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In its first week on sale in Japan, Walter Isaacson’s biography of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs is flying off the shelves. Japan’s publisher Kodansha announced that sales of the book, titled “Steve Jobs,” has exceeded 1 million copies as of November 2.
“It sold at an exceptional speed,” said a spokesman for Kodansha. “It is Steve Jobs’ ability, strength and appeal that attracted readers.”
Volume 1 of the book that came out on October 24, has sold 550,000 copies, and Volume 2 has sold 470,000 copies.
This is a tremendous book and should jump the queue of all those books on contemporary Japan you have been intending to read. The editors deserve kudos for putting together a stellar group of specialists and our gratitude for making them abandon the usually scholarly trappings.
The chapters are written in an accessible and thoughtful style and focus on explaining various aspects of culture and society for nonspecialists. This academic-lite approach is a welcome relief from the usual trudge through a specialists’ tome, jettisoning the disciplinary discourse without sacrificing the insights. Lucidly written, this is an ideal book for undergraduate classes as it includes a glossary, bibliography and comprehensive list of relevant websites. Experts will also find this a rewarding collection.
Yusuke Ohki’s 2,000 books were crowding out his Tokyo apartment, so he scanned them all into an Apple iPad. Six months later the 28-year-old is running a 120-strong startup doing the same thing for customers.
Japan’s cramped living conditions and the arrival of the iPad in May have spawned as many as 60 companies offering to turn paper books into e-books as publishers have been slow to provide content for new electronic readers.
Japan has lagged behind the U.S. in introducing e-books because of a rigid pricing system, uncertainty over copyrights and early problems reproducing Japanese characters on screens, according to Toshihiro Takagi, an analyst at market researcher Impress R&D in Tokyo.
"People are taking matters into their own hands because the publishers are not meeting the market’s needs," Takagi said.
"We are aiming to acquire a share of 40% in the global electronic book market in fiscal 2012," said Sony Corp, which has been leading the US electronic book (e-book) market with Amazon.com Inc.
We interviewed Fujio Noguchi, who supervises Sony’s e-book business as deputy president, Digital Reading Business Division, Sony Electronics Inc, about the company’s perspective on and strategies for the e-book market. (Interviewer: Yasushi Uchida & Takuya Otani, Nikkei Electronics)
Q: The e-book market is booming now.
Noguchi: As a market, I think it is still at an early stage. For Japan, off course, it is a promising market. And, in the US, which is taking a lead, the size of the e-book reader market is about several million units per year. It is relatively small, considering that the size of the portable music player market is 40 to 50 million units per year in the US.
However, from now, the e-book market will expand much faster than the online music/video delivery market did in the past. We have already gone through the digitization of music and video. We all understand that books will be digitized in the same way.