Book Off

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Book Off (Japanese: ブックオフ) is Japan’s biggest chain of second hand bookstores. It is operated by Book Off Corporation Limited. The first Book Off store opened in May, 1990. The first franchisee Book Off store opened in Nov, 1991. The success of the business expanded to 917 stores in Japan and 14 stores abroad (8 in US, 3 in France, 2 in Korea, and 1 in Canada). Book Off sells books including comic books, magazines, and novels, and also sells CDs, DVDs, and Game software. Books are grouped by genres, writers, and prices. The overseas Book Off stores sell second hand books from Japan and also from its own country. Book Off not only sells the second hand books, but also buys the books from customers. For that reason Book Off’s theme copy is “お売りください” which means “Please, sell us your book”. The company uses this copy rather than ”We buy your book” to show respect to customers.

Some Book Off chains, especially ones abroad, have various signboard designs, but still they share the symbol colors of Book Off which are yellow, blue, and red. Book Off has its mascot "Yomuyomukun (Mr. Yomu-yomu)" holding a book in his hands. "Yomu (読む)" in Japanese means "read". Another uniqueness of Book Off is the employees’ loud greeting. Employees shout “いらっしゃいませ! (irashaimase! : welcome!)” when customers enter, and "ありがとうございました! (arigatou gozaimasita! : thank you!)” when customers leave the shop. Book Off chain stores abroad also greet customers with Japanese.

From 1999 Book Off Corporation Limited started to expand the business into other second hand stores. B-Kids, B-Sports, B-Style, B-Life and B-Select cover second hand baby goods, children wear, sports goods, ladies’ and men’s wear, interior goods, and accessories respectively. After the first B-Kid store opened in Apr, 1999, now there are 26 B-Kids, 32 B-Style, 24 B-Sports stores in Japan. Book Off charges about 81% of the business and the other type of stores charge 19% of the entire sales.

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