Kindle-less Japan

Three years ago I started reading books on Kindle. I still do most of my reading from paper books, but I appreciate the convenience and ubiquity of the e-book. The fact that I don’t need to have the actual Kindle device with me to read the book is a huge advantage.

It seems e-books are everywhere now and there is a lot of press about publishers moving to the digital model in face of dwindling paper book sales. So it was interesting, and surprising, to read the results of this survey: less than 7% of readers in Japan read from e-books and almost 70% have no intention of buying an e-book reader.

The Japanese are early adopters of many technologies. I had connectivity to the internet on my DoCoMo phone in Japan more than 10 years ago, and I could use it to pay in convenience stores. Anyone who rides in the Tokyo metro can witness the proliferation of gadgets and smartphones in use by practically everyone on board. And yet is seems the e-book has not caught on as much as one would have thought in this technologically advanced country. Much like another technology, popular in the US, which Japanese have refused to adopt: bluetooth headsets. I wonder why.


One thought on “Kindle-less Japan

  1. Because the Japanese reverence for printed books runs very, very deep. Also the majority of reading done on the move is from magazines or tankoubon rather than novels.

    You don’t end up with a house full of books in Japan because there’s a thriving used book market, including the nationwide chain Book-Off.

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