Asahiya – Tucked out of the way Japanese bookstore..
Okay this bookstore is tucked away on a side street, so most people would go over to Kino or BookOff, here is Asahiya. It is located on E45th street between 5th and Madison. It use to be located on Vanderbilt and as other people would often say that the selections here wouldn’t be as much as Kino nearby. This place is a complete contrast to Kino, in only selling Japanese mangas, and no English graphic novels. Most of the products are also shrink wrapped, so it protects the products.
The bookstore is only one floor, as you walk into the store, there is a large row of magazines that get updated on a near weekly basics. You can also browse the magazines here, whereas it is shrink wrapped at Kino. The magazines are also more updated than Kino’s. So if you like to browse before you purchase then Asahiya is a place to go.
The cash register as I would place as a point of origin, is in the center of the room, with CDs/DVDs on the right of the room if you look dead straight into the room. The Japanese animation/mangas are in the back of the room to the right end, with a cart of discounted CDs/DVDs nearby. There are stationary products behind the cash register section. Also a Japanese learning section with the store’s few English titles on the left of the register. Toward the back of the room on the left side, before you go into the right end of the room, there is a small set of stairs with a television set.
What makes this place stand out is the point card that this store uses for customer loyalty and points aspect. BookOff did away with the system a while back, so only Asahiya of the three NYC bookstores would keep this style. If you fill up a card, it would be about -$10 discount. Each stamp is worth about $5.
Recently though, there have been a great deal of Japanese anime/stationary sales at this location. I picked up several plushes that were marked down really cheaply. Stationary, CDs, DVDs were also heavily discounted toward the back. A friend of mine picked up so many figures.
This is a bookstore to at least sample on a visit to New York City, it may be considered to be small, but quaint. On Fridays the bookstore cloes at 9pm, so my friends and I usually are at Asahiya until they close, and I have never noticed a PA system, rather their way of signaling closing is to to turn off the lights. Still this is a blog entry on featuring Asahiya, if you want more opinions or reviews, I would point out that there are more opinions of this location at yelp.com.