Industry Notes: Kinokuniya Partners With PRH on Ebooks; ‘Scribner Building’ Acquired

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A new partnership with Penguin Random House allows Kinokuniya consumers to compare English and Japanese ebook editions. And a building in which Hemingway once was printed has been bought in New York.

The San Francisco location of Kinokuniya’s physical bookstore chain at Japan Center mall was the first to open in the States, in 1969. The new partnership with Penguin Random House takes the publishers’ English ebook list into the company’s home market online in Japan. Image: Kinokuniya

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘For Customers Who are Studying English’

Today (April 5), bookstore leader Kinokuniya Company begins selling Penguin Random House ebooks to consumers in the latest of several partnerships the Japanese company has arranged for digital content.

In other instances, the partnerships have provided academic ebook offerings from overseas publishers.

In this case, ebook editions of PRH’s trade front- and backlist titles are made available to customers through the Kinokuniya’s Kinoppy Ebooks service.

In media messaging from its London offices in New Broad Street, Konikuniya’s announcement says that it s apps, for iOS and Windows, “allow readers to open multiple ebooks simultaneously, making it easy for customers who are studying English to compare texts in multiple languages.

“Kinoppy’s convenient functions, such as full-text search, highlighting, note-making, and the ability to read on up to five devices, are available for English-language ebooks, as they are for Japanese books.”

Press materials stress that PRH is a major publisher of Japanese work in translation, with Haruki Murakami’s work, as an example, “found on the Knopf, Ballantine, and Vintage imprints.”


The Former ‘Scribner Building’ Acquired

The West 43rd Street Press Building, at one time called The Scribner Building, has been acquired in New York City by DivcoWest. Image: Rasky Partners

Called the Press Building in New York City, one of several properties in New York City once known as The Scribner Building has been acquired by real-estate operating company DivcoWest.

It’s a site on which typesetting, platemaking, printing, and binding was done for novels by Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stephen King, Tom Wolfe, and others.

This is not the spot some of us know as the Charles Scribner’s Sons Building—the former bookstore site at 597 Fifth Avenue—nor is it the Old Scribner Building at Fifth and 21st Street. This property is in Hell’s Kitchen, at 311 West 43rd Street in Manhattan, and comprises 192,000 square feet in 15 stories.

Citizens Commercial Banking is leading a US$91 million loan for DivcoWest’s acquisition.

Media messaging on the project doesn’t indicate what name the building will have under new ownership, nor whether something of its publishing-heyday past will be represented at the property.


More from Publishing Perspectives on bookselling and Kinokuniya is here, and more of our Industry Notes series is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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