I see there are many different words for bookstore: 本屋, 書店, 書肆, 書籍商 and even ブックストー. What is the difference between all of these bookshops?

I guess the most common word is 本屋, and ブックストー must be a slightly "cooler" equivalent (I hear that Japanese people, especially young ones, like to use such English borrowings because they sound more modern and "cool"). But I'm not sure about the other words. Also, could you please comment on the opinion, or rather observation, about the use of English borrowings. Does ブックストー really sound fancier than 本屋?

Thank you!


1 Answer 1


「ブックストー」 should be 「ブックストア」 for the word: bookstore. And I am not sure if 「ブックストア」 sounds fancy or not, because I would not use ブックストア or ブックショップ for bookstore. The name with "romaji style bookstore" should be ブックセンター. The most famous one is 八{や}重{え}洲{す}ブックセンター, which is located close to Tokyo Station.

  • 本屋{ほんや} normally implies a bookstore which is selling books, stationery, etc. at a building that actually exists. It should be called brick and mortar in English.
  • 書店{しょてん} can be used for online booksellers, bookstores that have physical presence, and publishing companies such as 秋田{あきた}書店{しょてん}, which is famous for selling baseball manga like 「ドカベン」.

I have seldom seen 書肆{しょし}. However, 書肆{しょし} seems to be also called 書林{しょりん} by 精選版 日本国語大辞典. I see bookstores selling mainly old books have 書林{しょりん} in their name.

A similar name 書房{しょぼう} is used for both bookstores and publishing companies. A famous one is 早川{はやかわ}書房{しょぼう}, which mainly publishes mystery, sci-fi and non-fiction.

  • brick and mortar??
    – Jack Bosma
    Sep 26, 2019 at 11:27
  • @JACK Thanks for carefully reading and fixing spell mistake. Sep 26, 2019 at 11:51
  • stationary じゃなくて stationery ね
    – chocolate
    Sep 26, 2019 at 11:51
  • ついでに nearby は前置詞にならないのよ・・・
    – chocolate
    Sep 26, 2019 at 11:55
  • What's the difference between "at a building that actually exists" for 本屋 and "that have physical presence" for 書店?
    – Mauro
    Sep 26, 2019 at 13:36

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