Originally Posted by medard
It's almost the same at the german Amazon store.
The difference is that german publishers try to charge ~20-25 US-$ per virtual book, which is the same as not publishing it at all..
I don't see how you can claim that. Most current publications of the major German publishing houses are also available as ebooks. There doesn't seem to be a major difference between the ebooks available on Kindle and those available as epubs. The ebooks are usually also slightly cheaper than the paper versions, despite the fact that there is 19% VAT charged on ebooks instead of 7 % VAT for paper books.
Financially Amazon is probably making a killing as they are supposedly selling all their ebooks from Luxembourg. While they are selling the ebooks at legally fixed prices in Germany, they are only paying the reduced Luxembourg VAT rate of 3 %. Luxembourg is violating EU law by applying the reduced rate. A nice little sweetheart deal between a parasitical tax haven and a tax dodging multinational company. [sorry, rant over]
Perhaps Japanese publishing houses have no desire to help Amazon in getting the same dominant market position as they have gained in other markets. Keep Amazon small by freezing them out. Rather sell electronic content via smartphones.