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Old 02-02-2019, 02:02 PM   #1
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Japanese books on Kobo?

Greetings, fellow Kobo owners!

Does anyone here purchases Japanese ebooks to read on their Kobo? I've only recently realised that given that Kobo is somewhat popular in Japan, you should be able to get ebooks for it in Japanese. Given that eventually I'd like to learn more of the language, it'd probably be a good thing to have, some books to try my skills with.

So, any place that would sell me DRM-free (or easily removable DRM :) Japanese books that will work fine with a Kobo reader? I'm specifically after books; mangas are bit easier to acquire, although not entirely in a legal manner... :D

Thanks!
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Old 02-02-2019, 05:33 PM   #2
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I haven't had much success buying anything from the Rakuten's Japanese site. However, I seem to recall reading that others have, using a VPN to make it look like they were in Japan.

Even when I was in Japan a couple years back, I didn't have much success. I set up a Japanese gmail account. Then I did a factory reset of my Kobo Aura, changed my affiliate, and set up an account using my Japanese gmail account. Used my sister-in-law's address and phone number in Japan. Everything seemed fine... until I went to purchase a book. I suspect the problem was my credit card which is from a Canadian financial institution.

However, I did manage to get the Harry Potter series in Japanese from the Canadian Kobo site. It's a pleasure to read on the Kobo and will keep me busy for a while yet.

Hopefully, they will eventually get a better selection of Japanese books on the Canadian Kobo website. Right now the selection is extremely limited.

What would be ideal would be if my public library started offering books in Japanese. They offer a good selection of books in Chinese which is great, but none, besides language learning material, in Japanese the last time I looked.
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Old 02-02-2019, 05:45 PM   #3
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If you do end up getting some books in Japanese, you may want to have a look at this thread: https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=197828

It contains information on how to sideload a Japanese-English dictionary onto Kobo ereaders.
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Old 02-07-2019, 05:41 AM   #4
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I bought a Kobo Forma recently (in the U.S., from us.kobobooks.com) and logged into it with my Japanese Rakuten account, which has an American credit card on it, and was able to buy books on the Forma.

In my experience with using Japanese stores from overseas, some credit cards work and some don't, seemingly randomly. Rakuten Japan does have actual overseas-address support in their account system at least.

If you're just looking for something to try out, you might consider getting free novels from a web novel site like http://syosetu.com/
The site itself offers plain text and PDF file downloads, though I'd recommend using kepub conversion downloads through https://narou.nyanpass.jp/ (just change the format drop-down from "Epub 形式(Kindle以外)" to "KEpub形式 (Kobo用)")
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:28 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mrf View Post
I bought a Kobo Forma recently (in the U.S., from us.kobobooks.com) and logged into it with my Japanese Rakuten account, which has an American credit card on it, and was able to buy books on the Forma.

In my experience with using Japanese stores from overseas, some credit cards work and some don't, seemingly randomly. Rakuten Japan does have actual overseas-address support in their account system at least.
Good to know. May try again with a different credit card. Just out of curiosity, did you use romaji or katakana for the name on your account and did you use a Japanese address?
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Old 02-07-2019, 09:07 AM   #6
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Good to know. May try again with a different credit card. Just out of curiosity, did you use romaji or katakana for the name on your account and did you use a Japanese address?
Looking into how I have it setup, it seems I made an account on kobobooks.com and tied my older Japanese Rakuten ID (rakuten.co.jp) to it for login purposes, but kobobooks.com has its own independent credit card and billing address info. I used the same email address for both kobobooks.com and rakuten.co.jp.

I have two different purchase histories, one I can see on kobobook.com (books I got using the forma) and one I can see on rakuten.co.jp which is things I got via the books.rakuten.co.jp/e-book/ website -- but both sets of books sync to my forma.
So going through rakuten.co.jp may be an option if kobobooks.com isn't cooperating.

In my kobobooks.com account, my name is in full-width Roman letters -- I guess it rejected half-width.
For my address, 国 is set to 日本 and 都道府県/州/区 is set to 東京都, but I stuffed my actual American address into the 郵便番号 (I put zip code here), 郡市区(島) (I put my city & state here), and それ以降の住所 (I put my street address here).
The phone number box is left blank.
The credit card that's working is a Master Card.

On rakuten.co.jp, I just used the foreign-address option.

