Some people are fortune enough to be able to regularly travel to Japan. They can browse the shelves at a wide variety of Japanese book stores and find unknown treasures and new series to read that exist outside of what is localized in their country. Some people shop online but that is mostly convenient for getting what you already know exists. If you know the series you can find everything from art books to calendars online at great prices. But if you are looking for a new series to get into you have to do a decent amount of research before you can even begin to browse online. Kinokuniya lets you have that Japanese book store experience without having to cross the Pacific Ocean.
There is two Japanese bookstores to always check out in Manhattan for very different reasons. We already mentioned why you go to Book-Off. You go to Book-Off from random discounts on random used items. But to see the latest and greatest you go to Kinokuniya. Their store at 1073 Avenue of the Americas has the newest manga, artbooks, and magazines on the shelves a few days after they come out in Japan. You don’t get much of a discount like you would get online but you get to browse at your leisure and give a purchase a physical once over before you buy it. Kinokuniya is also great if you want magazines and manga with limited edition pack ins. I got my prized Fate/Zero shirt with a Newtype Magazine that way.
The best part is that if you don’t see something you want you can usually get Kinokuniya to order it for you. They have a wide selection of titles but they tend to focus on the more mainstream and successful titles. They are not going to stock every Pachinko anthology magazine or very minor seinen title. But if you know when something is coming out they will order if for you and save you some shipping hassles.
Besides your normal array of otaku goodies Kinokuniya is also just a well stocked Japanese bookstore. They have your normal array of magazines, fiction, nonfiction, stationary, and various tchotchkes. They also have books in English that deal with a wide variety of Japanese related subjects. I find Kinokuniya a wonderful place to browse when I am in the area. Also penny pinchers can find what they will buy at Book-Off six months down the line by browsing Kinokuniya today.