Crafty Japanese Book Covers


Do you guys cover your books? I do. Well I try to.

When I was younger, usually before the school year begins, I love spending an entire day just wrapping up my books in plastic. As years go by, I developed an art to it. There’s got to be a perfect grade of plastic that you can easily wrap your book with and then easily slip it off when you need to sell or give it away. There’s also a way to place the tape in a way that it doesn’t damage the book at any cost. It was an awesome process, I tell ya. However, adult life has robbed me of this leisurely task and so I make a point to take good care of my books especially when I’m traveling or in transit.

And then my recent trip to Japan happened and I visited bookstores left and right. At first, they’d ask me, “Do you want us to take the vinyl off your book?” Sure. No problem. And then they ask, “Do you want us to place a cover on your book?” How could I honestly say ‘No’?

I don’t know why this never happened to me before. Maybe because I never paid attention or that I probably bought books at bookstores that doesn’t do this stuff. But since I really managed to immerse in Tokyo this time around, I stopped by a lot of bookstores and at some point I was happy collecting all sorts of book covers.

Left is from Toranoana and right is from Yurindo. Toranoana has the same design to cover B5 dojinshi!

For anime and manga fans, the best place to get book covers are in Animate and Toranoana. Animate doesn’t offer it all the time but it wouldn’t hurt to ask if you can get a cover. Animate’s cover though is a convenient plastic cover, the kind where it’s conveniently sized for your manga size and all you have to do is slip it in. It’s nice since it keeps the cover. But when you’re reading BL, it’s annoying that the people in front of you KNOW you’re reading BL.

I love this map feel of Bunkyodo’s book cover. <3

I prefer the recycled paper covers, the kind that does its job of protecting your books while you read it in your travel as well as giving you enough privacy to hide your book from onlookers. Also, these book covers also come in varying designs. Also, the cashier does a lovely speedy trick in covering your books to the point that it’s almost inspiring to do this with any fancy sheet of gift wrap when I get home.

This is my favorite cover which is from Books Ruhe in Kichijoji shotengai. Isn’t the design adorable?

Stores vary in terms of design. My favourites are Bunkyodo’s, Toranoana, Books Ruhe in Kichijoji, and Haruya in Nakano Broadway.

I cannot suggest enough to get this when you’re in Japan, although at some point, you might think it’s definitely a waste of paper. To a degree it is and to be honest, at one point, you can tell the cashier that they don’t have to give you a cover. That saves the guilt and the great thing about this is you can reuse the covers for when you’re travelling and lugging your comics around. At least for me, it saved some of my new comics from getting a crease while I’m lugging them around from airport to airport.

If you go to Loft, you might even find an array of book covers that last longer. My favourite, and inspiration for creating my own book cover is Beahouse’s Freesize book cover. IT IS AWESOME! Just catch this video and let Paul convince you of its awesomeness!



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6 thoughts on “Crafty Japanese Book Covers”

  • LOL I can totally relate to what you said about covering one’s books with plastic and discovering the “art” on how to do it best… XD;;

    I still use plastic to cover my mangas. *^^* It’s really time-consuming, so I would usually wait after a few months before I cover all the manga volumes I’ve accumulated. However, with normal plastic, I can’t bring any BL manga I own for some leisure reading outside our house, so I think the book covers offered in Japan is a work of genius… I wish they’ll start selling them in the Philippines. :<

  • When I was in highschool, it was a requirement to use book covers for textbooks/ notebooks. Although is not something I use these days, a reusable book cover sounds pretty neat.

  • I for one was so baffled by the tremendous amounts of waste Japan
    produces that save for the very first book I bought (the first volume of Asano Atsuko’s ‘Battery’ series… ah, the memories), when I hadn’t really
    understood what the lady meant when she offered me a cover, I
    always refused paper covers in bookstores. I do love the idea of
    covering my books though! I brought with me from Japan a few cute cloth covers (in
    different sizes) that are perfect for protecting both my books and privacy.

  • In my case, I most of the time I asked the cashier no need to do the covers & not to take out the plastic…since I needed to stuff in my luggage & I kinda feel the unopened plastic wrapper(its called シュリンク btw,) is safer than the paper covers when carrying it home!!(If I live in Japan, I’ll ask for covers for sure)
    Also, I enjoy taking out the wrappers at home!! hahahaha!!!

    • Sometimes they also call ‘shrink’ (for shrink wrap) ビニル (vinyl) as well. XD

      I understand what you mean and if my stay was shorter, I’d probably not do this as well. But I’m the kind who would like to read my manga right away! I have low EQ when it comes to these things and to be honest, I don’t like taking out the plastic. XD めんどくさいやん!すぐに漫画を読みたい!Also, the book covers are useful to me now since I take some of the manga I have to read outside my house. 😀 And look at some of the covers! So cuute! *3*)

      • Ahaha I didn’t know they also call it vinyl!! Thank you I learned something new!!

        It was really hard for me to not to open before going home…but I guess my short stay helped me to get distracted on other things. (I enjoyed watching all those くだらないTVstuffs)

        Yes, the covers are cute!! I kinda got distracted & said yes on placing the cover, so I have 2 book covers from Yurindo when we went<3 I'll keep it coz not only the design, the paper quality is nice!!

        My regret is from the last stop bookstore at Narita, I bought 2 mangas to kill time coz my flight was delayed & they took out the shrink but I said no to the cover…I should have asked for it since they are fast in placing those covers!! ;^^

        Also, maybe you already have seen it, but look!! They even have contest on bookstore book covers!

        It is just so pretty that maybe its nice to say YES to book covers just for collecting. XD XD XD

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