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Rakuten vs. amazon...

There is a lot of talk about the Japanese e-Commerce site rakuten.com wanting to become a competition for amazon, because rakuten bought the Kobo now. Well, good luck then. I do think it’s comparing apples with oranges again - like all the people who thought the Kindle Fire was supposed to be competition for the ipad - when in reality it was made to be a competition for the color reader Nook and Kobo... (Every journalist who thinks he has to compare the Fire to the ipad is not doing his research probably in my opinion and it’s sad to see how many journalist have no idea nowadays that research should be part of their job description...)

Rakuten is an e-commerce platform for different sellers - not a centralized shop with additional functionality.

The only thing that would get me to at least be excited about it would be if the Kobo either would manage to become an ereader for comics that works like the Kindle - because I HATE the comixology system -, or if they managed to open the Japanese book market for e-reading world wide. Amazon was working on that and hasn’t come far, because as it happens so often wit Japanese business models, they don’t want to adapt to international needs, because so far they’ve made money on their home turf. I don’t think rakuten is influential enough to make publishers in Japan adapt right away. In fact I fear rakuten with it's understanding of business is in fact an outsider in Japan, much like softbank was. 

I do wish them luck though, because maybe if they are successful with something outside of Japan at least a few businesses in the country will start thinking more globally.


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