DNP, Kodansha, Shogakukan, Shueisha Acquire 29% of Bookoff
posted on by Egan Loo
Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) and three of the largest Japanese publishers — Kodansha, Shogakukan, and Shueisha — have announced on Wednesday that they are acquiring a 28.9% voting stake in the Bookoff Corporation, Japan's largest used bookstore chain. DNP will acquire 6.60% of Bookoff, while Maruzen (a regular bookstore chain owned by DNP) will have 5.57%. Kodansha, Shogakukan, and Shueisha will each have a 4.29% stake. The Toshokan Ryūtsū Center will have another 3.86%.
The publishers, as well as comic authors and writers, have long complained that the growing used-book market has been affecting new book sales. As in the United States and other countries, the first-sale doctrine protects the consumers' right to resell used books and other goods without paying additional fees to the copyright holders in Japan. Last spring, Bookoff reportedly offered to pay 100 million yen (about US$1 million) to the Copyright Network for Comic Authors in the 21st Century, The Japan Writers' Association, and other creators' associations.
The first Bookoff store opened in Kanagawa Prefecture south of Tokyo in 1990. The company now runs 1,040 stores, including 10 overseas stores in the United States, France, Canada, and South Korea. In the fiscal year ending in March of 2008, the company had sales of 50.4 billion yen (US$522 million).
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