On the face of it, the economics of opening a bookstore where you only stock one book doesn’t make sense. How an earth do you make enough money to stay in operation?
However, this is exactly the unorthodox path Japanese bookseller Yoshiyuki Morioka has taken, with his tiny shop located in Ginza, Tokyo’s luxury shopping district.
Since launching the store in May 2015, Morioka has stocked multiple copies of only one title per week.
The store has obviously gained quite a lot of attention for the rather unique concept. When interviewed, Morioka suggests that the store acts as a ‘suggested reading’ service – you just go in and pick up the book chosen for the week, relieving yourself of the burden of choice.
Morioka said the idea came to him after organising several book-launch events at his old bookstore.
“Before opening this bookstore in Ginza, I had been running another one in Kayabacho for 10 years,” he said. “There, I had around 200 books as stock, and used to organise several book launches per year. During such events, a lot of people visited the store for the sake of a single book.
As a result of this experience, Morioka anticipated that a bookstore could actually work with only one book at a time.
Selected books so far include: The True Deceiver by Finnish author Tove Jansson, and Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen.
Japanese titles have included: Tsukiyo To(Moon Night and Glasses) by Mimei Ogawa, and Karachi No Moto (Source of Form) by Akito Akagi and Fish-Man, a photo anthology by Maseru Tatsuki.
Although it isn’t clear how Morioka goes about choosing the books, there is no denying his success. He claims to have sold over 2,000 books since May 2015.
“The concept of this bookstore seems to have gained the sympathy of a lot of people, and I receive a number of guests from all over the globe,” he said.