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What's going on in Japan? (No.12)

Companies ranging from printers to wireless carriers are scrambling to get a foothold in electronic book distribution, a market that is expected to expand exponentially--and could easily whittle away competitors.
Dai Nippon Printing plans to sell its digitized books with applications that can be used on various reading devices, including computers, smart phones and Apple Inc.'s popular iPad. The printer said it has asked Kodansha Ltd. and other partners in the publishing industry to supply the content.
Google Inc. is expected to start Google Edition, a pay service for e-book distribution, in the summer in the United States and possibly early next year in Japan.
Wireless carrier NTT DoCoMo Inc. said it is considering entering the e-book business by year-end, possibly in a tie-up.
Rival Softbank Corp. began a service to distribute magazine content for iPad users and other customers in June.
A consortium of Sony Corp., KDDI Corp., Toppan Printing Co. and The Asahi Shimbun Co. is preparing to start distributing e-books by the end of December.
Kinokuniya Co., a leading operator of bookstores, also announced its intention to enter the market.
One downside of having so many players in the field is that consumers may become confused over the various applications for downloading e-books and the methods of payment.

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