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
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