Since the Kindle launched in Japan in November of 2012, the e-reader has dominated that market, as it has dominated domestic markets. In the 12 month period ending with March 2013, five months after the Kindle’s Japanese launch, Amazon had 38.3% of the e-reader market. Compared to a 33% share for the Rakuten Kobo and 25.5% for Sony’s Reader device, the launch is definitely a success.
Amazon is a household name in Japan, particularly for books, and the launch was carefully orchestrated. Amazon matched its prices to the Kobo, for example, a move that clearly has paid off. Some of the success is also attributed not to the product – the Kobo and Reader are essentially at the same level of quality as the Kindle – but to the ease of use of the Amazon store, which takes fewer steps and is easier to browse and purchase from.
Kindle’s launch in Japan brings the number of markets Amazon retails it in up to 14.