Home > Features > Book Off – Japan’s Used Bookstore Giant in New York City

Book Off – Japan’s Used Bookstore Giant in New York City


I have been going to this location since I was in High school. Book Off is located in a tucked away block on East 41th street between 5th Avenue and Madison Street is Book Off, Japan’s largest chain of used Bookstores. This is a place to pick up used books, manga, cds, DVDs and video games. Anything that is sold in a book store is usually sold here, and for a reasonable price as well. The bookstore is also always looking for any of the above that a person has to sell. Dependent on the condition though, the seller of these items to the store will most likely not see as good as a return, unless they go sell it themselves or anyone wants to purchase it from them.

Inside the bookstore there are three levels. No elevators, and is usually a tight squeeze. The basement has Japanese language used books, while the first floor has CDs, DVDs, Video Games, English used books and stationary items. In between the first and second floor is a section on the English books of Japanese culture, novels, or learning tools. The second floor is an small alcove where there is the manga, artbooks, magazines, toys and a small Children section.

Seating is sparse throughout the store, so many people just stand. There are step ladders around the first floor and the basement, so that people can occasionally stand to on it to look for high reaching items, or perhaps sit on it? A popular sitting spot in the bookstore is the stairway that leads to the second floor.

Outside, E41th Street is known to bibilo-lovers as as Library Way, with plaques of literary expressions that commemorate NYPL and Grand Central’s partnership.

Also nearby Book Off, there is also the several more Japanese points of interest. There is the main Cafe Zaiya location, a Japanese small grocery, and a sushi restaurant. I love going to the grocery store, because of the Japanese food items, they also often have the television on showing Japanese food programing that I would never see otherwise. There is a small food location at the grocery store itself, only cash though. Zaiya offers set lunches on Monday to Fridays, and does take cash/credit. I have rarely stepped into the sushi restaurant, so not that much thoughts on it.

Of the four locations, I noticed Zaiya, the grocery store, and Book Off also having free Japanese periodicals available. Included in the Japanese periodicals is the monthly Chopsticks that is the English version highlighting all of the Japanese places of interests, and articles. Oh and Book Off seems to be the only place that has a bulletin board ad space for sale. So for those interested in looking at bulletins, or placing an ad Japanese relevent.. ^_^

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  1. July 20, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Is the manga in Japanese? The Book Off I usually go to has lots of media in Japanese (there’s another one, but they only sell media in English). Really cheap, too. $3 a book, comes with the book jacket and all that ❤

  2. miz
    July 20, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    @Izumi Saya The manga in the alcove has a section row in English, but the rest of the space is devoted to Japanese. What location are you talking about when you mentioned another Book Off?

  3. Jasmine
    February 24, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Is this place still open?

  4. miz
    February 25, 2010 at 12:05 am

    It’s open as of right now with a closing toward the end of next month to move into its new location.

  1. January 23, 2010 at 7:52 pm

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