What you tend to get with a paper dictionary is better editing and much easier to read entries. The down side is they are bulky to carry and slow to use compared to electronic methods. However I can’t do without them. Although I prefer an electronic dictionary, a paper version can sometimes be more useful; not least in that it’s easier to search for something that you’re not quite sure about and more satisfying to browse. I have two I would recommend.
Oxford Starter Japanese Dictionary
Oxford University Press
This is a good first dictionary. It does use kana to list Japanese entries which can be difficult at first but the sooner you learn kana the better. It also gives the kanji if you want to try using them. The biggest feature of this dictionary are the usage notes. In English to Japanese it will give pointers on idioms and phrases so that you can avoid a word for word un-natural translation. Most entries also have example sentences. There are additional usage notes and basic grammar in a central section.
A very useful dictionary.
Kondansha Kanji Learner’s Dictionary
Jack Halpern, (Kondansha International)
To learn kanji you can’t do better than this dictionary.
This dictionary has several methods of searching. The traditional Radical lookup method; an On Kun index, so if you know the pronunciation you can find the kanji (of course the number of homonyms is amazing); and the method by which the dictionary is organised — the SKIP method. The SKIP method classifies Kanji by pattern and stroke count of the sub-patterns. So its fairly easy to break down an unknown kanji and find it. Common mistakes are listed at the end of some entries to point you at the correct entry. There’s also an interesting listing of characters based on their frequency of use in newspapers.
The entries all have a stroke by stroke order diagram to help you learn to write it. The pronunciation entries are in romaji not kana. Meanings are in English. With each kanji there are several compounds with the kanji entry in different positions in the compound not just as the first character.