Japan-based Media Do Holdings will be investing $2.8 million towards distributed ledger technology for the distribution of its e-books.
According to a May 17 article in the Nikkei newspaper, Media Do Holdings plans to invest 300 million yen — roughly $2.8 million at the time of writing — into developing a distributed ledger for the company’s e-books for the next two years starting in late 2020.
The company cited that being able to have a reliable transaction history via such a ledger for e-books makes it possible to sell used copies, and to return royalties to both publishers and writers. Media Do plans to first introduce the distributed ledger technology to My Anime List, an anime and manga social networking website and one of its holdings.
Media Do Holdings President Kyoji Fujita said:
The strength of e-books lies in the convenience of being able to purchase and use them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The situation caused by the coronavirus will allow us to recognize the value of e-books and increase their use.
E-book sales up during pandemic
The Japanese e-book distributor currently works with over 2,000 publishers and 150 online bookstores. Even prior to stay-at-home and remote working recommendations, the company reported $600 million in e-book sales for the fiscal year ending February 2020.
Media Do reported a 20% year-on-year increase in e-book sales in April possibly due to bookstore and school closures caused by the recent nationwide state of emergency in Japan due to COVID-19.
Though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe removed such restrictions for most of the country last week, major cities like Tokyo are still under a state of emergency, in effect since April 16.
Hisashi Oki at Cointelegraph Japan contributed to this article.