Inside a Book-Off in Shibuya

Posted by Jonas on December 19th, 2010. Filters:

Book-Off is Japan’s largest chain of used bookstores. They have over 850 stores and they all sell books, manga, CDs, DVDs and video games. You can find great bargains here and they usually have what you’re looking for, even new music for a couple of hundred yens less.

So I got my friend Shiranwa to go take a few pictures of the inside of a Book-Off in Shibuya for you all, as I was too busy looking for good 80’s J-pop last time I was there.

The Book-Off stores usually have several floors, it can be a bit surprising because they often look rather tiny from outside!

Games for all sorts of consoles available, but lots and lots of DS games especially.

Gotta love that neon yellow color.

Before you buy any games, I recommend checking whether your gaming device is region locked or not. You wouldn’t want to end up with a pile of games you can’t play!

The music section is like heaven, you can find all kinds of cool obscure stuff that you’d never find at Tower Records or HMV. It can be a little bit difficult to find what you’re looking for unless you know the artist’s name in kanji. There’s usually a “foreign music” section which is sorted alphabetically, but the Japanese sections are usually sorted by hiragana, so you should at least know that, unless you dare to ask the staff of course^^

Books, books, and more books…

They also have Blu-rays, but I don’t have a Blu-ray player so that’s just a section I pass by. I never really got the idea of Blu-ray and HD-DVDs, the discs are dying, long live streaming!

Some really cheap manga to be found in the Book-Offs!

In the same building, on the fourth floor is CLUB QUATTRO, I much rather go there than to a Book-Off :P

And on the basement floor you’ll find used clothes, I’ve never been there myself but it’s probably worth a try.

They’re usually not very crowded which is pretty nice.

Especially manga is something I wouldn’t buy new in Japan, unless we’re talking about erotic manga… Although I wouldn’t buy erotic manga in the first place xD

And what’s any Japanese store without these little toy vending machines?^^

Nearby Book-Offs, in case you didn’t find what you were looking for.

And that’s a Book-Off! Let me know what you think about this chain if you’ve been there. I personally love it, although I don’t really like CDs that much, you just can’t find certain things anywhere else!

  • Anonymous

    Often went in, though never found anything I fancied (maybe due to my inability to stand manga/anime and my, at that time, too low Japanese skills for a proper book)

    • yonasu

      Hehe okay^^ I don’t read manga either. I mostly like Book-Off’s for the music and DVDs.

  • Anonymous

    This shop is great in case you want to earn some easy cash while traveling to Japan. If you know the right things to buy then you can finance partially your trip with reselling the right books from there.

    • yonasu

      Indeed, although I’m too lazy to go through the trouble :P

    • D-man

      I’ve heard people say this, but never actually seen any proof. One friend decided to buy all the Final Fantasy games under the assumption that they were ultra rare all over the world. In fact he only made about 2 dollars reselling them in the US, most of which went on fees for selling them.

  • Michael A. Robson


    Ah.. the Slam Dunk section… don’t tease me! :P

  • Anonymous

    there’s a branch in Meguro somewhere that has a lot of English books. There’s supposed to be a Christmas sale on which I keep meaning to go to. I was advertised in Metropolis.
    I must look it up, but I bet the sale’s over by the time I find it..

    Anyone outside Japan who wants magazines from Book Off, I’d be happy to purchase them and post them back to you if give me details… drop me a private email.

    • yonasu

      Oh nice! You should prolly hurry up if you don’t want to miss it^^

      I might take you up on that offer sometime ;)

    • D-man

      Actually I think the BookOFF in this blog has an English section on 3F, if I remember rightly. They had all the Harry Potter books for 105 yen last time I was there.

  • D-man

    BookOFF is endless fun. The manga is surely the cheapest in the world at 105yen per volume.

  • Loc Lam | ロックラム

    I went there today because of this post. I got a Mainiti Kaasan book, NANA illustration book, and a how to draw manga book :D All for ¥1,400.

    • yonasu

      Nice! :D Don’t forget to go to some game centers ;)

  • ロニくん

    i love book-off! they have one here in san diego near the Mitsuwa marketplace. i go in to browse, and always end up browsing for like 2 hours minimum lol