In recent years, the Japanese bookstore industry has been experiencing structural change. The number of bookstores decreased in the 1990s because many small stores closed. On the other hand, the average store size increased because bookstore chains aggressively developed large stores. As a result, the distribution pattern of bookstore has changed. This study analyzes the location patterns of bookstore chains and the time-space change in large store market areas in Aichi Prefecture. In Aichi Prefecture, many large bookstores were opened in suburban areas in the 1990s. Such stores are mainly located along arterial roads. There are two reasons why large bookstores are located at roadsides. One is that chain stores can buy large lots of land to open large new stores. The other is that there are many young families and young single households using cars in these areas. The San'yodo chain is a typical bookstore chain located at roadsides. On the other hand, many small bookstores in urbanized areas have been closing since the 1980s, because competition with large bookstores and convenience stores has been intensified. In addition, new mega bookstore chains, such as Kinokuniya and Sanseido, opened in Nagoya's central business district in the 1990s. Such mega stores attract many customers not only within the Nagoya metropolitan area but also from other areas of Aichi and adjacent Gifu and Mie Prefectures. In short, bookstores have expanded from two types to three types in Aichi Prefecture. There were two types in the 1980s: large stores in the downtown area and small stores in urbanized areas. This study indicates that there were three types in the 1990s. The first type is the mega stores located in Nagoya's central business district, the second are large stores located along roadsides, and the third are small bookstores scattered around urbanized areas. Given the changing pattern of store distribution, this study analyzes the contemporary time-space change in large store market areas using the Geographical Information System (GIS). The GIS can analyze store market areas using Thiesn dividing and buffering and add up the population within the market area of each store. Specifically, this study analyzes the changes in market area between daytime and nighttime to understand spatial changes in market areas. Through this analysis, this study speculates on the dominance of large roadside stores. Most large stores at suburban roadsides conduct business until midnight. Large roadside bookstores not only sell books and magazines but also rent CDs and videos. These stores generally have large parking lots. As a result, such stores have wide market areas at midnight. These stores succeed in attracting young people and families and they sell more magazines and comics late at night. On the other hand, most mega stores located in downtown Nagoya close at 9:00 pm because most office workers live in the suburbs and there are not enough customers at night. In addition, large stores located in Nagoya city cannot attract late-night customers because they generally do not have large parking lots. Because of this, there are many market areas that large stores cannot cover in urbanized Nagoya areas at night.
Tsuchiya, J., Ito, K., & Unno, Y. (2002). The development of bookstore chains and the time-space change of store market areas in Aichi Prefecture. Geographical Review of Japan, 75(10), 595–616. https://doi.org/10.4157/grj.75.595