Thursday, July 2, 2015

Kinokuniya Bookstore

This weekend I visited a new-to-me bookshop in midtown Manhattan, Kinokuniya. It's the US flagship of a Japanese chain, and it was fun.

Kinokuniya is three floors of books and gifts and food. The ground floor is a conventional, if stylish and somewhat specialized, English-language bookstore filled with an assortment of fiction and nonfiction. But the selection leans sophisticated, with highbrow fiction and offerings I haven't seen elsewhere. For example, they have a beautiful illustrated book of Liberty fabrics through the years, a big selection of Asian cookbooks, and even a book on doing your own Hello Kitty nail art. The fiction selection includes a lot of small press stuff too.

The basement is filled with stationery, toys, craft books, magazines, childrens' books and more, lots of it in Japanese. There's also a selection of language-learning books if you want to learn. They sell beautiful papers, maneki neko, greeting cards and other little items, including more Hello Kitty plush and accessories.
The third floor contains a huge selection of manga in English and Japanese, an impressive superhero comic book selection and anime videos and toys. There are also some more upscale gifts like handmade leather wallets, beautiful chopsticks and tableware, and a cafe serving Japanese bentos, sandwiches and snacks. Unfortunately I ate lunch before coming to Kinokuniya or I would have tucked into a breaded-chicken bento that looked fantastic.

Located in Bryant Park, Kinokuniya is easy to get to and well worth the trip. I'll be back!