Apple Reportedly Negotiating to Bring iBookstore to Japan

Apple iBooks Coming to Japan

Apple’s iBookstore may soon be available in Japan, according to sources speaking with AllThingsD Wednesday. Apple is reportedly already negotiating with several Japanese book publishers to offer their titles as eBooks on the company’s iOS-based eReader platform.

Japanese publishers Kodansha, Shogakukan and Kadokawa are among those reportedly negotiating with Apple. Sources claim that the talks between the companies are proceeding fairly smoothly, and agreements are expected to be finalized soon.

The Nikkei reports [Google Translation] that agreements could be closed as early as the end of January, although AllThingsD’s sources claim that such a timeframe is unrealistic, with a deal more likely to arrive later this year.

Apple previously attempted to enter the Japanese eBook market in 2010 after the launch of its iBooks iOS app but was unable to forge an agreement. The app is still available to Japanese customers, but the companion iBookstore has thus far only included public domain works.

Once a deal is struck, Apple’s hardware and software will be ready for the influx of commercial Japanese content. The most recent version of the iBooks app, version 3, added dictionary support for the Japanese language, and the third- and fourth-generation iPad Retina displays are ideal for reproducing the highly detailed characters found in Asian alphabets.

Neither Apple nor the publishers are publicly commenting on the negotiations, and while a deal to bring the iBookstore to Japan would arguably be good for both Apple and the publishers, an agreement is not yet certain.

Teaser graphic made with help from Shutterstock.