Radar Screen

Back to Contents of Issue: February 2002

Fukkan.com revives out-of-print classics, and Kobe-based Dream and More send postcards for free

by Sumie Kawakami

Fukkan www.fukkan.net

On page 52 Blowfish talks about 'e-illiteracy' and the falling interest in books in Japan. It may keep him happy knowing that Radar found that there are plenty of book lovers left in Japanese cyberspace just desperate for the company of a book on these long, cold winter nights.

Fukkan.com's raison d'etre is the posting of requests for re-publication of books that have gone out of print. The site is jointly run by a publishing-on-demand firm BOOK-ING and Bizseek, another e-company offering reverse auction sites. You may be able to purchase the book you're after if BOOK-ING republishes it (that's what the company does for those with sufficient requests) or you may be able to find your favorites at Bizseek's auction site, www.easyseek.com.

Surprisingly, Japanese readers seem quite keen on foreign literature. BOOK-ING recently republished La Vie Amoureuse De Dartagnan by Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), who also wrote The Count of Monte Cristo. Top of the pops right now is The Elenium by American Fantasy guru David Eddings.

Cyber Boom www.cyber-boom.net

E-cards are much easier than sending out real greetings cards, but who doesn't prefer something more tangible through their letterbox? Kobe-based venture firm Dream and More sends out real postcards for free -- just enter the recipient's details and your message on their site.

CEO Satoru Sugimoto came up with the idea when he was posted to New York in the late 90s. 'When I saw a lot of nice free postcards as advertisements, I decided to start my own business,' says Sugimoto. The company uses freelance art designers to design the cards, which are then sponsored by advertisers and aimed at 20 to 30-year-old women.

Despite the cool postcards, Sugimoto's approach has been fairly conservative -- he initially distributed the cards at restaurants and stores in the Kansai region, following them up with the cyber variety later.

Unsurprisingly, given his company's name, Sugimoto's dream is more than just postcards: 'My mission is to support young artists,' he says. In other words, a Dream and More card may bring you more than just a greeting -- it could be worth hanging on to, should any of his artists make the big time.

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