March 6, 2013
Following its "soft" announcement in the release notes for the latest update to iBooks, Apple has officially announced the expansion of iBookstore in Japan. Earlier today, the iBooks app was updated with improved support for Asian-language books and, more importantly, the inclusion of premium titles in the Japanese iBookstore. According to Apple's new press release, the iBookstore now features titles from major and independent publishers in Japan. These include books from Kodansha, KADOKAWA, Bungeishunju, Gakken, and Gentosha. Among the Japanese authors highlighted by Apple in its announcement are Shyotaro Ikenami, Jiro Akagawa, Atsuko Asano, and Ryu Murakami. Murakami, in particular, has three of his novels exclusively available on the iBookstore, namely, “At the Airport,” “Exodus of Middle-School Students,” and “I’ll Always Be With You, Always.” The last one is noted for its use of "interactive emails in each chapter to bring you even deeper into the story." The Japanese iBookstore also offers bestselling novels, cookbooks, children's books, and manga titles. As a footnote, Apple states that the iBookstore is available in 51 countries. More notably, Apple reveals that the newly updated iBooks app has been downloaded 130 million times since its launch in conjunction with the iPad in early 2010.