Factbook

A Dynamic Compendium of Interesting Japanese Literary and Publishing Facts
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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
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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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    Vast majority of Japanese publishing houses located in Tokyo[UPDATED: 6-23-2017]

    There are approximately 3,700 publishing companies in Japan, of which 80 percent are based in Tokyo. The majority: 60 percent employ less than 10 people. The largest 500 publishers account for more than 90 percent of book sales.
    Vast majority of Japanese publishing houses located in Tokyo Posted by Richard Nathan
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    Japanese newspaper publishers support creative writing and award literary prizes[UPDATED: 5-31-2017]

    Japanese newspaper publishers award literary prizes, the most prestigious of which is the Yomiuri Prize for Literature. Other notable prizes include the Mainichi Publishing Prize and the Osaragi Jiro Prize awarded by the Asahi Newspaper. Most major Japanese newspapers also regularly publish serialized fiction.
    Japanese newspaper publishers support creative writing and award literary prizes Posted by Richard Nathan