Rakuten apparently believes in the future of e-books: the company announced they have reached an agreement with Sony, Panasonic, and major book retailer Kinokuniya to cooperate in the development of an industry standard for e-books in Japan.
The goal is to do away with barriers that exist between the different e-book services in this country in order to drive adoption.
Rakuten explains what the cooperation is about:
1.Promoting the development of an environment that facilitates freedom of choice for e-book terminals, and access to a greater variety of e-book titles (hereafter referred to as “contents”) from all kinds of e-book stores. As a specific goal, we will work toward standardizing our systems to allow mutual connections between e-books terminals and e-book stores operated respectively by the four companies, starting in the latter half of 2011.
2.Provision of a one-stop system that allows users to manage all contents purchased from different e-book stores.
3.Launching a portal site mainly for displaying ranking charts to allow users to quickly obtain information on popular titles based on sales at physical, Internet and e-book stores.
Needless to say, Rakuten is also planning to cooperate with e-book service providers that adopt the new standard in the future, for example booklista, an e-book site backed by Sony and others.