Otaku are creatures of infinite wants but limited means. We want all the cool anime, manga, art books, toys, CDs, and assorted paraphernalia of our favorite hobbies but few can afford everything on their wish list. For the otaku on a budget (or really any otaku who is smart) there is a solution; Book-Off in Manhattan is a Japanese used book store that is a treasure trove for all sorts of Japanese goods that any fan of Japanese merchandise will love.
The store recently moved to 49 W 45th and is 3 floors. The first floor is CDs, DVDs and video games. The basement has manga, art books, and figures. The 2nd floor is mostly regular Japanese books. My biggest praise for the new store it is 100% less stifling than the old one. You never felt comfortable in the old store as it always felt sort of like a sauna. Since almost everything in the store is used the prices are far cheaper than anywhere else. I have bought legitimate merchandise for well below cost many a times. Nothing beats buying an art book you would pay 60 dollars for online for 15 bucks.
There are only two downsides to the store. The first is everything in the store is used so some items have a bit of ware and tear on them. This also means you can’t get the latest and greatest releases. For those items you can go to Kinokuniya (which will be my next article). The other problem is the selection is totally random. You will go in one day and see 20 things you can’t live without and go back a month later and not see anything the grabs your attention. Such is the luck of the draw.
But despite all that when you go on a good day you can find some amazing things. I have seen items I never even knew existed at dirt cheap prices. If you are in Manhattan it is definitely a place to visit because you never are quite sure what you will turn up inside.