e-book love...or not?

Good morning everyone,

Well, there is no real change in the weather. Today and tomorrow will be cooler than average for this time of year-highs will be around 12C and temperatures will slowly rise throughout the week reaching up to 17C on the weekend. We're looking at a mix of sun and clouds all week-as of right now, there is no rain in the forecast this week.

Do you read e-books?
ebook reading
Probably not, if you're Japanese. According to e-book publishers, sales in Japan are sluggish compared to other developed countries. In the US for example, e-books now outsell traditional paper books while in Japan they lag far behind. In Japan, e-book sales generated ¥72.9 billion (72,900,000,000) in sales-that doesn't too shabby, does it? Well, no, I could live with that amount of money in my bank account! Ha ha! But when you compare it to the total of paper book sales in Japan, which was ¥1.7 trillion (1,700,000,000,000), it's just a drop in the bucket.

A recent survey of 1200 people showed that all of them had heard of e-books, but only 61% considered using them. And another survey showed that only 1.7% of book readers in Japan use e-books exclusively.

So, why is there no love for e-books in Japan? Actually you don't need to be a genius to figure it out.

e-books are popular back home because they are convenient, cheap and easy to carry.

The thing is, that in Japan, it's so easy to buy books. Did you know that there are more book stores in Japan than in the US, despite the fact that Japan has about one-third of the population and is about the same size as Montana? It's true! At last count there were 14,696 bookstores in Japan compared to 12,703 in America. Buying books in Japan is already convenient.

And anyone who has been in a Japanese bookstore will know that Japanese printed books are really cheap! Back home a new paperback will set you back about $10 or so, whereas in Japan you can get them for under ¥500! Buying books in Japan is already cheap.

And if, when you were in the bookstore, you picked up a paperback, you were probably surprised by how light and compact it was. Japanese books can easily fit in your bag or briefcase and can be held easily in one hand while riding the train. Carrying books in Japan is already easy.

Those three factors combined make e-books a hard sell in Japan I think. Will they eventually become more popular? Sure. Japanese living spaces are small and one e-book reader can store hundreds of titles. Once there are more options available-there are only about a third of new titles released as e-books in Japan-we'll see more and more people holding some sort of electronic book reader on trains and buses in Japan.

How about you? Are you ahead of the curve? Do you already have an e-book reader? Or are you waiting for them to become cheaper and lighter?

Have a great day!

Post a comment

Private comment

No title

I prefer paper books-I love their texture and smell . But gradually I am having trouble reading small print because of my aging eyes !
Maybe it is time for me to switch to e-books ?!

Re: No title

I'm the same as you Junko. I love the feel and smell of a 'real' book! I read a few e-books when I first got my e-book reader, but I switched back to real books soon after that-unless the e-book is at least 50% less! Ha ha!