Sunday, November 23, 2014

[Update 2] Kinokuniya Bookstore in Seattle

After returning to Seattle from studying in Seoul over the summer, I noticed that Kinokuniya has added a Kpop section! I first blogged about the little selection of Korean Jpop here and here. This is really exciting because I haven't found a store that sells Kpop albums anywhere on the West Coast, besides Burnaby and LA. Upstairs on the second floor of this bookstore, there are three mini bookshelves of both really recent and older Kpop albums, and of popular and not-so-popular artists.
Artists include Block B, BAP, IU, Lee Hi, Boyfriend, 2NE1, Got7, Speed, BESTie, TTS, Boys Republic, MIB...the list goes on! They had several copies of Infinite's Be Back album then, but when I visited again in early November, they were all gone.
The prices are a little high, considering the shipping fee and that Kinokuniya is just generally more expensive. I'd say they're reasonable though, like all the Infinite albums are maybe $5 or so more than what I paid for online, and I think Be Back was roughly $10 more, at $29.99.
There are also two display areas of unofficial goods, including light sticks, rubber coin purses, wallets, pencil cases, book bags, folders, and more of the really developed boy bands, like Big Bang, SHINee and Super Junior.
The Korean Jpop section has also expanded, with albums from artists like SNSD, Big Bang, Super Junior, Donghae and Eunhyuk, SHINee, 2AM, 2NE1, U-Kiss, Rainbow, DBSK and After School.
Also as I was leaving the bookstore and passing through Uwajimaya, I was so thrilled to find the drink I fell in love with in Seoul, Milkis! And I didn't even know there were other flavors besides original!
I went back again on November 22nd, and the Kpop area has changed, yet again! Upstairs, there is now a magazine rack display for Kpop albums, so it's much easier to see (before they were just like books on a shelf, but at ground level). There are also albums on top of the mini bookshelves, all of which line the borders of the second floor. Then the center now displays Jpop, with half of the table dedicated to AKB48 and the other half for Arashi. I am so sorry for the blurry photo...I was in such a rush because shoppers were judging me for taking photos. The labels I made are you can vaguely see, Block B's Jackpot is in the 'Unofficial Goods' section and a Super Junior bag is the the 'Kpop CD Display.' There was also a SHINee photobook for around $46 (I know nothing about SHINee goods, but just throwing it out there that they also carry nice photobooks).
Here is a closer look at the row of Kpop CD displays. I am so impressed with their collection!

Since Infinite F released their debut Japanese single on November 19th, I asked if the store will be getting any version of the album. The worker told me that new albums usually take one month to arrive, and that the supplier just gives them whatever, so which version(s) the store will receive is unknown, and they don't have any indication of the price range. But you can leave your email or phone number with them and they can contact you when the album arrives! Though it's obviously faster (and cheaper) to order online, and purchasing from many online shops counts towards music charts, I'm still so thrilled that new album releases are coming to Seattle!

Also on the wall by the cash register is a sign saying posters are $10.99...I've never seen Kpop posters here before! But they had an official (at least I think it's official) F(x) Red Light poster, and a small, unofficial Beast poster.

I can't wait to see how else Kinokuniya will expand and spread the joy of Kpop to Seattleites!

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