“Bunkitsu,” an unusual, cover-charging bookstore opened on December 11. The store, designed and operated by the largest book dealer in Japan, sells over 30,000 titles in wide variety of genres including humanities, natural science, design and art. It is themed as ‘a renewed meeting with books’ where shoppers could find some rare titles other bookstores may not carry.
The store is located in Roppongi, downtown Tokyo, at a former Book Center Roppongi building. It charges 1,500 yen a day (approximately $13 USD) to enter the premise. There is no time limit, and the customers will be provided with free coffee and green tea, Wi-Fi, charging stations and lockers. It is open from 9am to 11pm, seven days a week.
90 seats are spread throughout the four sections of the store. In the browsing room, customers will pick books from neatly organized rows of bookshelves, very much like any ordinary bookstore. In reading room, they can sit down, relax and read their pick. There is also the laboratory which is available for groups, as well as the cafeteria for light meals. The entrance of the store is the exhibition room, free of charge with the display of over 90 magazine titles.
Periodical exhibits and events are already planned. The first one will be “The Power of Magazine” commemorating the revival of photographer Akio Tomari’s visual magazine “hinism” after ten-year hiatus. It is an event that refocus on the diversity and potential of magazines, as well as cross-genre, cross-category values they bring to the readers. The first through ninth issues of “hinism” will be on display.
While online book shopping becomes increasingly popular, this new style of bookstore experience can bring new, unexpected discovery of books.