Late last year, a minimalist bookstore called Bunkitsu opened in Japan and has made headlines for charging its customers an entree fee. The store’s first floor, which often features exhibits is free of charge to shoppers, but the visitors must pay a fee of ¥1,620 (£12, $15) if they wish to access the rest of the store, which boasts over 30,000 books and magazines. The entrance fee may seem off-putting at first, but it actually comes with some serious perks.
Once paid, the fee allows visitors to stay as long as they want in the store and it even features a cafe where people can enjoy their books and sip free tea and coffee, there’s even rooms available for people to study and work. This new kind of book store is the result of a collaboration between the companies Smiles, Morioka Shoten bookstore, and Yours bookstore, who have tried to come up with a new kind of bookstore that can compete with online retailers.
Despite its maverick way of doing business, the store has seen a steady stream of customers since it first opened. Many people have praised the idea though some have found the initial entrance fee to be a little to steep. Time will tell if the store has real staying power, but it certainly seems to be attracting plenty of business so far.