Why are Japanese CDs so expensive?
Think of that cool Japanese CD you recently picked up online.
You could have picked it up for an estimated 60-80% less.
In fact, if you look at nearly every Japanese CD you have in your home that you purchased on eBay, Amazon.com, Discogs, or other re-seller sites, you could have those for a fraction of the price you paid.
If you physically walked into a store in Tokyo or Osaka.
Ok… well, maybe not that simple.
But, the reality is, most Japanese CDs you buy online today, are offered to you at a significant markup. The price you see for Japanese CDs on eBay for example, will usually include a lot of man-in-the-middle costs in the price: eBay fees alone, depending on a seller’s business model, take up anywhere from 15 to about 50% of a seller’s revenue from a sale. That- is a cost you are paying- it’s included in the price of the CD. Then, there are Paypal fees the seller also must account for, when pricing their items. This is all before we even consider their profit margin which, in most cases, will be at the very least, 20-30% and often as high as 200-300% (a CD which cost them $10 in Japan, they may sell for $60-70).
There are a number of other costs, fees, and adjustments that go into the price of a Japanese product offered on a re-seller site.
Until now, the only way to bypass all these costs and pick up those beautiful Japanese products, was to actually fly to Japan, and engage in the shopping spree of your life. Mind you, once you figure in the cost of flights to Tokyo, the surreal cost of hotels in Japan, and even basic costs like dining in Tokyo, this option may not seem all that practical.
However, a recently launched online service now enables you to do just that-access the domestic Japanese marketplace, from the comfort of your own home. We’re not talking about access to vendors based in Japan who are offering their goods on eBay. Those are re-sellers, and we’ve just covered the no longer necessary additional costs you incur when you purchase from them. We are however talking about giving you access directly to local vendors in Japan- offering their items to people living in Japan. Thereby, giving you access to the same prices you’d see if you lived in Japan.
Mind you, there is always a catch.
Imagine walking into a record or book store in Japan.
If your first instinct would be to try to look for a George Harrison record, in the «George Harrison» section, you’d be out of luck. Why? Well, you’re in Japan. There will not be a George Harrison section. There will however be a ジョージ・ハリスン section (that is, George Harrison, written in Japanese). Similarly, (we hope) you wouldn’t approach a store clerk and begin a conversation in your own language (be it Chinese, Russian, English, German or other) asking them where you can find a certain item. As you’re in Japan, everything will generally be in Japanese.
Kupiku.com however, has invested extensively in making it easier to find Japanese CDs and other products on Japanese marketplaces, without the knowledge of Japanese language. Kupiku provides live chat support in English: their staff will be happy to instantly provide you a link to any items you’re seeking (just like finding a clerk in a shop in Tokyo who speak English, and would point you to the section of the store you’re looking for). Additionally, while searching for Japanese items using Roman characters (English text, for example) will have very limited results, there are a number of effective methods one can use to find virtually any Japanese product, without knowing it’s Japanese name: if searching for a record, CD, DVD, Video Game, or similar media products- try searching using the catalog number, or barcode (known also as the UPC/EAN/JAN), or even- the ASIN, if you know it.
Ultimately, it simply no longer makes sense to continue paying two or three times more than you need to for Japanese CDs or other products by using re-seller websites, when you can access the same prices you would if you lived in Japan (and an exponentially larger selection) via Kupiku.com. Buying direct, simply makes more sense.