Sony said on Thursday it would launch an e-reader in Japan by year-end, taking on rival Apple just a day before its iPad hits shelves in the country.
Sony, Toppan Printing Co., Ltd., KDDI Corporation, and The Asahi Shimbun Company have reached an agreement on basic terms to establish a business planning joint venture focusing on the eBook distribution business. The four companies aim to establish the joint venture on or around July 1, 2010.
Through discussions among its four members, this joint venture is intended to develop into an eBook distribution company that will build and manage a common distribution platform for books, comics, magazines and newspapers for the Japanese market. This company intends to start a content distribution service within this calendar year.
The four participating companies and the joint venture will be open to other companies joining them in their initiatives to establish a market for eBook content in Japan. The eBook distribution company plans to construct an open platform which can deliver content to consumers through a range of devices.
Following discussions among the joint venture and participating companies, the eBook distribution company plans to handle content aggregation from publishers and newspapers, digital content authoring, platform management, sales, distribution and promotions. It will also provide the system planning, development, and construction which is necessary to support these functions.
Sony is already selling its e-reader Reader in the United States to vie with Amazon.com's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and Apple's iPad.