Amazon enters eBook market in Japan

Amazon is set to enter the world's second largest publishing market after announcing plans to release its new Kindle range in Japan.

The online retailer began taking pre-orders today for its Kindle Paperwhite which starts at 8,480 yen (£67) and the Kindle Fire tablet starting at 12,800 yen (£100). Both devices will be available in Japan from 19 November.

Amazon plans to start selling more than 50,000 titles of Japanese books tomorrow on its Kindle Store website, which can be read on smartphones, tablet computers and PCs, as well as Kindle eBook readers.

Major Japanese publishers such as Kodansha, Shogakukan, Shueisha, Kadokawa Group Holdings and Bungeishunju have agreed to provide their titles to Amazon.

Amazon currently offers more than one million titles of eBooks in the US and is estimated to be worth more than $5 billion (£3.1 billion) by 2016.

The Japanese eBook market was worth 62.9 billion yen (£494 million) in 2011, making it the world's second largest publishing market, and experts predict it will grow to 200 billion yen (£1.5 billion) by 2016.

Amazon's entry into the Japanese market will pit it against popular homegrown brands such as Sony and Rakuten, which debuted its Kobo eBook reader.