ルビ付き和訳は、英文の下にございます。The Japanese translation with Ruby is below the English text.

Bookstores in New Style


1. There are no more bookstores near our train station
2. A memory of buying books
3. Fewer bookstores in Japan
4. Bookstore of a new style (1)
5. Bookstore of a new style (2)


1. There are no more bookstores near our train station

Do you have bookstores in your town?

Near my parents’ home in Saitama, there used to be bookstores on both sides of the train station. But the family running the bookstore on the South changed businesses to a real estate agent years ago.

And sadly, last year the one on the North also closed.

2.A memory of buying books

When I was young, there was almost always a bookstore in front of the station.

There were many people who would buy a book and read while they were on the train to work or school.

One summer, I read an Agatha Christy mystery each day for a month.  When I finished work in the center city of Tokyo, I would buy a book at a bookstore near the subway station. Then I read t during my rides. It was 20 minutes in the subway and 50 minutes on another railway line. Even when I couldn’t finish in the train, I couldn’t wait for the next day and kept reading in bed. It was hard to get up in the morning, but I was young. I got by with only a few hours of sleep.

3. Fewer bookstores in Japan

This March, to our dismay, a bookstore in Nippori Station closed.

I had thought they were doing well. Nippori is a station from which Narita Express Trains leave. Therefore, I had made it a rule to buy a couple books to read in the airplane on the day of departure. There were other people pulling suitcases in the store. This is a transfer station of JR and Keisei Railroad, and it seems that people were incessantly buying books.

Now there are fewer city bookstores in Japan. The number of bookstores has been halved in the last couple of decades.

Some of the following reasons may not be peculiar to Japan, but for example, now there are fewer people to buy traditional books as the use of the Internet became prevalent. Big chain used bookstores have been thriving since the 1990’s.

Sales of online bookstores are rapidly increasing, partly because people living in remote areas and elderly people favor them. On the other hand, many traditional bookstores are located in the most expensive part in town, very close to the station. Therefore, the rent is getting so high and it may not pay to continue business.

However, recently, we found two bookstores in a new style. In the future, bookstores like these may be more common and popular!

4. Bookstore of a new style (1)

An image of a bookstore
Storefront of “Ho-Rin-Do”, a bookstore sharing space with a dollar store

I just said there are no bookstores near the station where my parents live. However, there is one at the station right next to ours.

It is one of the well-known chain of bookstores. They rent a third of the space to a 99-cents store (it’s called 100-yen shop). You can pay for a book or some paper cups at the same cashier.

First we thought combined space for a bookstore and a 100-yen shop was a little unusual. However, the people in the area appear to be comfortable with it. In the 100-yen shop section, they cram a lot of cute, convenient gadgets for kitchen and home and snacks. It was fun to look into the section of the 100-yen store after picking up a book.

Some American bookstores sell candy, pen cases, back packs and water bottles. It feels like that.

We don’t know whether their business is good or not, but we hope that bookstore-100-en shop will continue to be open.

5. Bookstore of a new style (2)

A view in the Takeo City Library, Saga Prefecture
A view from the second floor of Takeo City Library. There is only one other point at which visitors are allowed to take photos

In Takao-shi (city), Saga-ken (prefecture), there is a lovely “public” library.

It’s run by private booksellers entrusted to run the place. Therefore, this library has books to lend and books for sale, and also a counter to lend and a counter with a cashier. Labels of different colors on the shelves show which types of books they contain.

There was a fancy stationery section like Kinokuniya Bookstore in New York. There was also space for reading and studying where you can sit and stay. You can opt to have some coffee at a café inside and read the book you paid for.

This library was opened in 2013. It created a big stir because of the cool design and the novelty of having a bookstore and a café inside. Many people have visited, even from other prefectures. The bookstore business says that the deficit has decreased each year. Takeo-shi’s was their first attempt to run a library, and since then they opened three other libraries in other prefectures. Those ones don’t have a deficit.

Its evaluation as a library may be different, but as a bookstore, Takeo City Library is very impressive with the intellectual atmosphere, beautiful rooms and the space for reading and studying.

We hope various bookstores in new style will stir interest in people who didn’t have the habit of going to bookstores in the past.

External Links

[End of the English text]



1. 駅前えきまえほんがなくなった
2. ほんったおも
3. ほんほんっている
4. あたらしいほんかたち(1)
5. あたらしいほんかたち(2)
































  • 英文えいぶん最後さいこうをごさんしょうください。


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