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Sony to Start Offering E-Readers in Japan Next Month After Three Years

Sony Corp. will resume sales of electronic-book readers in Japan for the first time since 2007, aiming to win a 50 percent share of the local market for digital publications.

The Reader Pocket Edition, with a 5-inch display, will be available in stores for about 20,000 yen ($240) starting Dec. 10, Tokyo-based Sony said today in a statement. A bigger touch- screen edition will be offered for about 25,000 yen, it said.

In July, Sony cut the price of its e-readers in the U.S. for the second time since the introduction of Apple Inc.’s iPad in April intensified competition. Osaka-based Sharp Corp., Japan’s largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, will start offering a Japanese-language electronic bookstore service next month, it said in September.

Sony aims to sell 300,000 readers in Japan in the first year, Nobuki Kurita, president of the company’s marketing unit for Japan, told reporters in Tokyo. Japan’s e-book market may grow to more than 1 million shipments by 2012, Kurita said.

Sony, which stopped selling e-readers in Japan three years ago because of low demand, formed a venture earlier this year with mobile-phone operator KDDI Corp., Asahi Shimbun Publishing Corp. and Toppan Printing Co. to provide electronic publications.

The electronics maker said in May it plans to begin sales of e-readers in China, Italy, Spain and Australia this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mariko Yasu in Tokyo at myasu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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