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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Enter Bunkitsu, more like a gallery than a bookstore | Books - The Japan Times

With its pay-to-enter system, eclectic lineup of books and artsy vibe, Bunkitsu shakes up the typical bookstore business model, as The Japan Times reports.
Calculated disorder: Bunkitsu’s shelves are curated by section into broad themes like ‘Travel’ or ‘History.’
Walk into this new Tokyo bookstore and at first glance you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped into an art gallery. With its elegant glass doors, spacious entryway, books displayed like exhibits on tables and captioned information on the walls, Bunkitsu is clearly no ordinary bookstore.

“That’s what we want people to think — that it’s an art gallery where they can encounter books,” says Hikaru Yoshino, the shop’s 27-year-old public relations officer.

Bunkitsu opened in December 2018 in Tokyo’s fashionable Roppongi district. The bookstore is unusual in that patrons can browse the 90 or so magazines in the reception area for free, but must pay ¥1,500 (about $14) to peruse its 30,000 or so titles on the second floor, where there is also a cafe.

Customers are able to relax in the airy upstairs reading areas and get free refills of tea or coffee provided by the cafe. As the cafe also serves lunch, book hounds can spend all day there if they wish to, without having to go in search of food...

The shelves are curated by section into broad themes like “Travel” or “History” but the books seem tangentially linked.

Lined up next to a history book on Lenin is a series of comic books set during the Russian Revolution. Books are piled haphazardly on tables: a comic book on top of a philosophy book on top of a novel, but they are all linked somehow — the color black, movies, food. Here, calculated disorder creates happenstance.

“We recognize that if you have a particular book in mind, it is difficult to find it quickly here. But finding a new book is a once in a lifetime encounter. We want that surprise to bring customers back again and again,” says Yoshino.

Source: The Japan Times