Japan is yet to have a smash hit e-reader, but that could be about to change this summer. The Kobo Touch, which launches on July 19th through Rakuten, has already become the most-ordered item on the online retailer's website. Rakuten isn't giving numbers, but if the claim is legitimate it'd mean a significant response to the device from the Japanese public — Rakuten is the biggest e-commerce company in Japan and the third-largest in the world.
The Kobo Touch has been given a major push by Rakuten, which bought out Canada-based Kobo for $315 million last year; a budget-friendly price of ¥7,980 ($100) and widespread marketing have no doubt contributed to the early success. It means that Amazon's Kindle will already have formidable Japanese competition when it eventually launches in the country, and it's still unclear which company will have done the better job of organizing Japan's notoriously fragmented publishing market into a coherent content offering.