Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Sony Corp. Chief Executive Howard Stringer, center, Executive Deputy President Hiroshi Yoshioka, left, and Executive Vice President Kazuo Hirai smile as they show the company's latest products, digital still camera DSC-TX1, e-book "Reader," and a new remote controller for PlayStation 3, respectively, during a press conference in Tokyo Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009.

Shizuo Kambayashi

Sony Corp. said on Thursday it would launch an e-reader and online content distribution service in Japan by year-end, taking on rival Apple Inc. whose iPad hits shelves in the country on Friday.

The maker of PlayStation games and Bravia flat TVs said it also plans to launch its e-book operations in China, Australia, Spain and Italy this year.

Sony's Reader electronics book reader, which vies with Amazon.com's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook, is available in the U.S., Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Story continues below advertisement

The debut of the iPad, a computing and entertainment system that also functions as an e-reader, is expected to boost Japan's still-small e-book market, which Chimera Research Institute expects to double to about $1-billion (U.S.) in four years.

Sony has partnered with telecoms operator KDDI Corp, printing firm Toppan Printing Co and the Asahi Shimbun newspaper to set up a planning company to prepare for the service, which will offer book, comic, magazine and newspaper content.

Asked about the time lag between iPad's Japan debut and the launch of the planned contents distribution service, Sony said the breadth of available content is more important than time to market.

"An e-book business does not make much sense if it does not come with enough content in terms of both quantity and quality ... You have to build a system first to ensure that," Sony Electronics Senior vice-president Fujio Noguchi told a news conference. "I don't think we are running behind."

Sony Electronics is Sony's U.S. electronics sales division.

Although the planning company will be owned a quarter each by Sony, KDDI, Toppan and Asahi, the content distribution business will be open for other firms to join, and there will be multiple types of e-reader terminals from different companies, Sony said.

"Will the new operating company offer contents to iPad or Kindle? It is not for me to decide. But this is going to be an open system. I don't deny the possibility," Mr. Noguchi said.

Story continues below advertisement

Sony attempted to create an e-reader market in the past when it launched reading devices only to pull them from shelves after a few lacklustre years due to a lack of content.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies