Rose FoxAndrew AlbaneseThis week, Kobo learns to say, “konnichiwa,” and Nook moves into the tablet market.

Within weeks of rolling out its new tablet, Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten has acquired Kobo for a hefty $315 million, Andrew Albanese reports. Rakuten is an international e-commerce company with holdings in everything from travel to banking, media and online marketing. “Kobo may be behind Amazon in the e-book game in the U.S., but the world is its oyster,” Albanese said. “It has recent initiatives in Germany, U.K. and the rest of Europe, and now there will be a Japanese-language Kobo e-book store in early 2012. Just another thing to watch as the e-book game heats up.” For further evidence, Albanese details Barnes & Noble’s announcement of its new Nook Tablet, a 7-inch reading and media device, priced at $249.

In her regular rundown on the latest PW review, Rose Fox swoons over the coming romance issue, including a Q&A with author J.H. Trumble, who talks about how she got into the heads of her gay, teenage male protagonists when writing Don’t Let Me Go. In nonfiction, there’s a standout review of Connie Rice’s memoir, Power Concedes Nothing, which describes her strange and remarkable journey from suing the LAPD to working with cops to fight gang violence.

CCC’s Chris Kenneally adds his own reporting this week, to complement PW’s PubWest Conference 2011 coverage. He offers an account of the opening keynote from B&N Chairman Len Riggio, who noted how technology is shaping the publishing industry’s future. “Media and technology have become one,” Riggio said, and he assured his audience of several hundred independent publishers that, “the enormity of our investment in technology serves you as well.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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