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2018.04.05 Innovative Approaches to Coexistence of New and Used Book Markets
Purchasing and selling used books is now easier than ever due to various internet platforms. For publishers and bookstores which earn a profit through sales of new books, used book dealers are significant competitors. However, innovative approaches to dealing in secondhand books may also bring benefits to the publishing industry. 

Value Books is a bookstore specializing in the sale of used books through online shopping sites such as Amazon. In 2017, to show its support for publishers of quality books, the company launched the Value Books Ecosystem, a project which returns 33% of its revenue from the sale of used books published by partnered publishers to the same publisher. At this point, four publishers have signed on, with this number hopefully increasing. Value Books purchases used books from consumers depending on their resell potential. Partnerships are considered for publishers which produce books that resell well due to their high quality content. 

Another innovative platform for used book transactions, "Shirushi (Marked) Bookstore," is a smartphone app founded by comedian and picture-book author Akihiro Nishino. Going against the usual sales model of used books, its main idea is to sell "marked" books—books with handwritten notes and memos added by the original reader. It aims to recognize the "added value" in being able to trace the thinking pattern of the book's previous owner, who may or may not be someone famous. Some of these books are traded at premium prices. The platform boosts the sales of new books, too, with the option to purchase the book new in case the buyer misses out on the one-of-a-kind "shirushi book." The Shirushi Bookstore model may well be useful as a new way of advertising books.

Compared to a few decades ago, we live in an age where it is difficult to sell paper-based books due to reasons including the advent of electronic books, a declining consumer population, and an increase in forms of entertainment other than reading books. Nevertheless, if fresh approaches to selling used books lead to publishers publishing better quality books and books appealing to a broader audience, a successful coexistence of new and used book markets may be possible. 

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