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2016.03.15 Innovation for the existing publishing distribution: Seikosha’s activity
A bookstore in Kyoto which opened in late November 2015 has attracted public attention. The bookstore’s name is Seikosha. It is a small bookstore whose floor space is less than 66 square meters. This bookstore doesn’t make agreements with publishing agencies, and stocks up on books from publication company for cash.

Mr. Horibe, the president of Seikosha, served as a store manager in the most famous bookstore in the Kansai area for 13 years. However, he created his own business in the form of his ideal bookstore. He says that he decided to purchase books directly from publishing companies in order to retain the image he sought for his bookstore.

The diminishing rate of bookstores in Japan reached a peak, but Mr. Horibe pointed out a problem in the existing book distribution system in Japan. In the Japanese publishing industry, it is common that publishing agencies have books produced by publication companies distributed to bookstores throughout the country.However, bookstores can receive only 20% of the proceeds from the book sales, because commission charges arise when bookstores ask publishing agencies for their services.

He also says that small bookstores can’t choose what the publishing agencies will pick, therefore the bookstores elect to sell more profitable sundries or do things like build a café area because books bring in marginal profits.

Mr. Horiba points out that one of the reasons why Seikosha can run its bookstore includes a change in the publisher’s business model. Previously, the publishing industry obtained profits by producing a lot of best-selling books and distributing them to bookstores throughout the country through publishing agencies.On the other hand, he also says that the current market has changed into a new form which the number of sales volume could be only between 3,000 to 5,000 in succeeding in business.

In addition, he says that attractive and interesting books can become profitable even if publishers circulate a small number of them, so publishers have less need for distributing books across the country and they could make deals with bookstores directly.

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