Business

Amazon to launch new manga e-book reader for Japanese market

by Shusuke Murai

Staff Writer

E-commerce giant Amazon is launching Friday an e-book reader exclusively designed for Japanese manga aficionados, which is sure to disappoint fans of the comic genre overseas.

The new device’s high-resolution display, larger storage capacity, and faster page-turning abilities make the device “the best Kindle that manga fans can get,” Jasper Cheung, president of Amazon Japan, said in a statement.

The marketing of an e-book reader with a 6-inch display that exclusively targets Japanese consumers is a key test for whether Amazon can adjust to Japan’s unique book market, said Atsushi Matsumoto, a freelance journalist well-versed in the digital content industry.

Matsumoto said more manga fans in Japan were starting to read comics via mobile devices, which freed them from the burden of storing large volumes of books at home.

“It seems reasonable to launch an e-book reader specialized for manga in Japan where more people read the genre than any other country,” he said, adding that the strategy could be a good hook to lure readers into the habit of reading e-books.

The main feature of the new Kindle Paperwhite 32GB Manga Model is its expanded storage capacity — eight times more than the standard Kindle Paperwhite — that is large enough to hold about 700 digital manga volumes.

The storage capacity is enough to store entire runs of mega-volume series “Kochikame,” “Naruto” and “Asari-chan,” Amazon Japan said Tuesday.

The e-book will also have a 33 percent faster page-turning speed.

And it will debut a feature that allows users to flip through seven pages a second, which the company said will help manga fans reach their favorite scenes more quickly.

Regular e-books can be read on the device as well.

According to Amazon Japan, there are over 160,000 volumes of manga available via its e-book store, including best-selling titles “Shingeki no Kyojin” (“Attack on Titan”), “Yowamushi Pedal” and “Kingdom.”

The Kindle Paperwhite 32GB Manga Model is currently available for pre-order on Amazon Japan’s website with a price tag of ¥16,280 for regular members — ¥2,000 more than the regular Kindle Paperwhite — and ¥12,280 for Prime members.