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Books as Billboards

— May 18, 2006 — Business
One of the hottest trends in Japan right now is book jackets - not just ordinary brown paper jackets, but ones made of high-quality paper and sporting elaborate and colorful designs. This new breed of book jackets boasts handy features like reversibility and built-in bookmarks. Called bra-jacket, short for "brand jackets," many of them bear corporate logos and brand images, thus serving not just to protect book covers from damage but also as advertising vehicles. As they are adverts, they are offered to the public for free.
Stylish and Free
The jackets are the brainchild of the advertising company Setup Inc. "We noticed that on the trains, many women were reading books covered by jackets they had made themselves, so we thought that if we could make covers that were nice to look at and easy to use, then they might serve as a good advertising medium," says Setup.

Setup's covers are available at special shelves at major book retailers in the Tokyo metropolitan area and the Kansai region. They are free for the taking, and customers need not even buy any books to get one. New editions are generally released every two weeks - on the first and third Friday of each month. Once they disappear from the racks, they are not replaced.