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A new essay by novelist Haruki Murakami hit bookstores across Japan on Thursday straight from the publisher under an arrangement aimed at helping businesses fight off the onslaught from online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc.

Kinokuniya Co., a Tokyo-based bookstore operator, directly bought 90 percent of the essay’s initial 100,000 copies from its publisher to sell at its outlets and distribute to other bookstores.

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