Japanese bookshop stocks only one book at a time

Japanese Bookstore

A story from The Guardian on a bookstore in Japan that’s hit upon a novel approach to helping people choose what to read next.

“This bookstore that sells only one book could also be described as ‘a bookstore that organises an exhibition derived from a single book’. For instance, when selling a book on flowers, in the store could be exhibited a flower that actually appears in the book. Also, I ask the authors and editors to be at the bookstore for as much time as possible. This is an attempt to make the two-dimensional book into three-dimensional ambience and experience. I believe that the customers, or readers, should feel as though they are entering ‘inside a book’.”

This reminded me of ‘the one book booklist’ I introduced when I taught at the University of Brighton. Noting that students weren’t engaging with the provided booklist, and didn’t really seem to be reading at all, I discarded it and asked them all to read just one book: The Tipping Point.

After Christmas most came back not only having read it, but having lost their copy to their parents because they’d spent the holidays talking about it, and could I recommend something else for them to read, please?

By the end of the course, they’d read most of the stuff on the original list without even being given it.

Sometimes you have to tackle a problem from a slightly different angle.

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