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Chicken Soup for Japan.

JAPANESE bestseller lists are routinely topped by self-help books. These are so popular here that it was only a matter of time before the Chicken Soup franchise came calling. Chicken Soup for the Japanese Soul is due to begin inspiring the masses in November.

What is surprising is that a tiny publishing outfit called Alexandra Press has been chosen over industry Goliaths to helm the project. A Chicken Soup representative contacted local entrepreneur Caroline Pover after hearing her give a talk. Could her publishing business manage a Japanese version of Chicken Soup? Could she churn out, say, a million copies?

"I came out of that meeting in a little bit of a daze," says Pover. With sales of Chicken Soup titles topping 80 million copies worldwide, the publishing coup is tough to overstate.

Pover originally set up Alexandra Press to publish and distribute her Being A Broad in Japan, a guidebook for foreign women. An instant hit, it opened up distribution channels later coveted by other do-it-yourself authors.

Alexandra Press has subsequently become a viable business in its own right. But with only five titles under her belt, totaling less than 50,000 copies, a project of Chicken Soup proportions is a tall order.

Speaking in the inspirational terms of the Chicken Soup books, Jim Hunter, the Chicken Soup rep who approached Pover, justifies such ambition. "A million copies is a lot of books, it's a stretch," he says. "However, you don't set goals you can easily achieve. You set goals that are a stretch."

Hunter says more established publishing houses weren't even considered because of the bureaucratic style of the Japanese publishing system. He adds that Pover was a more logical choice because her success and demeanor fit Chicken Soup's philosophy.

"She's an out-of-the-box thinker, she's very action minded, she likes to accomplish things," Hunter says. "That's exactly the kind of person I needed to join this project."

So far, Pover has either published or has been a consultant for books in English. This will mark a huge leap to the Japanese mainstream, a move that suggests Pover may soon become a publishing Goliath herself.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
COPYRIGHT 2004 Japan Inc. Communications
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
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Publication:Japan Inc.
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Words:358
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