To Fight the Online Market, A Bookshop in Japan Has Bought Nearly the Entire First Run of Haruki Murakami’s New Book

“This is not an experiment but our new business with certain calculated risk.”

In Japan, Haruki Murakami has a new book of nonfiction coming out called Novelist As a Vocation—a collection of writing that he did for the literary magazine Monkey about life as a professional writer. Being the mega literary celebrity that he is, anything with Murakami’s name on it is bound to sell a bajillion copies (just like the recent English translation of his first two novels Wind/Pinball has), but more and more, the bulk of those sales have come from online sales—primarily on Amazon.

In an attempt to combat Amazon’s influence on sales of Murakami’s new release, the Kinokuniya bookstore chain in Japan has bought up 90% of Novelist As a Vocation’s first pressing (90,000 copies), and plans to sell the books themselves, as well as distribute them wholesale to other brick and mortar stores.

Perhaps most interestingly of all, Kinokuniya isn’t pretending to do this just for the press or for the good will of helping out smaller bookstores, but because they view it as a profitable business strategy for perpetually fighting the online market. As quoted in The Guardian, Kinokuniya board member Hitoshi Fujimoto explained that the goal is “to complete fulfilment to the bookstores and improvement of margin (terms of sales).” He added, “This is not an experiment but our new business with certain calculated risk.”

Murakami has neither endorsed nor condemned the move, but it kind of seems like something he would write about, doesn’t it? At least maybe this would be the story in the beginning, but then something bad would happen, and then things would deteriorate in a postmodern way before we ultimately end up questioning whether or not any of it actually ever happened in the first place.

(via The Guardian)


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