E-book promoter to get ¥15 billion state boost

Kyodo

The government-backed fund Innovation Network Corp. of Japan said Thursday it will invest up to ¥15 billion in a company to be set up jointly by publishing firms to promote and expand the electronic book market.

The new firm, Digital Publishing Initiatives Japan, will be founded Monday by publishing firms including Kodansha Ltd. and Shogakukan Inc. with the goal of digitizing 1 million publications to expand Japan’s e-book market to ¥200 billion in five years.

Publishing and printing firms are expected to invest a total of ¥2 billion in the new firm. That would leave Innovation Network with an equity stake of nearly 90 percent.

The new company will also offer data storage services for publications and provide distribution support for e-book stores.

More than 260 publishers in Japan have agreed to share the new firm’s goals of creating a platform to expand their electronic publishing businesses and offering e-books to a broad range of readers via bookstores and libraries.

Innovation Network , an investment fund owned largely by the government, was set up in 2009 to nurture cutting-edge industries. It also offers financial support for business consolidation to enhance global competitiveness.