Factbook

A Dynamic Compendium of Interesting Japanese Literary and Publishing Facts
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    90% of Japanese people under the age of 30 still read books[UPDATED: 12-27-2017]

    According to consumer surveys, despite what many might believe, the vast majority of Japanese people still read books, including people under the age of 30. However, 10 percent of Japanese people under the age of 30 say that currently they never read books.

    The most popular genre amongst both men and women in Japan who buy books are mysteries and crime fiction, according to the research conducted by DIMS DRIVE, which monitors a panel of 9,566 individuals for its surveys.  

    43 percent of those surveyed, who read a book every three months, buy books from internet sites including Amazon, but 80 percent of these regular book buyers still buy books from bricks and mortar bookstores.  

    77 percent of whose who purchase books online unsurprisingly read online reviews before deciding which books to buy.

    The three most important factors in book selection by Japanese consumers are content (71 percent) author (55 percent) and price (39 percent).
    90% of Japanese people under the age of 30 still read books Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Over a billion books are distributed in Japan every year[UPDATED: 9-23-2017]

    Over a billion copies of books are distributed in Japan every year, according to the Shuppan Nenkan (Publishing Yearbook). However, only 60% (around 640 million copies) of them are actually bought. 

    The overall Japanese book market, the world’s fourth-largest, peaked over 20 years ago in 1996, and has been steadily declining since. Despite this long term overall market shrinkage, sales of e-books, which are dominated by comic books (mostly manga), are steadily increasing. In 2016, for example, the e-book market increased by just under 15 percent.  

    In some countries e-book sales have now peaked or are in decline after a long period of increase while the market for print books has stabilized or is showing the first signs of recovery in these countries. Publishers have had to adopt new strategies, and also books printed on paper have become fashionable and desirable again.  

    This is not the case in Japan, which is still experiencing double-digit e-book growth and declining print sales. The pace of growth still significant. However, it is slowing (it was 30% in 2014, for example), and is forecast to remain positive.
    Over a billion books are distributed in Japan every year Posted by Richard Nathan
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    China buying more Japanese books and publications[UPDATED: 8-14-2017]

    Japan’s book exports to China have grown significantly since 2001, when as a condition of joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), China was required to lift restrictions on the importation of books and publications.

    Despite rapidly growing interest in Japanese novels, and Japanese Crime Fiction in particular, China is still, however, only the fourth largest importer of Japanese books behind the United States, Taiwan and South Korea.

    Books by popular Japanese authors such as Higashino Keigo, who had 3 titles amongst the top 5 bestselling books in China in June 2017 (Miracles of the Namiya General Store, Journey Under the Midnight Sun, and The Devotion of Suspect X), are generally published in translation under license and not imported.

    Importation is increasing, but China still only imports half the amount of physical books as Taiwan and only slightly more than Hong Kong. 

    Collectively so-called Greater China, with its massive population and attractive markets that Japanese companies are targeting for growth, now accounts for 29 percent of Japanese book exports.

    Japanese book exports, are said to, follow Japanese business expansion as demand increases in countries where Japanese companies send and post their staff. China at 8 percent is followed by Thailand in the rankings with 6 percent, and subsequently the United Kingdom and the Philippines, both with around 4 percent, and then Australia and Canada making up the top ten export markets for Japanese publications.    
    China buying more Japanese books and publications Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Most frequently requested novel at Peking University library in 2016 was a translated Japanese crime fiction title[UPDATED: 7-3-2017]

    In 2016, a novel by the Japanese crime-writer Keigo Higashino, Mysterious Night, was the third most frequently borrowed book at Peking University Library.

    According to an analysis by the library, only two books, both non-fiction academic related titles, an introduction to psychology and an account of mass hysteria in 18th Century China, were borrowed more often by students at the university, which is considered one of China’s most prestigious and most difficult to gain entry to.  

    Higashino also had the two most requested and reserved books at Peking University Library, The Miracle in the Grocery Store, and Journey Under the Midnight Sun. The only other novel in the top ten was Animal Farm, by George Orwell (1903-1950), the seventh most borrowed book at the library.    
    Most frequently requested novel at Peking University library in 2016 was a translated Japanese crime fiction title Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Japanese people spend over 4 hours per week reading[UPDATED: 5-31-2017]

    Japanese people spend over 4 hours per week reading.  This is only about half the time of Indians who are the world’s biggest bookworms, according to international surveys. The typical Japanese book buyer purchases 5.7 book per year and Japan has one of the world’s highest literacy rates.
    Japanese people spend over 4 hours per week reading Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Japanese boys outscore girls on international literary benchmark tests[UPDATED: 5-31-2017]

    Japanese students score extremely highly on international literacy benchmark tests (540 compared with an average 497 amongst OECD nations) and unusually boys in Japan outscore girls by one percentage point on these tests, while in other countries girls generally outscore boys.
    Japanese boys outscore girls on international literary benchmark tests Posted by Richard Nathan