Checking Out Business Books through Abridged Editions




Recently, the number of websites and smartphone applications offering abridged editions of business books has begun to rise. Their popularity lies in allowing a reader to understand the contents of a book in a short amount of time, with many reading these mini-books during their commute or before bed. One such service is flier, on which one can read an abridged book in about ten minutes, with a library of 1800 titles that is increased every day.

Most services focus on practical and business books written by managers, though flier also offers books on Japanese history and chemistry. Books are selected by university professors and employees, at which point professional writers create an abridged edition with the help of the publishing company. Other services such bookvinegar also offer book reviews, while bukupe allows users to write their own reviews.

Bookstores are now trying to devise ways to entice people who have read the abridged editions to buy the actual books. In one store of the bookstore Miraiya Shoten, QR codes of the abriged editions are set up next to the books, allowing customers to read abridged editions and user reviews before buying. “I think being able to read summaries and reviews would go a long way in meeting customers’ needs,” said Wada Megumi, the store’s manager. 

Kuwabara Testuya, an editor who makes use of abridging services, sees the rise in the services’ use to be a result of “increasing digitalization in the workplace, which means workers need a broad range of new knowledge to compete with AI.” He also believes the services will soon spread out from business books and into other genres. “My hope is that people will read all kinds of books, and find authors and genres they might have never considered otherwise.”