Tokyo: Sony Corp said on Thursday it would launch an e-reader in Japan by year-end, taking on rival Apple Inc just a day before its iPad hits shelves in the country.
Sony said it also plans to launch an e-book content distribution service in Japan by year-end as it aims at a chunk of the promising electronic book market.
The debut of the iPad, a portable computing and entertainment system that also functions as an e-reader, is expected to boost Japan’s still-small e-book market.
Research firm Fuji Chimera Research Institute estimates the content market will double to ¥87 billion ($967 million) in four years.
Sony said it will set up a planning company on 1 July for the content distribution service and will hold 25% of the firm. KDDI Corp, Toppan Printing Co, and the Asahi Shimbun newspaper will also hold 25% each.
The new service will offer comics, magazines, newspapers, as well as books online, Sony said.
Sony sells its e-reader Reader in the United States to vie with Amazon.com’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Apple’s iPad, but it does not currently sell the device at home.
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.
Before the announcement, Sony shares ended up 2.1% at ¥2,788, outperforming a 1.2% rise in the benchmark Nikkei average.