Contactless Book Browsing Service Popular in Japan

Economy

Tokyo, Nov. 16 (Jiji Press)--A service enabling people to browse books at bookstores using smartphones without touching them is gaining popularity in Japan.

The service, aimed at boosting sales by helping people find the joy of looking for books online at bookstores, is also seen as an effective measure to reduce the risk of novel coronavirus infection.

The initiative was launched in October jointly by Tokyo-based startup Flier Inc., which operates a website to distribute summaries of books, and Nippon Shuppan Hanbai Inc., Japan's largest book brokerage firm. It will be available until the end of March next year at some 300 bookstores in 36 of Japan's 47 prefectures.

By scanning a quick response, or QR, code on ads for books at stores with their smartphones, users of the service can read a roughly 4,000-character summary of the advertised title on the screen of their handsets. A total of 30 business-related books are covered in the service. "We want to create opportunities for boosting sales of books at bookstores," a Flier official said.

A flagship outlet of Tsutaya Books Co. in the central Japan city of Shizuoka saw a jump in sales after it set up a special section for the contactless browsing service, with sales of one title almost trebling. "I believe many people became interested in reading (the whole book) after being pulled in by the summaries," Kenichi Miyagawa, the manager of the store, said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press