Cafes where you can enjoy coffee and lunch while you read e-books have been expanding around Tokyo. The e-book market has increased, but research results show that the comic genre occupies 80% of the sales, and there are very few people who read e-book novels and literature works. In order to promote the e-book experience, e-bookstore operating companies have opened attractive spaces that serve food, beverages, and complimentary internet connection. Will such e-book cafes become an alternative to comic cafes and internet cafes?
Some people who don't want to read or aren’t interested in e-books have given negative feedback after their personal experiences, such as, “E-books are difficult to read on the display, and they cause me to have eye strain,” and “E-books don't make me feel that I’ve read a book”. Some people who don't find any reason to switch to e-books say that they are satisfied with paper books, and they actually prefer paper books. People who point out negative opinions on the hardware side say things like, “E-book readers are expensive,” and “With e-books, there is the possibility that we cannot read books we’ve purchased after the providers stop their services.”
Under the circumstances, Dai Nippon Printing (Head Office: Shinjuku, Tokyo), which operates the e-bookstore “Honto”, has set up a space in their head office building to try to read 170 bestselling novels and picture books using tablet devices. According to an article in the Sankei Shimbun, the space is called “Honto Cafe”, and there are guides who explain how to use the tablet devices as well as share convenient tips for e-books. It also serves food and beverages such as a daily special lunch set, which collaborates with the Women’s Nutrition College, and serves certified fair trade coffee. The space offers a ‘feel-free’ experience while reading e-books. “Rakuten Cafe” was launched in May this year. You can experience their services including their online shopping site “Rakuten Ichiba” and e-book reader “Kobo” to read magazines for free.
These activities by e-bookstore operators may lead to the promotion of e-book usage, and there will be a possibility for e-book cafes to become popular spots.
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