Kodansha, Shogakukan, and SHUEISHA are reportedly working together with Marubeni to create a new distribution method using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. They aim to make the process more efficient by removing the middlemen distributors. The new method will also lessen the amount of returned and unsold books.
According to SankeiBiz, the current distribution method is that publishers sell their books to distributors, who then supply them to bookstores nationwide. Although this has worked fine in the past, recent years report a 40% return rate of unsold items. As a result, the waste brings concern to the publishing industry.
Thus, Kodansha, Shogakukan, and SHUEISHA will be teaming up with trading company Marubeni to implement a new distribution method. The new system will use Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) to analyze where books need supply. Furthermore, each book will have electronic tags (IC) to allow the companies and stores to maintain inventory and sales data. This distribution method will help the companies control printing costs while also boosting profits.
Lastly, it is also reported that this new distribution method will bring about major changes in the industry. The companies and stores will have a more straightforward partnership. While there is still a demand for both traditional and digital forms, this new method will help adapt to the changing times. As of writing, there is no announced date for when this new distribution method will begin.
Kodansha, Shogakukan, and SHUEISHA are the largest publishing companies in Japan. Aside from their popular manga publications, they also publish regular books and magazines too. Read more news here.
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