Bookstore Maruzen

Catalytic Role of a Major Bookstore in National Book Culture:
Case Study of Maruzen Company, Ltd.

  The study of printed book culture in all its aspects contributes important perspectives about the role of books in the process of communication that help to explain how modern societies develop and flourish. Some researchers examine the long-term impact of the printing invention in the seventh century on social, cultural, and economic development in China and later in Japan. Other researchers study the effect of Europe's movable type printing invention in the fifteenth century as a key "agent" in Europe's economic, political, and social development. Still others are looking at the impact of mass publication on the movement of ideas around the world. Some are not interested directly in book culture or publishing, but are looking at the impact that printing had on making European societies more open. A few scholars are examining printed book publishing culture in a social context. There are numerous other areas being studied that focus on specific features of book publishing culture. In spite of this, there are not many researchers looking at how published books and the ideas contained in them move from the writer to the book publisher and, finally, to the intended recipient, the reader. This is the process of distribution and its most common end point, the bookstore, where the book and reader meet. We decided to concentrate on bookstores because distribution is one area of the publishing process that has not been given much academic attention.[1]

This essay explains how we are examining the role of specific major bookstores in the creation and running of national book cultures. Our examination shows that it is also possible that certain major bookstores played a catalytic role in building and enhancing the social, cultural, political, and economic strength of the country where they are located and operate.

To determine if our assumption is correct, our...