As I mentioned in a past post, for those studying a foreign language it’s great to supplement online resources with real paper magazines and books. I prefer to buy my Japanese reading material in somewhere like Kinokuniya (in New York and California), though at best I’ll be able to travel there once or twice a year, so sometimes I purchase stuff on online retailers like Amazon Japan.
Of course, the biggest drawback of buying books online from Japan is the shipping costs, which can amount to a big chunk of cash.
Fortunately Club Japan is offering a “0 Yen Shipping campaign”, which applies to most parts of America, England, Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Germany. This is good for books, magazines, CD/DVD (including Blu-ray), and Nintendo DS games. The only shipping type available for the discount is airmail (航空便), and other shipping types are excluded.
Although the advertising banner screams out “0 Yen!!”, as you might expect there is a bit hidden in the fine print.
What this really means it the ‘base shipping cost’ (基本料金), which typically ranges from 400 Yen to 1600 Yen is reduced to 0 Yen. The catch is that the ‘additional fee’ (加算料金) still applies, which is 270 Yen for books, and 200 Yen for CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/Nintendo DS. These translate to around $2.30, and $1.70 with current exchange rates. There are some other exceptions (magazine subscriptions don’t apply, etc.), so make sure you read all the text on the site before purchasing anything.
In spite of the fact shipping isn’t really free, it’ still a great deal, especially for anyone who doesn’t have easy access to Japanese products.
The have a specific page that gave some details here, and has a few examples to show how much you would save.
I haven’t actually bought anything from the site during the campaign period, as it just started yesterday, but if I do make any purchases I’ll let you know if there are any extra gotchas.