Kadokawa Shoten Publishing[J] and its subsidiaries, which are known for having published many comic titles and magazines, announced on Friday that they would launch an e-book distribution platform called Book Walker next month.
Approximately 100 titles will be available for the iPhone and the iPad users at the launch of the platform, and 20 titles will be added every week thereafter. They expect some 1,000 titles are ready not only for the iPhone and the iPad users but also for the Android and PC users by next July and revenue of USD125M in the year of 2014.
15 companies belonging to the group are expected to participate the platform, and provide e-book, videos/films, character merchandise and social game apps on it. Third-party publishers can also join it to sell their content. “We aim at establishing a business model that allows paper-printed books and e-books to co-exist.”, Kadogawa Contents Gate[J] director Yoichi Yasumoto says. For example, they will provide extra content on the platform only to those who have purchased a book at a bookstore. The company emphasizes the platform will never break the existing business relationship between publishers and bookstores.
Book Walker is intended to be integrated with social media to strengthen marketing efforts, and Kadokawa tied up with Japan’s largest video sharing site Nico Nico Douga[J] as the first attempt of their social media integration. Nico Nico Douga is expected to introduce a viewer app that enables to not only read e-books on the platform but also check up reader reviews which are overlapped on the e-book viewing screen just like viewer reviews on Nico Nico Douga.
The company is expecting to enhancing the platform that enables to distribute e-books in English and Chinese languages for reaching out Japanese literature and comic fans outside the country.
Meanwhile, Japanese popular novelist Ryu Murakami who is known for having won the Akutagawa prize with his first work Almost Transparent Blue, launched his own e-book publisher called G2010 in early this month. The company deals with many titles authored by several well-known novelists including Mr. Murakami, exclusively online. “Publishing companies have professionals on creating paper-printed books, but neither on e-books. For having good partnerships with many publishers, we’ve decided not to tie up with a specific publisher.”, he says.
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