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Both seem to mean "release date", but I've heard that 公開日{こうかいび} is typically used to refer to movie release dates, and 発売日{はつばいび} to book release dates. Is this true, and are there any other differences between the two?

5

Talking about movies, you would use 公開日 for the release date in cinemas and 発売日 for the day the DVD goes on sale.

公開日 refers to the first day something is accessible to the public.

発売日 refers to the first day an item is purchasable.

Generally one will be more natural than the other, depending on the type of "product". You use 公開日 for things you "go and see" and 発売日 for things you "(purchase and) take home".

4

The 「公開」 in 「公開日」 is literally "public opening" and the 「発売」 in 「発売日」 is literally "start to sell". You are right that 公開日 is used for movie release dates. This probably just comes from the fact that you don't sell physical copies of movie screenings like you do with books (and video games).

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