Tokyo Bookstore Breaks the Mold


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Bunkitsu is bliss for bibliophiles. According to Condé Nast Traveler, the bookstore-museum-café combination is the first of its kind in Tokyo. The newly opened shop charges guests a 1,500 yen entrance fee (roughly $13) to even be able to peruse the shelves. While some may raise eyebrows at the admission fee, the price seems more like a bargain considering guests receive free, all-you-can-drink coffee and green tea from the store’s café and free Wi-Fi in designated reading rooms, and can explore the shop’s collection of rare books. The business model was developed to combat Tokyo’s recent crisis of bookstores closing citywide.

In more idiosyncratic decisions, Bunkitsu also only stocks one copy of each of the 30,000 titles it carries, arranges shelves by genre (not alphabetically), and offers no search services to find books electronically. Owners explain the decisions as a way to encourage customers to discover new books while physically exploring the store, as reported by the Asahi Shimbun.

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