Page 1 of 1

Finding rare origami publications (Guide & Questions)

Posted: May 14th, 2020, 7:49 pm
by sattej
As I think anyone who has tried to go on the hunt for rare and out-of-print origami publications is already well aware, this can be a huge PITA. I've gotten to the point that I can find 'most' items if I really, really try, but honestly some items are way at the extreme end of the bell curve and I've run completely into a wall.

I am curious what strategies others might use, or if there are forums or methods that lend themselves to hunting down the really-hard-to-find stuff, or any advice in general.

I also thought I might share some of my own strategies which have served me well enough to have produced results before, to help others get out of these rabbit holes, if I can.

1. Identify a source publication.
You might already be starting your search with the author's name and publication title in hand, but maybe you only have a model title. If you are starting only from a model, you may need to Google search to find its host publication. Or, Gilad's site ( is an incredible offering to the origami community for his thorough and tireless efforts to reference authors, models, and publication sources.

2. Expansion of information set about the publication.
This might sound extraneous but in my experiences it is not. If you can't find a book right away with an author/title search on Amazon, that is a good indication that you will have to dive deeper to succeed, and that deeper dive will produce better results the more you know about it. Try to find out publication year, ISBN number(s), NCID number, or alternative/native language title. Normally an ISBN or NCID number is a 'bullseye' and that is a great way to search. But, some sources or sellers don't reference the ISBN number so this won't give you 100% of the field. One of the best search engines I have found for books to get this data is CiNii ( and it links to other resources like Webcat Plus ( & WorldCat (

3. Consider finding alternate language translations for titles and authors.
This is particularly true for Japanese folders, because the romanized translations of their names are only going to work for non-Japanese communities, sellers, or websites for example. Searching 'Tomoko Fuse' on (US) produces an entirely different result from searching 'Tomoko Fuse' on (Japan); but searching 布施知子 (author's name in native Japanese kanji) produces even still another set of search results. Titles can be just as important. It can be hard to get these characters exactly right, especially for people like myself that are Japanese-illiterate. (Edit) Discovered that Gilad has a curated list of authors' Japanese kanji character naming translations ( ... thors.html) which is awesome, again, from Gilad. Besides that you can try to use ISBN number to find a site which references the book, or hammer around on, or you can try Google Translate but it normally doesn't get it 100% right. The only way to know for sure is to see the name or title written in its native language, somewhere, to be sure that you have a 1-for-1 character match. Keeping an Excel file is a good way to keep track of and memorialize these match-ups once you painstakingly find them.

4. Start searching!
Using the information packet that you've put together, start searching against author name/title, ISBN number(s), publication date, and alternative language name/title. Pull up whatever you can find and see if copies are available. Note that a lot of these sites will operate in a different foreign currency type than what might be your home country's currency. A good workaround that is suitable for many of them is registration of a PayPal account, which will provide the exactly expected payment for the seller and convert and inform you of your home currency expenditure before completion of the order.

* Google, obviously (
* Amazon, as well--but also realize that different sellers may list on different national Amazon sites, and that not all of these countries are intrinsically linked together. I get different results with (US), .ca (Canada), (UK), .fr (France), .de (Germany), (Japan). It is helpful to consider the author's nationality in deciding which of these is a better fit.
* Amazon European Union Multi-Search ( - Can search all EU territory Amazon sites at one time
* eBay ( -- On "Item Location" be sure to select "Worldwide" and not just your local region for more results
* Nicolas Terry's Origami Shop (
* (Japan) Yahoo! Auctions ( - May need to order by proxy per Section 7 below
* (Japan) Mercari ( - May need to order by proxy per Section 7 below
* (Japan) Rakuten ( - May need to order by proxy per Section 7 below
* (Japan) Origami House (
* (Japan) Japan Origami Academic Society/JOAS (
* (Japan) Kosho Second-Hand Book Sellers Search (
* (Japan) Thoughts Imagine Multi-Search (
* (US) James Peake's Origami Shop (, this is a sister site to Nicolas Terry's
* (US) Paper Tree (

