Although manga make up a huge percentage of many large publishers’ revenues in Japan, there’s still no disputing that Japanese are a nation of voracious readers. The number of new book titles, including foreign translations, at one time was twice that of the United States — although the rising percentage of unsold copies has cut into their revenues.
Writing in the monthly magazine Shincho 45 (July) , Yuzo Tsubouchi despairs over the closing of bookshops with the title, “It’s not that books aren’t selling; it’s that you can’t buy them.”
Tsubouchi has observed a correlation between his own life and books that have occurred in years ending in the number 7. It was in 1977, for example, that while cramming for university entrance examinations he became truly familiar with Jimbocho, Tokyo’s old university area still famous for its specialty bookstores.
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