Some small bookstores are working to distinguish themselves in the retail book industry, which is struggling due to a decline in publishing and the rising presence of electronic books.
The number of bookstores nationwide fell from 17,911 in fiscal 2006 to 14,098 in fiscal 2016, according to the Tokyo-based Japan Publishing Organization For Information Infrastructure Development (JPO), which is funded by organizations related to publishing.
However, sales floor space has increased. The JPO believes this means that more and more small and midsize bookstores have closed.
The market for publications has been also shrinking. Estimated sales of paper publications in 2016 fell 3.4 percent from the year before to about ¥1.47 trillion, marking the 12th straight annual decrease, according to the Tokyo-based Research Institute for Publications.
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