Update: Apple issued a press release on the matter, below the fold.
Apple released version 3.1 of iBooks today on the App Store and with it comes hundreds of thousands of Japanese books to the iBookstore in Japan. Among the local content on the iBookstore in Japan is light novels and manga, while Apple also noted that it has made “a number of improvements for reading Asian language books.”
AllThingsD reported in January that Apple was in talks with Japanese publishers to work out deals for the iBookstore, which had lacked local Japanese content since it first launched in 2010. Up until now, the store in Japan has consisted of mostly public domain content, but it appears Apple has finally come to an agreement with a many of the large publishers in the country.
What’s New in Version 3.1
The iBookstore in Japan now has hundreds of thousands of books available for purchase, including fiction, manga, light novels and more. This version of iBooks also includes a number of improvements for reading Asian language books.
iBooks 3.1 is available to download on the App Store now.
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Apple Launches iBookstore in Japan
TOKYO―March 6, 2013―Apple® today announced the launch of the iBookstore℠ in Japan featuring titles from major and independent publishers, including a great selection of books from Kodansha, KADOKAWA, Bungeishunju, Gakken and Gentosha. The iBookstore has a wide selection of emerging and established authors including Shyotaro Ikenami, Jiro Akagawa, Atsuko Asano and Ryu Murakami. The iBookstore in Japan is the best way for book lovers to browse, buy and read books on iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch®.
“We’re excited to launch the iBookstore in Japan with a wide selection of Japanese publishers and authors,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We think customers are going to love how engaging and interactive the books are to read, and how beautiful they look on iPad.”
“We’re thrilled to have our books on the iBookstore,” said Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, Chairman of KADOKAWA Group Holdings. “More than anything, I think it’s great the iBookstore lets us offer our readers a wide variety of reading experiences that they can’t have anywhere else and that they can only have on their iOS device.”
iBookstore customers can choose from a wide selection of enhanced books that look incredible on iPad, as well as digitally exclusive titles including Ryu Murakami’s fiction novels “At the Airport,” “Exodus of Middle-School Students” and “I’ll Always Be With You, Always,” which has interactive emails in each chapter to bring you even deeper into the story.
“I’m excited to offer three of my works exclusively on the iBookstore, and hope that readers love them as much as I do,” said author, novelist and filmmaker Ryu Murakami. “As an author and Apple user for 20 years, the arrival of the iBookstore allows me to tell stories in a way you simply can’t in a physical book.”
Beloved children’s books including “Piyo-chan: A Letter for Piyo” come to life with interactivity, transitions and audio, while new favorites including “Toy Story 3: So Long Partner” let readers easily read aloud at their own pace.
“We couldn’t be more excited about how incredible ‘Piyo-chan: A Letter for Piyo’ looks on the iBookstore,” said Hiroaki Miyahara, President and Representative Director of Gakken Holdings. “We’ve taken this beloved Japanese children’s book and made it more engaging with gorgeous animations and interactivity that makes learning more fun.”
Cookbooks are even more useful on the iBookstore with titles such as “I Love Cheesecakes!” from culinary specialist Kiyomi Ishizawa that allows cooks to easily search recipes and ingredients. Additionally, the iBookstore offers best-selling fiction novels including “Sora-Tobu Kouhoushitsu” by Hiro Arikawa, “Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu” by Nagaru Tanigawa, and “Tenchi Meisatsu” by Tow Ubukata. Also available for purchase and download on the iBookstore are world-renowned Manga titles including Eiichiro Oda’s “ONE PIECE,” Mari Yamazaki’s “THERMAE ROMAE” and Hirohiko Araki’s full color version of “JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE” Part 4, which is digitally exclusive on the iBookstore.
The iBookstore is available in 51 countries and offers hundreds of categories including cookbooks, history books, biographies, picture books and children’s books with free books available in 155 countries. The iBooks® app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch has been downloaded 130 million times worldwide.
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