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2018.05.18 Amazon Distributes Free Books for World Book and Copyright Day
April 23 is designated by UNESCO as World Book and Copyright Day. For this day, various events related to books and reading take place around the world. To celebrate, e-book retail giant Amazon this year offered nine of their top-selling English-translated works free to American readers between April 17 and 24. These could be downloaded to read on Amazon’s Kindle app or device.

Amazon's dedicated World Book and Copyright Day event webpage featured a real-time count of the total pages read for the nine books, giving an indication of the number of readers. Among the nine works were two translations from Japanese. One was "The Great Passage," a novel by Shion Miura; the other was "A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea," an autobiography by Masaji Ishikawa who “returned” to North Korea with his Korean father in 1960. The event page introduces the books' settings, genres, authors and translators.

AmazonCrossing, which presented the reading opportunity, is a publishing imprint under Amazon Publishing that handles translated texts. It was established in 2010 to publish English translations of high-quality books from around the world, with the goal of making them available to a broad readership across borders, cultures and language barriers. The nine books are a line-up of award-winning original books and authors as well as award-winning translators. Currently, AmazonCrossing undertakes largely English translations, but we may see similar services for Japan if there is strong demand in the future. 

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