

Sam said...

Yeah, it seems like most major stores carry e-readers in America nowadays and for sure all book and major electronic stores. I was curious about who carries Kindles in-store and looked it up, quite a few big name places do.

Sam @ A Journey Through Pages

Alison Can Read said...

I was in Japan in 2010 and was surprised that no one had smart phones. Everyone used these flip phones with big screens. I wonder if that's still the case.

Sam said...

When I was in Chiba fall 2011 smart phones were JUST starting to be adopted by people, now though they're everywhere lol. I have very few friends with non-smart phones now. It changed so quickly.

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