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The future?

Posted by Dave Bull at 7:45 PM, March 14, 2013 [Permalink]

On one of the trips I made to downtown Tokyo last month, I passed through the Jimbocho book district (sometimes referred to as the Kanda district).

Over the more than thirty years that I have been visiting this place, it has changed hugely. It used to be nothing but book shops and other businesses related to publishing and printing, but for many years now sports shops have been encroaching on the zone, and at the eastern end of the area, these have taken over completely, driving out all the book dealers.

Most of the places where I used to browse for prints are now gone, to the extent that it is a bit of a surprise when I see some of the familiar signs still there. The shop in this photo, although not a place I frequent much, is perhaps one of the most well known, situated as it is in a very prominent location on the main road.

But look what has opened up next door ...

And there we have the next stage in the future of this district, I guess. The sign on the right says "Edo era books, maps, and ukiyo-e prints". The sign on the left you can all read ...

Which one will still be here in a few more years?




Added by: ThomasR on March 14, 2013 9:07 PM

The prints shop I would say : video games, as most digital products, are more and more sold online(I haven't bought one from a physical store since a few years now).

And even if I shop on your site for my own prints, there is still something to a physical store I would think. Maybe not for a lot of them, but that's more than what can be said for video games.

Added by: Dave on March 14, 2013 9:24 PM

Actually, it's not a video game shop, but a 'hobby/art' shop. They deal in game figurines. Won't hurt to link to their website I guess.

As for the 'online/real shop' dichotomy, I think that more and more, consumers are going to want places to go where they can see physical products, whether or not subsequent purchases will be made online.

As I have written before on this blog, I am certain that there is a Mokuhankan shop in the future (if we can get this business through these infant steps).

Added by: Daniel Vance on March 17, 2013 11:02 PM

That may be a very "dangerous" area for me. While not Games Workshop particularly, miniature tabletop skirmish games and block prints are pretty much what consume all of my extra money. In response to the question, it is hard to say. In the states, both are niche hobbies. But in looking at things like Kickstarter, while there has been one wildly successful block printing project, there are miniature projects galore (probably a dozen going on currently) and the biggest hit over 2 million. Miniature games of all types have been fairly successful, and one of the aspects of it is having a place to play, so while they are niche enough to make it hard for many game stores to stay open in one place (we have 2 in New Orleans), it does seem like the game store (which doubles as a space to play games in most instances) has some staying power.


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