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Original title:



Original language



Publication info:


11 November 2020


300 pages



Upmarket commercial fiction

Rights handled by New River

Foreign rights excl. Asia 

Rights sold:

Albania (Onufri)

Brazil (Sextante) 

Bulgaria (Locus)

China (China South Booky)

Croatia (Profil)

Czech Republic (Dobrovsky)

France (Leduc)

French paperback (J'ai Lu)

Germany (Rowohlt)

Greece (Patakis) 

Hungary (auction)


Italy (Garzanti)

Korea (Mindbuiding)

The Netherlands (Meulenhoff)

North America (Hanover Square Press)

North Macedonia (TRI Publishing)

Poland (Relacja)

Portugal (Lua de Papel)

Romania (Nemira)

Russia (Mann, Ivanov & Ferber)

Serbia (Vulkan) 

Slovakia (IKAR)

Spain (Planeta)

Sweden (Nona)

Taiwan (Spring International)

Thailand (Amarin)

Turkey (Domingo)

UK & Comm ex Can (Doubleday)

Ukraine (ArtBooks)

World Arabic (Arab Cultural Centre)

What You Are Looking For is in the Library
 by Michiko Aoyama

Runner-up of the 2021 Japan Booksellers’ Awards; more than 130,000 copies sold


What are you looking for? is the question that enigmatic librarian, Sayuri Komachi, puts to those who come to her for book recommendations. The list of titles she gives, however, always contains an unexpected addition that becomes a catalyst for the borrower to gain new perspectives and gives them the impetus to make changes in their life. The novel is comprised of five chapters, each narrated by a visitor to the library in the small community centre in Tokyo. Each protagonist is at a different juncture in their career, wrestling with dilemmas particular to that stage of life. The conversation that they have with Sayuri Komachi turns out to be a life-changing encounter.


A constant reminder of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, this charming book about the magic of books, life choices, and community, could not be timelier in a post-Covid age. The skilfully and subtly interwoven stories, with characters in one story naturally re-appearing in other stories, add up to a novel that is a paean to libraries, books, and community. Its message that books are a source of wisdom and inspiration, often playing a key role in human communication, is one that will resonate widely. Anyone who has ever felt at an impasse in their life or career will surely find something to identify with within these heart-warming pages.

About the author


Born in 1970, Michiko Aoyama worked for two years as a reporter for a Japanese newspaper from Sydney after graduating from university. After her return to Japan, she worked as a magazine editor at a publishing house before turning to full time writing. Her debut work, Hot Chocolate on Thursday, won the 1st Miyazakimoto Prize. Her second novel What You Are Looking For is in the Library is the runner-up of the 2021 Japan Booksellers Awards. Both books have been on Japan's bestseller lists.  

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