Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has released an update to its iBooks application, which finally introduces paid content for users in Japan from the iBookstore. The update also includes improvements for Asian language books, and ostensibly that includes Japanese. We heard early reports about this development back in December, with Nikkei writing that Apple had 80,000 titles ready to go from local publishers.
We’re not sure what the official number of offerings is, but the iBookstore now offers a wide variety of manga and novels, including big name titles like One Piece. CNet Japan notes that publishers on board include Kodansha, Kobunsha, Gentosha, Shueisha, and PHP Institute.
The Japanese ebook scene is a notoriously difficult one for Western companies to penetrate, and Amazon can attest to this as its Kindle ebook reader took forever to arrive. This was reportedly due to long, tedious negotiations with Japanese publishers who are are resistant to having their industry disrupted. Apple, no doubt, had work hard to get past those same issues. (Via Tuaw)