Dog books fetching huge readership

The nation’s latest publishing boom is books and magazines about dogs.

“With nothing but bad news reports, people are enjoying reading books about dogs,” an executive at publishing house concluded.

The Junkudo Shoten Co. bookstore in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district has been holding a fair on books and other publications about canines.

Exhibited are about 150 varieties of magazines and books, including guides listing hotels that allow guests to bring their dogs, doggy albums, illustrated reference books, medical books about dogs and collections of dog-food recipes.

In central Tokyo, the Nihonbashi store of Maruzen Co. has increased the number of titles about dogs on its bookshelves from 40 to 100, and sales have so far increased nearly 20 percent this year over the same period last year, company officials said.

A researcher at Research Institute for Publications said, “Although sales of hobby-related books aren’t selling well, dog-related publications, especially special issues, are rising in number and selling fast.”

In addition to books specializing in popular breeds, including the Chihuahua and Welsh corgi, books that take an anthropomorphic approach to dogs and advise people on how to resolve the problems of their pets are selling well, the researcher said.

Indicating that Japan’s aging society is not only affecting humans, Futabasha Publishers Ltd. has brought out a book with the title “Aged dogs, all about warm nursing,” and Kobunsha Co. has “How to live with aged dogs.”

Health fads are in vogue, too. Yosensha Co. has a book about natural foods for dogs to improve their health, while Interwork Publishers Co. published one about aromatherapy and massages for dogs.

A Junkudo Shoten official said, “When aromatherapy, food additives and such things become topics in society, there are always inquiries about whether there are similar books for dogs.”

Tsutomu Muraoka, 35, editor of the magazine Dog Fan, which is published by Seibundo Shinkosha Publishing Co., said, “Books that regard pet dogs as humans or as family much closer than humankind and tell how to lead a comfortable life with them are diversifying each year and increasing in number.

“I think readers want to confirm their own tender feelings and love for their families through dogs,” he reckoned.