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During the first coronavirus shutdown in Japan last year, Daihachi Yoshida had an epiphany.

“I live in the suburbs, and when I went to a local bookstore, the queue for the cash register was longer than I’d ever seen before,” he recalls. “Everyone had been staying at home, and they’d gotten sick of watching TV, so they’d go there…. It gave me a bit of encouragement: in times like that, people still come back to books.”

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