Factbook

A Dynamic Compendium of Interesting Japanese Literary and Publishing Facts
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    Books and publications worth US$5.4 billion are sold every year in Japan[UPDATED: 10-23-2017]

    According to the International Publishers Association (IPA), the Japanese market for books and publications, the fourth-largest in the world, has annual sales of US$5.4 billion.  

    Despite the overall size and hundreds of millions of books being bought every year in print and digital formats, the market like Japan’s population is shrinking at a rate of 2 percent.  

    Nevertheless, Japan, and Tokyo in particular, still have a very large number of bookstores. More, in fact than the United States, the world’s largest book market, on a per capita basis. However according to the IPA, Japan, despite being one of the world’s largest markets, actually publishes relatively few books per capita (623 per million people) when compared to other countries.  

    These factors amplify the problems thousands of Japan’s publishers, who have traditionally focused almost exclusively on the domestic market, are facing. Unlike other countries where publishers have faced similar issues, there has been limited industry consolidation in Japan.
    Books and publications worth US$5.4 billion are sold every year in Japan Posted by Richard Nathan
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    One bookstore in Tokyo stocks & sells only one book at a time[UPDATED: 8-15-2017]

    Morioka Shoten located in Ginza in Tokyo, has a unique merchandising strategy. It only sells one book title at a time despite around 80,000 new books being published every year in Japan. The shop, which opened in May 2015, has a single book strategy of stocking and selling only one title. It selects one book each week to sell.

    The bookstore promotes itself with the slogan and branding statement: “Morioka Shoten is a bookstore with a single book, available at a time, for six days. Morioka Shoten is a bookstore with a single room with an event to gather every night. Morioka a single room with a single book”.  

    The authors (if still alive) and editors of the promoted titles are apparently encouraged to ‘hang out’ in the store as much as possible during a book’s six-day exclusive promotional run.  

    The bookshop, which is extremely small, has selected titles such as; The True Deceiver, by the Finnish author Tove Jansson , and Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales for its weekly exclusive and highly focused promotion.
    One bookstore in Tokyo stocks & sells only one book at a time Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Book prices in Japan fixed[UPDATED: 6-24-2017]

    Despite Japan’s 1953 Anti-Monopoly Law, books published in Japan are still sold at fixed prices, as was the case before the Second World War. The Anti-Monopoly Law has an exception for Publications. Under the Resale Price Maintenance System publications, including books, must be sold across Japan at a fixed price. According to the industry “this enables the distribution of a wide variety of titles in small volumes and allows for royalties to be paid on books with small initial print runs”. It has, however, created opportunities for secondhand booksellers like Book-Off, that sell titles that are technically secondhand, but are in almost new condition. Book-Off, founded in 1991, has more than 1,000 stores and annual sales of 52 billion yen. Other opportunists exploit Amazon Marketplace. In Japan books are not exempt from Consumption (sales) Tax, as is the case in some countries. However, e-books sold into Japan by international (non-Japan-based) retailers are exempt from this tax.
    Book prices in Japan fixed Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Japan has 14,000 bookshops, and more bookshops per capita than the United States[UPDATED: 5-31-2017]

    At pixel time Japan had 14,000 bookshops, according to the Japan Book Publishers Association (JPA) of which 4,000 belong to the Japan Booksellers Federation. Tokyo has a very large number of bookstores with a ratio of one for every 1.3 square kilometers. In addition, Tokyo also boasts 630 secondhand bookstores. However, in the 1990s there were more than 20,000 bookstores in Japan. The number of independent bookstores, like in many countries, has been in decline. Today, there are approximately 6,100 people per bookstore in Tokyo compared to a national average of around 7,700. This is a much higher per capital ratio than in the United States (27,350), the United Kingdom (15,000) and South Korea (13,300).
    Japan has 14,000 bookshops, and more bookshops per capita than the United States Posted by Koji Chikatani
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    7-Eleven competes with Amazon in Japan for online book sales[UPDATED: 5-7-2017]

    The major online book retailers in Japan include Amazon, as in most countries, but Seven & I (which runs and owns the famous international convenience store chain 7-Eleven) is also a major online book retailer as are Kinokuniya, Bunkyodo, Junkodo and Rakuten Books, the owner of Kobo, the eReading device and service that competes directly with the Amazon Kindle.
    7-Eleven competes with Amazon in Japan for online book sales Posted by Richard Nathan
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    The number of bookstores in Japan is 60% higher than the typical print run of a newly published title[UPDATED: 5-7-2017]

    For newly published titles to be stocked at all bookstores in Japan, initial print runs of more than 16,000 are required. However, most new books have print runs of less than 10,000. However, the number of store has fallen by almost 40 percent since the 1990s.
    The number of bookstores in Japan is 60% higher than the typical print run of a newly published title Posted by Koji Chikatani