Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya snaps up almost all copies of Haruki Murakami’s new book

Haruki Murakami

Novelist Haruki Murakami.

(Takehito Kudo / AP)

Japanese fans of Haruki Murakami will probably have to go to an actual bookstore to get the author’s new essay collection. The retail chain Books Kinokuniya is buying 90% of the first print run of “Novelist as a Vocation," reports the Asahi Shimbun.

The move is intended as a strike against online retailers, who will only receive 5,000 copies of the 100,000 books being released next month. Ninety-thousand copies will be sold at Kinokuniya stores across Japan, as well as other bookstores in the country.

A representative of Kinokuniya told the Asahi Shimbun: “The reality of the industry today is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for brick-and-mortar bookstores to purchase copies of high-profile new books. To rival online book retailers, bookstores across the country now need to join hands in efforts to reinvigorate the conventional book distribution market.”

The Guardian reports that despite, the chain’s move, “Novelist as a Vocation” is currently No. 5 on Amazon Japan’s bestseller list. It’s unclear how Murakami feels about Kinokuniya’s purchase; the Huffington Post notes that the author’s official Facebook page posted links to media reports about the deal, without comment from Murakami. (The author did “like” the posts, however.)


There’s no word yet on a possible English translation of the book, or whether any of the Japanese-language copies will be available in America. Kinokuniya has 10 retail stores in the U.S., including locations in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Costa Mesa.


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