The first step is to locate the actual page on which the information is given. It is almost always at the back of the book, but it may not be the very last page; it may be followed by pages of ads for other books, etc. If it is a "modern" book (i.e., dates from the 1970s or so) the page with the publication details will generally have an ISBN number on it, making it fairly easy to locate.

The "back" of a Japanese book is usually - but not always - at the opposite end of the book from what would be the back of an English book. It's usually not hard to work out--from the art work, layout, etc. - which is the front cover; if the front cover comes on what would be the back of an English book then the whole book is, from an English point of view, "back to front". This is the usual layout, and the publishing statement will usually be found at the end of the text.

Sometimes Japanese books have the same layout as English books (I.e., the book opens from the left and runs from left to right, but usually it is the other way around as I have described. If the book follows the English layout (i.e., it reads from left to right) it probably gives the publication details at the end of the text. Occasionally, though, the details will be found on the back of the title page, or elsewhere at the front of the book.

In the case of bilingual books (let's stick to books written in Japanese and English, and leave out other languages), the English text quite often starts from the left-hand side (as is standard with English books), and the Japanese text starts from the right-hand side (as is normal in Japanese), so that both texts end in the middle of the book. In such cases, the publishing statement usually comes at the end of the Japanese text (i.e., in the middle of the book); if publication details are given in English at all they are usually only partial, and can be misleading (e.g., they may not show that the book is a later printing).

This may all sound a bit daunting, but with a little practice, you will soon find you can locate the page which carries the publishing statement. Carry on to the next page to see pictures of a few examples, so you can get an idea of the kind of thing to look for.

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