eBooks not quite the thing in Japan

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We’ve all heard about how everyone in Japan reads books on mobile phones, but is there really any evidence that this is the case?

Not speaking Japanese myself, and not really knowing that much — if in truth anything, as I’m finding out — about this intriguing country, I suspect that there is more to this than meets the eye. Putting aside the gross generalization “everyone in country X” for a moment, I found an article on whatjapanthinks.com, which presents statistics on Japanese reading habits related to eBooks.

The results come from a fresh survey (conducted September 2007), and show that less than 17% of those asked had ever read an eBook on a mobile, even though over 85% had knowledge of or heard about eBooks on portable devices.

Interestingly, 46.3% of respondents had actually read an electronic book, though much of this is likely to be Manga, which — according to Ken, author of whatjapanthinks.com, is available for free download if you have the right service subscription on your mobile phone. Simultaneously, there is a report on take-up of mobile Manga, which shows that interest here is not quite what it could be.

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