Factbook

A Dynamic Compendium of Interesting Japanese Literary and Publishing Facts
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    The two best-known living Japanese authors[UPDATED: 1-10-2018]

    Outside Japan, in most of the world, the two best-known living Japanese authors are probably currently Haruki Murakami who published his first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, in 1979, in the June issue of Gunzo, a Japanese literary magazine; and Banana Yoshimoto whose first novel, Kitchen was published in Japan in 1988 and initially internationally in Italian. She has now been published in 36 different languages. 

    However, Keigo Higashino, the brilliant Japanese crime fiction writer, is the most famous and most read Japanese author in China, where he regularly heads the lists of bestselling authors. Currently, outside China and Japan he is much less well-known.  
    The two best-known living Japanese authors Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Japan is the world’s fourth-largest publishing market[UPDATED: 12-27-2017]

    According to the International Publishers Association (IPA), Japan’s publishing market is the fourth-largest in the world, making it a very large domestic business sector, as publishing is a major global business.  

    The sector, however, is in fact underweight relative to other nations, as Japan’s overall economy is the world’s third-largest.  

    In comparison, for example, Japan is the second-largest country market for recorded music (Japanese people still buy a lot of CDs). Music, however, is a smaller overall market worldwide.  

    Not only is the Japanese publishing market underweight, it is shrinking and has been for two decades. In stark contrast to Japan, all the other markets in the global top 5 are either stable or growing.  

    China, is ranked number 2 in the world in terms of publishing market size, and like its overall economy, is growing the most rapidly at 9 percent. In fact, it is now almost three times the size of the Japanese market for books and publications.  

    The three other leading markets, however, are all stagnant experiencing zero overall growth; the United States the largest, Germany the third-largest, and France the firth largest, as measured by the IPA in its Global Publishing Monitor 2014 report.  

    The Japanese market is 76 percent the size of the German market, and 28 percent larger than the French market, while the United States’ market is five times bigger than Japan, according to the IPA.

    However, other IPA reports and analysis rank the markets differently including the United Kingdom in the top five and Japan as the firth not the fourth largest domestic market.
    Japan is the world’s fourth-largest publishing market Posted by Richard Nathan
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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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    Japan’s seven largest publishers collectively are 80% the size of the world’s largest[UPDATED: 12-10-2017]

    According to the 2017 Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry, produced by BookMap, Japan’s seven largest publishers collectively are 80% the size of the world’s largest, Pearson.


    Japan’s seven largest publishers, measured by revenue, included in the 2017 Global Ranking of the Publishing Industry, produced by BookMap, are Shueisha, Kodansha, Kadokawa, Shogakukan, Gakken, Bungeishunju, and Shinchosha.


    The BookMap analysis lists 50 of the world’s largest publishers by turnover, but excludes publishers from China in its ranking.
    Japan’s seven largest publishers collectively are 80% the size of the world’s largest Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Japan’s publishers not ranked as global players[UPDATED: 12-10-2017]

    No Japanese publisher features in the ranking of the top ten publishers by revenue produced by the International Publishers Association (IPA). Despite Japan being the world’s 4th largest publishing market, according to the IPA.


    Publishers from all of the largest five country markets, except Japan, appear in the IPA’s top ten ranking, 4 from the United States, 2 from China, 2 from the United Kingdom and one for Germany.


    Pearson, headquartered in London, is ranked as the world’s largest and is more than twice the size of the three largest Japanese publishers combined.


    Japan’s largest publishers are Shueisha, Kodansha and Kadokawa, which were founded in 1925, 1938 and 1945 respectively. They publish thousands of new books every year as well as manga and other publications.
    Japan’s publishers not ranked as global players Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Digital developments forced Japan to update its copyright legislation in 2014[UPDATED: 12-4-2017]

    Japanese copyright law was updated in 2014 under the Revised Copyright Act.

    Publishing rights, which have traditionally been limited in Japan to print or paper medium publications, were extended to cover e-books and the Internet for the first time under the new Act.  

    The new Act came into force in January 2015, 146 years after Japan’s first copyright legislation in 1869.

    The new Act covers: the right of publication; as well as the right to terminate the right of publication; the obligation to publish or transmit online within a six-month period of receipt of manuscript, and other updates required for electronic publishing.
    Digital developments forced Japan to update its copyright legislation in 2014 Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Japan is ranked 20th worldwide in terms of output per person of new books and new editions[UPDATED: 12-4-2017]

    In terms of new title publication per capita, the United Kingdom, which is a major international exporter of books and publications, leads the world with the highest ratio of 2,875 new titles published per million inhabitants.

    Japan, which has a larger domestic market than the United Kingdom (40 percent larger) and is the world’s fourth largest domestic market for books and publications, is ranked 20th with a ratio of 613 new titles or new editions per million people, according to the International Publishers Association (IPA)

    Japan is significantly behind the United States (56 percent), when measured using this IPA international benchmark. The United States, which publishes 959 titles per million people, is ranked 12th -despite being the world’s largest market for books and publications, five times larger than the Japanese market, according to the IPA’s Global Publishing Monitor 2014.

    Nevertheless, despite Japan having a much smaller overall market than China, the world’s second largest market, publishes more new books per head than China, which has a ratio of 325 and is ranked 25th in the world on this measure. However, Japan is ranked behind Taiwan 1,831, Korea 795 and Russia 699 when measured using this ratio. 

    The United Kingdom’s figures are exaggerated by its large number of academic presses that target libraries around the world and educational publishers that often publish language learning series with multiple components each of which are often counted as individual titles despite being associated with a textbook. Its domestic market is 60% the size of Japan’s.
    Japan is ranked 20th worldwide in terms of output per person of new books and new editions Posted by Richard Nathan
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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