Where did we come from?
Nice to see you here! We are BOOKOFF USA.
Some of you have heard our name, have ever visited our stores, or some are new to us, welcome everyone!!
We are glad to see you here.
We will introduce ourselves in this blog several times for you to know us.
First, our roots.
Where did we come from?
Yes, we are a company from Japan.
Dating back in 1990, the first BOOKOFF store opened.
Sagamihara city in Kanagawa prefecture (Maybe Yokohama city is more familiar name for Kanagawa).
Located in residential area of the bed-town city, that’s where our story began.
It was a small “second-hand bookstore”.
But it was quite different from other second-hand bookstores at that time.
The image of secondhand bookstore in Japan until then was dark, dirty and dusty, where only hardcore type of book lovers visits, and the threshold of buyback was high. So, it was not a friendly place to everyone.
Therefore, the founder created a new concept of secondhand bookstore and applied to the first BOOKOFF; beautiful, bright and clean place. It’s just like a regular retail store. It seems easy for everyone to enter. No hesitation for customer to bring in their books.
It was also distinctive that the books weren’t sealed or packed, so that customers could easily check the contents and choose their favorite books.
※This is not particularly special in here USA, but in Japan usually
At the book stores, brand-new books, especially Mangas, are in sealed in plastic bags. Also, even in the second-hand bookstore at the time, books were in plastic bags. If you want to see the contents, you must ask store staff to open it.
(How we can decide to buy or not without knowing its content?)
Meanwhile, BOOKOFF just put cleanly-processed Mangas and novels on shelves as they were. You could reach as many books as you wanted. Encounter with books became unlimited. For the children, it was a paradise of books.
And not only children but also adults began choosing their favorite books with fun.
About the buyback service, BOOKOFF also changed the approach.
Most of the secondhand bookstore at that time used the word “We buy your books”, but BOOKOFF used “Please sell us your books”.
This word which puts more importance to our customers who bring in their precious items is still used in all the BOOKOFF stores.
(Oh, By the way, this word was an invention of a part-time staff of the first store.
This lady, later, she became the chairman of BOOKOFF.)
The concept of new-type secondhand bookstore was well accepted and began to expand dramatically and now there are over 800 stores in Japan. 97% of Japanese people recognize what BOOKOFF is.
Merchandise handled in Japan now are not only Books but also CDs, DVDs, Video games, figures, apparel, sporting goods, accessories and watches. (You may be surprised because our US stores are based on mostly books.)
After the big growth in Japan, BOOOKOFF had a new ambition, “We want to deliver Japanese books to Japanese in overseas”
In 2000, finally, the challenge of BOOKOFF started in New York, USA began.
by A.Yonemoto (=米本, in Japanese, these syombols mean “America and Book”. Is it a coincidence?)