Japan Today

Book Off running low on books; begs customers to sell them books

By Dale Roll, SoraNews24

The secondhand game is strong in Japan, with everything from previously owned anime goods to well-worn school uniforms being sold for a profit. In fact, there is a particularly big family of second-hand shops that all use the word “Off” in their names, presumably based on the idea of their products being “off-price”: Hard Off (for electronics), Mode Off (for clothing), Off House (for home goods), Hobby Off (for hobby goods), and, of course, Book Off (for…books). In truth, though each one has a specialty, they all sell all kinds of things, from DVDs and CDs to books, accessories, collectibles and clothing.

Book Off is arguably one of the most popular of the stores, as it has branches all across the country. But sadly, Book Off is struggling to sell books lately because, well, they don’t seem to have any. In fact, the stock of books at Book Off is apparently so low that they recently released a commercial begging customers to sell them books.

The commercial features Book Off employees, who stand solemnly in two lines along a near-empty Book Off isle with hands clasped in front of them. Each one says a phrase in which they plead with the viewers to sell them books. It starts off with a line from one of their previous commercials featuring child actor Kokoro Terada, which goes, “Book Off nanoni hon nee jan!” or “This Book Off doesn’t have any books!”

“We put out that commercial, but it looks like we really don’t have enough books,” said the staff members in the newest CM. “Please…please, sell us some books!” They then begin to list off the kinds of books customers might have in their home that they could sell, shouting together “Hon!”, or “Books!”, with each description.

The types of books start off ordinary, like, “Books you’ve read already” or “Books that won’t fit on the book shelf.” But as more and more types of books are listed off, they get funnier and funnier. “Books left behind by the girlfriend you forgot about!” “Books you thought would make you look cool!” “Books someone could not stop talking about but didn’t interest you at all!” “Books you still didn’t read even though you were stuck at home!”

The commercial is surprisingly effective, because as the list goes on you start to realize that you have books matching those descriptions in your home. Don’t you want to take them to your nearest Book Off to sell now?

But what Book Off really seems to need most are small paperback books, known as bunkobon in Japanese. If you have any that you’re willing to part with, it might be worth your while to bring them to your nearest Book Off, because right now they’re offering special benefits for people who bring in bunkobon.


For every three bunkobon books you sell to Book Off, you’ll get to enter into a drawing where you could win some nice prizes, such as a 10,000 yen gift certificate, or this cool limited edition Book Off Letterman jacket with the “Book Off nanoni hon nee jan!” slogan written on the back with the Book Off logo.

The campaign is only going on until Sept 13 at Book Offs in Tokyo and Kanagawa, so don’t wait to bring in your books if you want to enter to win.

Source: PR Times

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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-- We bunk up in “bookstore hotel” Book and Bed Tokyo on opening night

-- Sleep in a bookshelf at the new bookstore-themed hostel in Kyoto

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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How about a: Girls Need a Night Out Event ?

Would be a smash...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They don't offer enough money.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

With the younger generation switching to 'e-book' type readers and the money Book-Off pays you for your used books, it's no surprise that they are running low. This was starting long before this virus came along, selection had been steadily going down in the past three years and some locations had closed already. It's sad that books of any type are slowly going to 'electronic form' as there is something special about having an actual book in hand and enjoy it over holding a tablet.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Maybe they should try offering people more than a pittance for what they buy then. They pay so little they might as well pay in dirt.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

We have a similar 'off' store chain in America, called Half-Price Books. They get some new and unique items as well as 'off' items. I've been selling off some books/DVDs/CDs that I've outgrown or just ain't using anymore to them to make $ for CoVid-19 relief when the pandemic end AND I've been trading off old 'jewel boxed' CDs for digipac and/or Japanese CDs that have lyrics in Japanese + English, essays in Japanese and more artwork than their counterparts. They come in nice thinner pouches (taking up less space in my collection). I have some many Japanese CDs from U2, a few from David Bowie, Genesis, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Cheap Trick, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and more.

It pays to look around.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I tried to sell, even give, them my books and they said no. Most were in mint condition and were quite popular and excellent books.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Maybe its time to rethink their extreme low buy-in prices. When you get like 5 to 20 Yen for a nice condition used book or manga ( that they sell later for 10-30 times higher ) I prefer just throw it into the paper recyling or sell it online on Mercari myself then wasting my time to drive there and wait 30min + to get their creedy offer.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The average youngster in Japan spends an average 3-8 hours of their daily life connected to their smartphones. They don't have time to do anything else, let alone to focus on reading an actual book (not manga), so they don't buy books at all.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Book Off pays low enough for used books that I’ve had to consider if it’s worth the cost of gas to drive there to sell books. This is... not good.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

as we know nowadays most people don,t even feel the need to buy books anymore, since they can read whatever they want on their tablets, smartphones and computers, and i,m talking about the ( already ) limited number of people who are actually interested in reading. so by now most of those people already sold their books years ago and the ones they still have they would never sell those for 10 or 20 yen. that,s the thing here, book off is now “begging” us, but they have been ripping us off for years. selling books, DVD,s etc, for 5, 10, 20, 30 yen is ridiculous and some times they don,t even accept what we,re trying to sell. seriously, with the amount of money they “steal” from people, they were supposed to be doing just fine... but who cares if they,re struggling lately. I know I don’t.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have never been to Book Off, but if they offer similar payments as Hard Off, then even after selling a few items you can't even buy a single item next door at the 100 yen shop. I believe I went to Hard Off twice and walked out of the store both times with the items I planned to sell. What they offer would disappoint a small child. It was insulting. It was thieving.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yeah, they do pay a pittance. I now only have a few books. I've got tons of e-books though.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I prefer to bring my English books to an independent bookshop such as Infinity Books in Asakusa, they give a better offer and have tons of English books! more than my neighborhood Book Off.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If they offer more than 3 yen per book maybe more people would be bothered.

I for one order ALL my books, in both English and Norwegian, from the Book Depository website.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is a load of crap. Just recently I went to sell a ton of books to make space in my house, many in pretty good condition.................The problem was a lot of it was in English. They simply refuse to buy English books, at least in my area. Beggars can't be choosey but apparently they are.

In fact I had so many books, I didn't want to take any of it home. So the ones they did refuse, I just asked them if they would take it, no charge. But then they said something ridiculous. They said, "We will take them and dispose of them. We can't sell them."

I asked why, they just said they won't sell. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

On top of that, they do pay too little for items and they sell rather high on the secondary market.

They either don't realize or don't care that they are competing with Yahoo Auctions and Mercari. People can just sell their items on their own with these applications and get a whole lot more than 5-10 yen per book. They are digging their own graves right now.

If they were smart and wanted to adapt to corona times, they could be creative and think outside of the box to entice customers to sell. But in the end, it is a typical Japanese company that refuse to change with the times.

Have you seen their app? It's worthless. They could BST trade on their, even run their own auctions and do delivery. But nope.........

Oh well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My favorite 'Off' memory: I had a co-worker who had bought a nice HP laptop from Yamada Denki, which as you'd expect came with enough bloatware and crapware that, right out of the box, it was a slow as molasses brick.

After 6 months, my co-worker couldn't take it any more. I even offered to try and de-bloat it for her. She just said to hell with it, she'd take it to HardOff to trade in. I told her to get their offer, and if possible I'd match or better it.

In the end? I got a 6 month old HP laptop for 5000 yen, which was double HardOff's offer. I would have given her more, but she refused. I used that laptop for 6 years. Meanwhile, the cheapest laptop in that particular HardOff? 40,000 yen.

And that's how you go out of business.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

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