E-books in Japan

I bought “ScanSnap” which is the most popular of document scanners in Japan. I’m scanning many paper books. (This “paper book” means “not e-book”.)

How to use this? Before I use my document scanner, I order Kinko’s to cut out books that I want to scan. Kinko’s divides a book into individual papers with $1 or $2. And then, I put these papers on the sheet feeder of the scanner and tap “Scan” button on the scanner. It scans 20 papers (both side) per minute. It has OCR and embed text in PDF for text-search. The DPI of the scanner is enough. I set it 300dpi, but you can set it by 600dpi.

In Japan, scanning books to make e-book data is called “Jisui(自炊)”. It means “I (single) prepare my own meals”.

The reason why we, Japanese prepare our own e-books is that there are few e-books in Japan. There are two impediments, I guess. One is that publishers’ against. Another one is that almost all Japanese books are vertical writing style that iBook and Kindle don’t support.

Some kind of books like about computer book, English or Math education book aren’t vertical writing, because these books need to show horizontal writing text or formula. Many books in my bookshelf are horizontal writing, but general Japanese books are vertical writing. Plus, we flip pages of such book from left to right. This is also unsupported by iBook and Kindle. Some PDF reader App of iPad can adapt this, so we’re using it to read such e-book.

When you come to Japan, go to a bookstore if you are interested in this matter. You can see two types of books and magazines are horizontal writing and vertical writing.

BTW, I imported a lot of books from U.S. through amazon.com and amazon.co.jp. I don’t “convert” these books written by English to e-book, because I need to write some Japanese translations onto these book for next time. I need paper.

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3 Responses to E-books in Japan

  1. AlexMcAin says:


    Interesting!!! this makes me to ask you a question, I hear from some related to me that you guys are changing from vertical writing to horizontal and removing more an more the use of kanji in writing it that so?.


  2. minahito says:

    Hi Alex! I think Japanese (we) want to keep vertical writing for almost all books like novels. But if Apple never implement vertical writing, we had better to change to horizontal writing. And, we keep using Kanji, because if we don’t use Kanji, a lot of words have the same spell.

  3. AlexMcAin says:


    Thanks for the answer. Since I was preparing a trip to Japan in the beginning of the next year and I’m try to study some Japanese to not be totally lost (but Kanji it’s sometimes hard to remember) =D I was curious about. The only thing I’m happy it’s almost all games except (Bastard for PSX or other older ones) write Katakana and Hiragana so at least I understand where to start read.


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