bookstore Morioka in Ginza Tokyo single book single room
Morioka bookstore in Ginza, Tokyo.

How many books do you read in a week? No, I’m not asking the number of books you can read in seven-day time, but the ones you do actually read. Minus the times when you give in to temptation and scroll through your Facebook, or the other times when you prefer a movie adaptation over the original novel.

I’ll go first. It takes me two weeks to finish a 300-page book. The most recents ones are Unpolished Gem by Alice Pung, and And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie – a light read, indeed. I’d love to read more, but my attention span is limited, and my willpower has been used up to fuel school assignments and freelance works.

That’s why I love the idea initiated by the bookstore Morioka in Ginza, Tokyo: They only sell one title per week, then swap to another title the week after.

The idea is simple, but its power is similar to the power of focus. During that one week, several book talks would be held for the author to discuss their work with the readers. The author has more opportunity to interact and listen to the market’s need, while the readers have more trust in the book they purchase.

They know it because the bookstore has chosen quality over quantity, by focusing in one single readworthy book, rather than one hundred bestsellers.

The owner of Morioka bookstore, Yoshiyuki Mirioka, believed this focus would help raise the pleasure of reading to a whole new level. That’s why he opened this single-book store in May 2015, on the ground floor of the historical Suzuki Building in Tokyo.

Even though this experiment seems more of an aesthetic pursuit than a profitable business model, it’s still a bright, nice idea to encourage deep-reading in general, and to bring readers closer to the author and the book.

Trinh Le


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