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Apple rolls out iBookstore in Japan

With the East Asian nation now added to the list, the tech giant's iTunes bookstore is available in 51 countries worldwide.

Apple's new Japanese iBookstore. Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

Japan is the newest country to get Apple's iBookstore. The tech giant announced today that it is rolling out a diverse array of books for Japanese readers in its iTunes bookstore.

"We're excited to launch the iBookstore in Japan with a wide selection of Japanese publishers and authors," Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue said in a statement today. "We think customers are going to love how engaging and interactive the books are to read, and how beautiful they look on iPad."

The books range from novels to cookbooks to children's literature. Both major and indie publishers are represented in the collection, as well as up-and-coming and well-established authors, including Shyotaro Ikenami, Jiro Akagawa, Atsuko Asano, and Ryu Murakami.

Several of the books have digital-only features, such as Murakami's "I'll Always Be With You, Always," which features interactive e-mails in every chapter.

"As an author and Apple user for 20 years, the arrival of the iBookstore allows me to tell stories in a way you simply can't in a physical book," Murakami said in the statement.

Adding Japan to its roster, Apple's iBookstore is now available in 51 countries around the world. In October, the tech giant debuted its iTunes bookstore in 18 new countries, including Bolivia, New Zealand, and Nicaragua. According to Apple, the iBooks app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch has been downloaded around 130 million times worldwide.

While Apple is moving quickly to make its iBookstore completely international, Amazon beat it to the punch for Japan last October. Amazon made its first Kindle push into Japan with its Paperwhite device. At that time, Amazon also launched its Japanese Kindle Store offering more than 50,000 Japanese-language Kindle books.