[HOW TOs] Buy Japanese Magazine and books not normally found on Malaysian bookshelves

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Save for AV porn magazine (which you can actually buy from certain road side vendors!) and anything other than magazine and books, I can say basically the following method can be used universally.

I am from Malaysia and whilst Kinokuniya has some rather nice Japanese magazines, they don't always stock everything you might be interested in. Say for example, NHK Stera. Or the Ryoma-Den photobooks and such. You can always buy from online, like Amazon Japan, HMV, etc but the cost is a tad higher thanks to postage. If they're out of stock, you can get agents to help locate and buy those stuff from auction in Japan auction or Japan-only addresses e-commerce sites, but the fees plus postage plus price plus markup will quite possibly shock you into oblivion. So if you're in Malaysia, and if you really want that Ryoma-Den photobook or any Japanese magazine not found on the shelves (as I said save for those AV porn stuff), and you don't want to use credit card to buy online, etc, where then do you go?

I am sure there are some specialist shops but for me, since there's the store called Kinokuniya there, my first step is to just enquire with them. Almost always they may not have the magazine you're looking for. But it doesn't hurt to ask if they can order for you, since they have a big brother at Kinokuniya Japan. However the price will be about 30% higher, taking into account the fact that the magazine probably is flown here.

And from my experience, Kinokuniya Malaysia is friendly, helpful and quite knowledgeable with quick responses although be prepared to wait 3 weeks for the item to arrive, if they have stock.

So here's my experience in ordering the NHK Stera 27/11-03/12 issue.

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1. I know for a fact NHK Stera is not sold in Kinokuniya because they tell me so. Since I can't possibly pronounce Japanese titles, I decided to write an email. You can however call them if you want to, make sure you say "Please transfer my call to your Japanese books department" because there is a big Japanese book department there.

2. Tel : 03-21648133. Email (General) is BUT since we are talking about Japanese books dept, you can straight email to  (even if it ends with jp I have a feeling it is in Malaysia since all names in Malaysia and they can write in English)

3. Basically what do you write in the email or even when calling?

a. If it is a book, you can quote both ISBN number found in Amazon Japan or similar for that book. With that the title and all info can be easily retrieved from their side.

b. If it is a magazine, I think there is a number similar to ISBN but in another name. Again you can find that number in the magazines listed in such sites.

c. Or just quote or write the name in Romaji with a link to the cover which you can find in such sites.

4. They will usually reply within 2 days since Japanese books dept is a tad slower than the usual ones.

5. If they do confirm reservation/order, there would be a reservation/order number so do remember that. If by phone, you will be asked if you like notification by SMS. I like SMS notification because immediately they will SMS you with details of the order and order no.


6. Item arrives. If you ordered through email, they will notify you by email. If you said SMS, you will receive an SMS asking you to collect and again price confirmation.

7. For Japanese books/magazines, please collect from Kinokuniya Japanese Books dept (hidden at the back)at KLCC, 4th floor, Kuala Lumpur. There's one counter there, which you can pay there or pay elsewhere if you like. Quote your order number. I have a feeling you can ask them to deliver to you, with additional fee (postage).


YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO BUY. So let's say you have the book at hand, you ask them to open the packaging and you don't like what you see, well, just walk further away and just put it on one of the shelves. I know, kinda bad to do that but hey, you didn't pay deposit so no need to buy at all.

8. Please keep your receipt. If you're student, give it to a working person since it is tax deductable.

That's about it! It is pretty painless even if a tad slow. Like my NHK Stera, I was informed by email Kinokuniya Japan ran out of stock. So I thought it is gone case, and then they said they will check with supplier and I assume NHK Stera publication house or some place. I had little hope in that but right to the dot after 3 weeks, I received an email said please come and collect. I went immediately and voila, the same magazine! Nicely packed as well. And the price was RM19 something, so it was technically RM5 more than original conversion.

Same goes for Ryoma-Den photobook. The price is RM40-00 more. And since the book is heavy, you can take it as postage fee.

So remember, if you wish to buy a Japanese magazine or book that you know is not on the shelves of bookshops and do not wish to go through online sale, just call or email Kinokuniya and see if they can help. I am told our Kinokuniya offers excellent service and I must say, I have to agree. Not all Kinokuniya offers the same sort of service though, so anywhere out of Malaysia, just enquire. After all, one call or one email isn't that expensive.

I personally recommend you to buy your books and magazines or any language at Kinokuniya. All their books are properly packaged, there is often a 20% discount tag on certain books, the staff may not be the most knowledgeable but they're helpful.

A funny anecdote. I wrote about NHK Stera and the reply I got was a confirmation of the issue I wanted and in it the staff put a link to the magazine and that link is actually a Masha fansite with the cover and scans of the said magazine. I thought that was rather funny.

However, if you want fast, the best is online shops. They use EMS and it takes only 3 days to the dot to reach Malaysia.


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