Rakuten launching e-reader service in Japan

Building on acquisition of e-reader maker Kobo, Japanese e-commerce company will start selling e-reader and e-books localized for its home market.

Online commerce company Rakuten will launch an e-book service localized for the Japanese market starting next Thursday and it is now accepting orders for the Kobo e-reader.

In a statement Monday, the Japanese company announced the localized digital book buying service will have a "fully localized Japanese experience" with local currency pricing as well as popular Japanese content and orders.

Along with the announcement of the service, Rakuten said customers can now pre-order the Kobo Touch eReader, priced at 7,980 yen (US$100). The digital book reading device is produced by Kobo which the Japanese company acquired last November.

Rakuten's e-reader and digital book service will be facing competition from Amazon. The U.S. online commerce giant announced on its Japan Web site that it will be offering "the world's best selling e-book reader" soon, but did not specify when the exact launch would be.