Last edited by mrf; 02-07-2019 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrf View Post
Looking into how I have it setup, it seems I made an account on kobobooks.com and tied my older Japanese Rakuten ID (rakuten.co.jp) to it for login purposes, but kobobooks.com has its own independent credit card and billing address info. I used the same email address for both kobobooks.com and rakuten.co.jp.

I have two different purchase histories, one I can see on kobobook.com (books I got using the forma) and one I can see on rakuten.co.jp which is things I got via the books.rakuten.co.jp/e-book/ website -- but both sets of books sync to my forma.
So going through rakuten.co.jp may be an option if kobobooks.com isn't cooperating.

In my kobobooks.com account, my name is in full-width Roman letters -- I guess it rejected half-width.
For my address, 国 is set to 日本 and 都道府県/州/区 is set to 東京都, but I stuffed my actual American address into the 郵便番号 (I put zip code here), 郡市区(島) (I put my city & state here), and それ以降の住所 (I put my street address here).
The phone number box is left blank.
The credit card that's working is a Master Card.

On rakuten.co.jp, I just used the foreign-address option.
Thanks so much for the detailed response. Will have to give it another go sometime in the near future.
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:36 PM   #8
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I did some experimenting here.

To my huge surprise, I was able to:
- use my previously created Kobo account to login to https://www.kobo.com/jp
- purchase a book - which, for some reason was free of charge, must have been some promo programme
- purchase another book, paid with an European debit card
- sync purchased books to both Kobo eink reader (Aura 1) and desktop app.

As far as I can tell, everything displays correctly on the device. I have tried to add those books to Calibre, but they look scrambled on the desktop. For what it's worth, the structure seems to be there (TOC, chapters), it's just the text that's wonky. I'm not sure if it's encoding, font or DRM after all. I have Apprentice Alf's plugins installed, so I'd expect the DRM not to be a factor here.

If someone is interested in playing with those epubs, let me know.
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:06 PM   #9
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Ha! Success!

Instead of dealing with kepub extracted from the desktop app, I've gone to https://www.kobo.com/jp/en/library, and for every book, I've downloaded acsm file. ADE processed those, and provided me with completely nice and working epubs. On top of that, I went to https://books.rakuten.co.jp and purchased two books there, paying with an EU card. Everything worked, and the books I've purchased there were also visible under "My books" on kobo.com.

This is really great!

Now, there's still this bug preventing those epubs to display correctly in ebook-viewer, but I'll just use some different viewer.
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:24 PM   #10
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As far as I can tell, everything displays correctly on the device. I have tried to add those books to Calibre, but they look scrambled on the desktop. For what it's worth, the structure seems to be there (TOC, chapters), it's just the text that's wonky. I'm not sure if it's encoding, font or DRM after all. I have Apprentice Alf's plugins installed, so I'd expect the DRM not to be a factor here.
Kobo uses their own DRM for purchased books. You need the Obok plugin from the Apprentice Alf package to deal with them.
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:48 PM   #11
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Kobo uses their own DRM for purchased books. You need the Obok plugin from the Apprentice Alf package to deal with them.
Yup, I have that installed. It should have deDRMed the book on import. Looks like it didn't - or maybe it was encoding/font. I looked at plugin preferences to see if I need to feed it some sort of key, but I haven't found any setting like that.

Anyway, that's no longer important, as ADE route works flawlessly. :D
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Old 02-10-2019, 07:16 PM   #12
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Yup, I have that installed. It should have deDRMed the book on import. Looks like it didn't ...
We're not allowed to provide detailed help with DRM removal but I hope it won't be against forum rules just to say that the Obok plugin doesn't work on import, like the other Alf plugin. You actually have to run it before selecting the book(s) you want to de-DRM.
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:01 PM   #13
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Heh, I've only now noticed that there are *two* plugins nowadays. Thanks for pointing that out. Plugin worked as expected and grabbed the books from the device.

The only puzzle to solve here is why only about half of the books added to the library maintained the "connection" to the books on the device. That is, Calibre is aware that the book is on the device, and there's a green checkmark in the leftmost column.
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:05 PM   #14
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...puzzle solved, it looks like the obok plugin has adjusted the titles ever so slightly. Matching the books across helped.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:04 PM   #15
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...puzzle solved, it looks like the obok plugin has adjusted the titles ever so slightly. Matching the books across helped.
You now know the the joy that can be yours when the publishers and/or retailers decide that putting subtitles, series information and ghod alone knows what else in the title field is a good idea.
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