U.S. consumer electronics giant Amazon on Monday began selling its digital Kindle Paperwhite reader in the Japanese market, where it is competing with devices such as the Kobo, the e-reader of the e-commerce company Rakuten.

The Kindle will sell in Japan for between 7,980 yen ($98) for its Wi-Fi version to 12,980 yen ($159) for the one with a 3G cell phone connection.

With a six-inch screen, the Kindle Paperwhite has more than 50,000 novels available for its Japanese version, which has been adapted to reproduce the language's ideograms vertically.

Amazon began on Monday shipping units pre-ordered by Japanese customers via its Web page, while starting on Tuesday the device will also be available in certain major department stores.

The price of the Kindle in Japan has been established to compete with other similar devices, such as the Kobo line, which hit the market in early October selling for about 6,980 yen ($85), and the Lideo model by the BookLive group, which costs 8,480 yen ($103).

Experts say that the e-book market is still in its initial phase in Japan, which with 128 million citizens is one of the largest publishing markets in the world, and it is expected that the market here will experience a significant expansion in the next few years. EFE