As stores are larger it is easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for. Browsing is encouraged, shown with a typical scene of high-school students who read through entire series of manga standing quietly in the aisles. Another innovation cited for its success is the practice of shaving the edges off the pages of books using a special machine in order to make them appear newer. By offering a wide selection of books that appear like new at reduced prices, Book Off has aggressively targeted conventional bookstore chains, which since 1953 have been unable to discount new and near-new books and other media due to government regulations which enable a publisher's cartel.
Book Off is frequently cited as a rare example of a corporation that was able to grow during the so-called "lost decade" of economic stagnation that followed the collapse of the Japanese asset price bubble, through its use of innovative business strategies that are covered in the Japanese business press. It expanded from merely used books to used second-hand merchandise through its Hard Off stores and to the video rental market through Tsutaya.