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“Yuki, check out groovy doo!!”

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I find this hilarious, combining about five different stereotypes – I love the image of hordes of Japanese girls snapping away on “backwards” magazines, sending the pics out to their digital buddies. And as always, the assumption by content owners is that information shared is a sale lost. It’s a brand new information world – learn to take advantage of it or be crushed.

    Japanese bookstores are set to launch a national campaign to stop so-called “digital shoplifting” by customers using the lastest camera-equipped mobile phones.
    The Japanese Magazine Publishers Association says the practice is “information theft” and it wants it stopped.

    It is the kind of thing that most Japanese young women wouldn’t think twice about doing.

    They might spot a new hairstyle or a new dress in a glossy fashion magazine and they want to know what their friends think – so they take a quick snap with their mobile phone camera and send everybody a picture.

    But the publishers of those magazines feel they are being cheated out of valuable sales.

    Together with Japan’s phone companies, they are issuing stern posters which warn shoppers to be careful of their “magazine manners”.

    ….the success of this new campaign is open to question.

    Japan’s bookshop owners have already said their staff cannot tell the difference between customers taking pictures and those simply chatting on their phones. [BBC]

It seems to me the shop owners have the most to lose, and if they aren’t overly concerned the campaign is doomed to irrelevance. If they were really concerned they could ban phone use in their stores – as with similar issues elsewhere, this seems to be more about control than about economics.

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About Eric Olsen