View Full Version : buying books
2004-01-28, 12:43 PM
if you want to order english language books, where do you go?
is amazon the best route? if not, what other sites/bookstores are recommended?
Post Edited (01-28-04 12:53)
2004-01-28, 12:55 PM
I use amazon. It's slow, but cheaper than buying off the shelf!
2004-01-28, 10:24 PM
theres a few big book stores in the tokyo area that carry english language books, and ALOT of them.... I forget what they're called tho... drawing a blank... anyone wanna lend me a hand?... I'll ask my buds and post back later...
2004-02-09, 08:26 PM
you can actually buy most english language books thru amazon.co.jp also, with no delivery costs if it is over 1500yen. If you can't read japanese you will need help setting up an account probably but after that it is fairly easy. A lot of things can be done in english there.
2004-04-09, 08:55 PM
I buy books of amazon.co.jp if you use www.babelfish.altavista.com It's a webpage translator. It'll translate the japanese web pages for you. Although the English syntax isn't too good, but you can work it out. If you need help give me a hollar. I bought over 10 books through that recently my first time also. Also, you can choose cash on delivery, but there's a small fee for that. I prefer cash on delivery as it's safer for me :) If you pay by credit card, and buy over a certain amount (I think 2900Yen) it's free delivery.
I've looked at 5 bookstores near where I live, the biggest store (5 floors), has a really small selection of English books, and cost about the same as amazon.
2004-04-10, 12:11 AM
Thanks for the suggestions.
I've heard that Amazon Japan is super-slow and that ordering from the US site is faster and about the same price.
Any truth to this?
2004-04-10, 12:22 PM
Just ordered one book from Amazon.jp, delivered within 2 days, 40% off retail book price, around \500 for delivery. Not so bad. Mind you it was a Japanese book. We tend to order English language books from both UK and US Amazon sites - better selection.
2004-04-10, 12:43 PM
Candy, Where did you hear that? Who is the source for all of these "heard that..." comments?
Amazon Japan provides free delivery if you order over 1500 yen, and you can even see much of their website in English by choosing the "in English" option near the top of most pages. Almost all of their English language books originally come from outside Japan, though many are in stock here.
Amazon US charges a flat $6.99 fee plus $4.49 per book to ship to Japan. Even a first edition hardcover published a few years ago that I wanted, originally $28 but available for $13 from the US, and only discounted to 2500 yen on Amazon Japan, still ends up being cheaper to order from Japan if you consider shipping. On many books there isn't such a large difference in the discount from list price.
You'll find a "within 24 hours", "within 1 to 2 days", "within 6 to 8 days" etc. comment included (in Japanese) after the title and author of each book. I've found that their estimates to be pretty accurate, and you can even choose to have your order shipped as items become available, at no extra cost if you have purchased over 1500 yen.
The only times that you might want to order from another Amazon site is if the book you're looking for is only available there (I've used the UK and German sites once each). Very expensive books may also have a higher discount rate on the US site, making it worthwhile to ship to Japan.
Amazon is inexpensive, but after spending some time searching through their site I always realize that nothing beats browsing in a real bookstore!
2004-04-11, 01:53 AM
Sorry, I know messages beginning with "heard that..." are somewhat suspect. Last week, a girl at work mentioned that she had been waiting for about 4 weeks for an English language book she ordered from Amazon Japan. It was nothing esoteric, just a run-of-the-mill teaching book. (Too popular to keep in stock?)
Likewise, a couple of Japanese acquaintances complained about waiting for weeks for DVDs and CDs from Amazon Japan. (An exaggeration perhaps?)
I am still a bit of a newbie (read: uncomfortable) about sending credit card info over the net. Expecting delays makes me even more leery about jumping in, especially because, like Hiyodori, I love going to bookstores and seeing, touching and smelling the real thing. It's a visceral experience. But then I found that even with the "big discounts" at various stores, the books seemed to be about the same price or sometimes significantly less from Amazon, so...
2004-04-14, 04:37 PM
The largest English bookstore I know of in Tokyo is Kinokuniya, in Shinjuku. Take the southeast exit, go through Takashimaya department store, and Kinokuniya is the next building. There is about half a floor of English/French/Spanish/other random language texts, and many magazines. Other large bookstores may have a foreign section as well. The best bet is probably Amazon, if you aren't in a hurry, though.
2004-04-14, 04:43 PM
Maruzen - Nihonbashi 4th Floor is probably better organised than Kinokuniya, but uses a poor Yen/$ exchange rate. It has good range of technical books, magazines and "books on Japan", and as an authorised distributor for many overseas publishing houses, has a good ordering system.
Good stationery shop in the basement - hankos/ meishi etc..
2004-04-27, 01:21 AM
Actually I bought 9 English books from the JP site recently and they all came in 5 days. Earlier than I expected. The internet said 16 shipping days or something. But my coworker says her books often get shipped earlier. My boss also gets stuff from there.
If you're worried about things going wrong, you should get the COD, and pay the guy when they deliver it. Sometimes items go missing, and if you pay by credit card, someone else can sign for it. Back home they often delivered stuff for our work that didn't belong there. I was afraid to use my ccard, whereas back home I used it all the time online for Amazon. But I wasn't too sure about the shipping practices here.
So definitely choose Cash on Delivery if you're worried about your credit card.
Check before you buy the item, sometimes it's not available, maybe that's why your friends book was never shipped. You can still change the order if it's not shipped.
Some CD's I get at Tower Records or HMV, because I'm too lazy to wait a few days.
But definitely for books I ordered online. Amazon was a lot cheaper than the bookstores. I saved at least 4000Yen. Amazon.jp has a bigger variety, and Kinokunia is quite expensive. I went there to buy some books on learning Japanese, they didn't have it, and the ones they had were really expensive.
I've had 2 boxes delivered with over 9 books, and a few cd's no problems so far.
You can check on the internet when they intend to deliver it etc.
Just in case you are interested in secondhand books.
I am just getting Tui Books Japan started.
Take a look at http://tuibooks.hp.infoseek.co.jp
2004-05-22, 05:08 PM
Shibuya has two really good places to buy English books
Tower Records Shibuya has a goodly-sized English language section on the 6th (I think) floor.
The other great place, if you just walk to the right of 109 and you'll see the giant Book 1st sign. Book 1st has foreign language magazines on the first floor and English books on the 3rd floor.
2004-05-29, 12:34 AM
If you want second hand books check Caravan books in Ikebukuro> they have a web site but right off hand i can`t find it, also they can order books for you. Foreigners
own it and run it so they are very helpful here is their e-mail address:
Jessica is a nice person and very helpful.
There is also Good Days books in Ebisu-but I don`t deal with them anymore because the people who were running it left and under the neew management prices went up and the shop went down.