Review: Kinokuniya Bookweb Service

Recently Kinokuniya promoted a  free shipping day.  Anything ordered on their Bookweb  site (kinokuniya.com/us) could be shipped for free with in the US.  While we are lucky and have a physical location here in NYC, it isn’t always convenient to run down from the burbs.  I used the site once before to purchase the latest Lolita Sewing Book (乙女のソーイングBOOK 3) which I doubted they would have on the shelves in the city.  That went well, so I couldn’t miss out on the free shipping opportunity.

kinokuniya free shipping offer june 2013

Their website has undergone many improvements over the last few years.  But I think they still have a ways to go to compete with the larger online book retailers.  They are the top dog when it comes to the niche on Japanese literature here in the States.  But what I found myself doing was opening two tabs in my browser; one to look up the ISBNs for the books I want on Amazon.jp and the second to use the advanced search form of Kinokuniya to add the books to my order.  On Bookweb most of my keyword searches were unsuccessful or my attempt at keying in the appropriate name in kana/kanji were not right.  Amazon was both more forgiving and easier to search.

On the free shipping day the site was also not performing well in terms of speed.  So I received several timeout errors from their server.  I was determined to complete my purchase and stuck with it to the end.  But my guess is many other people would have given up.

Their shipping service is great.  The package arrived very promptly.  They packaged the books well using good thick paper to keep them from shifting around inside the box.  I also signed up for their membership program some time ago, which meant on top of the free shipping I received 10% off my purchase.

All in all I will definitely use the service again.  It is the easiest way to get my hands on some of the most esoteric kawaii mooks and other books from Japan.  In fact there is a mook from one of my favorite brands Milk that I am coveting currently.  If I had to give Kino a rating, right now I give them a 3 out of 5 stars for easy of use on the site and 5 out of 5 stars for access to hard to come by Japanese publications.

loving kinokuniya bookweb service

And with that said, now onto the goodies I got: the latest Gothic & Lolita Bible, Angelic Pretty Museum mook with totebag, and Baby, the Stars Shine Bright stationary set.

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Stationary Set

The best part about this item?  It is listed as Out of Stock on Kino’s site.  But they allow you to add it to your shopping cart anyway and will research if they can get it for you regardless.  In this case, they got back to me within 24 hours saying they are able to get it (despite the Out of Stock listing) and automatically added it to my order.  You can’t beat that!

baby the stars shine bright staionary set

btssb stationary and cosmetics bag

I debated ordering the stationary set and my initial gut reaction was right.  It isn’t the highest quality promotion around especially for the price once you add the markup for getting it out of Japan.  If it wasn’t for the fact that it is from Baby {I am a brand whore} and has their fabulous prints I would pass; the quality of the materials used is mediocre.  Alas, I’m a sucker for the Strawberry Letters print and so I will absolutely put the set to good use.  Small post-it notes come in very handy when doing Japanese homework so those will most likely be the first item to go.  Not sure what to do with the book cover yet.  Might cut it up and do a DIY project of some sort. We shale see.

Angelic Pretty Museum Mook & Totebag

This was a no-brainer – MUST HAVE IT.  And yep, it is pretty much fantastic.  The tote bag is a vinyl material, which I thought I might not like, but I do.  Means it can easily be wiped clean and put to some thorough use.  I also thought I would like it in one of the pastel color ways, but black is awesome.  I matched it with a sax blue coordinate already and it added a nice additional layer to the overall look.

angelic pretty sugary carnival tote bag

angelic pretty logo on mook packaging

angelic pretty sugary carnival tote detail

inside the angelic pretty museum e-mook

Sweet Dreams, Sheri