5. Be persistent.
If you found your book in great condition at favorable cost on your first search, that's awesome! I feel like that happens to me only 10% of the time. If you've found it but the cost is crazy, keep searching more exhaustively until you feel like you've tapped out all options. If you have, then, decide whether you are willing to shell out for it.. do consider that publications like this, especially out-of-print, are likely to become even more rare and possibly more expensive later. If you have totally failed to find the publication, don't despair. The nature of many of these marketplaces is that their inventory is dynamic and what sellers list or have on-hand varies, sometimes literally from one day to the next.

6. Understand your search difficulty and adjust accordingly.
If you have tried several times, over a few weeks perhaps, to find something and have come up empty handed, that is not a good sign but also doesn't mean you can't succeed. Generally this means that you are going to have to either keep searching over a long time period, or increase your frequency, or (ugh) both. None of Google, eBay, or Amazon seem to have a way to view historical records of sold items to get a feel for how often they come up, or what to expect to pay if they ever do. For the Japan marketplaces (Yahoo! Auctions & Mercari, mainly), there does exist a Japanese auction-tracking web site that provides excellent historical data on past/completed auctions, called Aucfree ( Regrettably this site is only accessible by Japan IP addresses.. so.. either you have to be in Japan, or you need to use a VPN to essentially 'tell' the website that you are in Japan, which if you already have a VPN that does this is super easy, and if not is a little bit of a PITA. One VPN which has such capability is Private Internet Access (PIA), they are fairly reputable and I use them myself.

7. Consider use of a proxy buying service.
Say, you've found your book! It's on, or Mercari, or Yahoo! Auctions. You try to purchase it, and, nope--this seller only ships to Japan (for example). Greeeeat. Now what? Well, you might not be dead in the water. Be aware that there exist proxy buying services, particularly for Japan I have found these to be essential. Such services can take your command/order to purchase, execute a bid or purchase on your behalf, and then receive the item to their own physical location. Then, it can be subsequently dispatched to your home country from the proxy buyer. Obviously this adds cost and overhead, but, sometimes it is what it is and if you really want that text, you're going to have to deal. There are a variety of such services, but the one which I use personally with respect to Japan is Buyee ( I've had positive experiences with them and they offer services like package consolidation (to group multiple individual items in preparation for a singular international shipment, for a fee--though it cuts down on shipping cost later) and do a great job with protective packaging (also for a fee).

[At time of this writing I have packages stuck there because of suspension of international delivery to the US, and they've been really cool about it and have suspended package storage fees, which was nice of them.]

** EDIT -- Not a plug per se, but, frankly I can't speak positively enough of Buyee. They are awesome. My packages got stuck there at the start of COVID-19 and I had a bunch of them. They held all accumulation of storage fees from March until October, when I finally was able to get them out of Japan (granted.. not cheap shipping yet). Actually it looks like they are STILL holding storage fees--I just got impatient and wanted my books out, so I had to go DHL route. On Buyee's side, it really showed such an above-and-beyond effort for them to store a bunch of items and, when they finally left Buyee's care, they were in great shape.

8. Ask for help.
That's what I am doing! In spite of all this effort, there are books I have come up absolutely empty handed to find. I would love to hear the community's insight. Examples of books that I have found functionally impossible to find, and would love to hear about if you have advice.

* FUJIMOTO Shuzo - 3D Origami ('Rittai origami')
* HUZITA Humiaki - Proceedings of the First International Meeting of Origami Science and Technology
* LAFOSSE, Michael G., Richard L. Alexander & Greg Mudarri - Origami Butterflies: A Field of Discovery Through a System of Design

Re: Finding rare origami publications (Guide & Questions)

Posted: May 14th, 2020, 7:53 pm
by OrigamiasaEnthusiast
Wow! I was just looking for Satoshi's works but trying not to have to figure how to convert to ship internationally (help anyone?) thanks!

