Before Apple rolled out the iBookstore in Japan in 2010, it failed to negotiate the necessary contracts with Japan's biggest book publishers. As a result, the iBookstore in Japan was stocked predominately with free, public domain e-books. The only paid e-books in the store have been from very small publishers or self-published authors. That's set to change later this year, according to AllThingsD.
Citing "sources with knowledge of the situation," AllThingsD follows up on an earlier report by Nekkie, which claims that books from major Japanese publishers will be on sale on the iBookstore later this month. Now, AllThingsD says a January launch date is "far too optimistic a date for launch." However, they claim that Apple's conversations with publishers Kodansha, Shogakukan and Kadokawa are "going well" and that the companies will have deals settled "soon."
In October, Apple updated the iBooks app to support Japanese-language e-books.