The Book Towers of Japan

In yesterday’s Critical Linking, I included the just finalized for Haruki Murakami’s new novel: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage. This reminded me of a story I heard about the Japanese release of his last novel, 1Q84, so I dug around a little to see if I remembered correctly.

Here’s what I found, in 2009 the Tokyo bookstore Sanseido changed its name to “Books Haruki Murakami” for one day to commemorate (and promote) the release of 1Q84 (and smartly so: 1Q84 sold more than 1 million copies in Japan in its first month after release).

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And they did something else. Japanese bookstores expected to sell so many copies that they had unprecedented numbers of copies on hand. So the staff at Sanseido built a tawaa tsumi, or “book tower,” with all of the copies. Now this isn’t something particularly new, but ever since book towers have been something of a trend in Japanese bookstores.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a picture of the original 1Q84 tower that started the trend, but here are some examples of the book towers of Japan. What do you think, something bookstores in other countries should be trying?

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