Re: Finding rare origami publications (Guide & Questions)

Posted: May 14th, 2020, 8:05 pm
by sattej
OrigamiasaEnthusiast, can you check your PM's? Let's discuss off-line for a moment and I will help you out.

Re: Finding rare origami publications (Guide & Questions)

Posted: May 14th, 2020, 8:08 pm
by OrigamiasaEnthusiast

Re: Finding rare origami publications (Guide & Questions)

Posted: May 14th, 2020, 11:41 pm
by Gerardo
That was very detailed :o! Thank you sattej.

About the books you're looking, you could ask in the origami mailing list if one of them have one of those books and would like to sell it to you.

Hope that helps.

Re: Finding rare origami publications (Guide & Questions)

Posted: May 14th, 2020, 11:42 pm
by OrigamiasaEnthusiast
What is the mailing list? I have seen it mentioned a lot but don't know what it is....

Re: Finding rare origami publications (Guide & Questions)

Posted: May 14th, 2020, 11:58 pm
by Gerardo
Wow... as I'm writing this it says there are 121 guests visiting this thread!
OrigamiasaEnthusiast wrote:What is the mailing list? I have seen it mentioned a lot but don't know what it is....
I'll answer your question but please don't keep on asking about the mailing list here in sattej's thread, OK? I'd say it's not OK to divert the conversation of someone else's thread. You know?

Mailing lists are a form of communication by email where a single email message is sent to every person registered to that list. There's a good number of people registered to the origami mailing list, so if sattej sends his or her question about the books he or she's interested in, his or her message will arrive at all of their inboxes.

If you want to know more about the topic, I suggest you make a new thread asking about it or you can send me a message. My email address is gerardo(a)

Now let's continue with sattej's topic ;).

Re: Finding rare origami publications (Guide & Questions)

Posted: May 15th, 2020, 12:02 am
by OrigamiasaEnthusiast
I know what you mean, I was just trying to get a quick answer. I'll try not to do it any more.
Now I agree, lets continue with this wonderful topic! :wink:

Re: Finding rare origami publications (Guide & Questions)

Posted: May 15th, 2020, 8:34 am
by origami_8
Yes, asking on the Origami Mailing List might for rare to find publications is a possibility. ... fo/origami
It does have a big audience even though it got a little silent over the years.

Another possibility might be to contact Origami Societies (OrigamiUSA, BOS, CDO, Origami Deutschland, ...). Many of those have lending libraries that might hold some treasures. This way you might not be able to purchase the book, but you might at least able to have it for a while.
Some Societies (CDO comes to mind) also buy books in bulk to sell them at their conventions, sometimes not all copies get sold, so that they might even have something that is out of print still in stock.
If I remember correctly I saw the Fujimoto book for sale at the bookshop of the most recent CDO convention in Italy. To buy from such shops it might be necessary though to join the Association.

Re: Finding rare origami publications (Guide & Questions)

Posted: May 15th, 2020, 11:38 pm
by OrigamiasaEnthusiast
A quick google search tells me that The butterflies book is probably out of stock, discontinued, or just not easily available :? Well still keep trying...Your best bet might be on Ebay or something like that, a shop website. Well best of luck to you, hope you can find it [-o< , and I'll go on my merry way :-"
Also you might be able to try origamido studio's website or eventually visiting origamido studio, if you are close to origamido studio

Re: Finding rare origami publications (Guide & Questions)

Posted: May 16th, 2020, 4:28 am
by LeafPiece
It sounds like you want an actual physical copy to purchase and own, but have you tried the internet archive? They have some pretty obscure titles. The website works like a digital library.

Re: Finding rare origami publications (Guide & Questions)

Posted: October 17th, 2020, 5:33 pm
by sattej
Post bump. I edited the main post with key additions for search approaches including Kosho, Rakuten, Webcat Plus (Japan); CiNii, WorldCat, NCID numbers reference; Amazon EU multi-search; and searching eBay for 'Worldwide' instead of local mode.