Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Shopping for English Books

One thing I realized about my blogging is that I need to get into the habit of taking my camera with me every time I leave the house. Unfortunately, I haven't progressed from having the thought to performing the action. Until I do, I'm not going to show much more than static "result" shots.

Anyway, today, my husband and I made a trip to the best used book shop in Tokyo, Good Day Books. The main reason for us doing this was that we have about 50 books that I wanted to get rid of. We couldn't take them all at once but we loaded up our backpacks and headed to Ebisu. At Good Day Books, they will give you store credit for books you bring in though they won't accept just any book. In fact, they didn't take about 1/3 of the books we brought in because they already had them or they deemed them "too old". They will keep books you bring in that they won't accept but they won't give you credit for them so you don't have to lug them home if you don't want to.

If you have credit, you can buy used books for 100% credit. The only cash you have to pay is the sales tax. Used books without credit sell for relatively reasonable prices. I don't know what formula they use but the only book I bought which was not a textbook was Adaptation and Human Behavior which sells for $35.95 new on Amazon and the price at Good Day Books was 2,100 yen. Considering the mark-up on English books at new book shops like Kinokuniya and the fact that this book costs 4,841 yen on Amazon Japan, it's a pretty good deal. Books don't exactly suffer much of a drop in utility if they're used.

If you want to buy new books, you can ask them to order titles for you and use 20% of your credit toward the purchase price though I don't know what they charge for the exchange rate so it may or may not be a bargain. You can request that they look out for specific titles using a form on their web site if you want them to keep an eye out for a used copy. Since you aren't obliged to buy books you request, there's no harm in asking.

We weren't all that interested in acquiring more new books as we already have too many but we did want to investigate getting some teaching materials for my private lessons as well as for my husband to use at the school he works at. His school allows teachers to use any materials they like and has a rather limited library. Getting the books on credit is a bit like getting them free so we don't have to spend our cash on materials we're not being reimbursed for. It's more of an opportunity lost to buy other books in the future. Since the credit slips have an expiration date, we'd probably have to make an effort to use them up at some point if we didn't use them on texts.

It was a pretty nice time out because the weather was pleasant and there are places to sit outside of Ebisu station at the exit near the store. There are very limited amounts of public seating around Tokyo so we took advantage of the chance to hang out and have some Subway after shopping. Since it was breezy, the smokers were a lot less of a problem than usual which was a bonus.

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