One of my favorite people in the world (and partial originator of the ‘janicu’ nickname) came to New York City last week over Memorial Day Weekend. Besides our usual (the MoMA: all six floors, and then food), we visited Book-Off, which is at 49 W 45th St, just a a short walk from Grand Central.

This place is magical. Basically it is a used book store, but it’s a Japanese chain so there are a lot of Japanese books and manga there. There used to be a Book-Off about 10 minutes away from me in Hartsdale, NY but that was a short-lived venture – probably because there were a lot more books in Japanese than English and I don’t think very people really knew it was there. But this Book-Off, the one in NYC? It has plenty of English books. It has rows and rows of used DVDs and CDs in the front, a huge sale section in the back, magazines to one side, and then a floor below with Japanese books and manga, and an upstairs balcony with I think non-fiction (but don’t quote me because I was just glued to the fiction shelves, salivating and petting bindings). Also many books are on sale for $1. MANY MANY books. The books that are not on sale: about $2.50 for a paperback and $5 for a hardcover. It’s not too shabby. I also prefer it over the Strand when it comes to its selection of genre fiction: SF&F and Romance in particular. The Strand does have a bigger YA section and general fiction section, but I think Book-Off beats the Strand’s prices because all the books at Book-Off are used.

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You can open the drawers on the bottom of the shelves and there are more books!

Anyway, if you happen to be in New York City, I’m just saying this place exists.

15 thoughts on “Book-Off

  1. I’m so glad you told me about this place, Janice! And now that I’ve finally been to the Strand I need to go here and compare. I was pretty disappointed in The Strands SF/F section (though that’s probably a good thing, it saved me from getting more than 3 books from it). Of course I’m NEVER in this part of the series just because, so I may have to make a special trip.

    • That’s how I felt about the Strand. It is definitely skewed towards general fiction readers and not genre fiction readers. Except for YA, because that upstairs YA section is rather epic.

      • Yeah, the YA section was pretty great. Honestly I was a little disappointed in The Strand in general. In my mind it was bigger than Powell’s in Portland, but in reality it’s smaller. I should have realized this since it’s NYC and there’s such a commodity on space. Still awesome though.

  2. Nice bookstore! I wouldn’t mind checking this out because the books are so cheap. It’s good that they have a nice selection of SF&F books. How many did you end up getting? πŸ˜›

    • I was good, ONLY 3! πŸ˜› I probably could have stayed there for hours and bought more, but I didn’t want to make the people who were with me have to wait around.

      • Good job, you! What were the titles that you got? You can always go back by yourself. I like browsing bookstores by myself because other people always get impatient when they have to wait for me. It takes me ages to browse and sometimes, I don’t end up getting anything.

        • Yeah, me taking forever is why my husband doesn’t like going to the library with me anymore. The only person who can handle it is surprisingly my sister. She can spend a long time in the art section while I’m floating around in the fiction areas.
          I got the two Widdershins books by Ari Marmell and book 5 of the Raine Benares series (by Lisa Shearin) just because I didn’t have it and plan to keep reading the series.

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