Toshiba has been operating their own online digital bookstore since 2011 called Bookplace. They initially co-developed it with a company called BookLive, but two years later Toshiba started a new in-house project called “BookPlace Cloud Innovations” which was designed to replace BookPlace . The main premise behind the re-brand was to focus on the Japanese market. All good things must come to an end and it looks like Bookplace will be closing its doors on September 30th 2015.
U-NEXT is well known for being one of the top anime, movie and music services in Japan and many big companies rely on their content distribution network for gaming consoles and televisions. In 2014, they got into selling e-books with a platform that is very much akin to Toshiba Bookplace and it should because the two sides collaborated on the development.
The BookPlace for U-NEXT sells e-books, manga and graphic novels individually, and regularly updates the site with deals and promotions. One of the new initiatives they recently started was an unlimited magazine subscription service that costs $20.00 US a month.
There hasn’t been any mainstream news coverage over this situation yet, so details are fairly scarce on what type of role Toshiba will be playing with the BookPlace for U-NEXT. Likely, Toshiba is just withdrawing completely from the e-book market and got financially compensated by U-NEXT for all of the customer data. This is very much akin to what occurred when Sony closed their digital bookstore and worked out an agreement with Kobo for customer data.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.