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Thread: Where to buy Japanese manga

  1. #1
    MH Senpai 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member kirimi's Avatar
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    Where to buy Japanese manga

    Where to buy Japanese manga online

    This is a guide to buying manga online, for the Japanese editions only. Whether you want to buy the Japanese manga to read, collect, or rip apart debind to scan, as long as you support the mangaka, that's a good thing.

    Before reading further, please take note of the following for purchasing anything online.
    1) You need a credit card. Without a credit card, you severely limit the number of places you can shop at. VISA or MasterCard are the best choices. I can't help you get a credit card, so if you don't have one or don't have access to one, please don't ask me.

    2) You need to live in a country where the store will ship to. While this usually means anywhere in the world, if you live in the middle of Antarctica, that could be a problem.

    3) The country you live in might restrict imports (for content), or tax you for importing goods (especially if you exceed a certain limit). Don't forget to take this into account in your purchases.

    4) Shipping prices vary widely, depending on the store, where it ships from, and the speed at which you will receive your order. Decide for yourself if you really need something in 3 days, 3 weeks, or 3 months, then select the appropriate shipping option. Usually, the more you put in an order (up to a reasonable limit), the better the shipping deal you'll get. To convert Japanese yen to your home currency, try this currency exchange site.

    5) Searching for a product may be a challenge because of the various different ways the store may romanise a Japanese title. Be patient and try all possibilities. If you have a ISBN, that would be the best! Note that for most stores, when searching by ISBN, you need to omit all the dashes. When all else fails, feel free to ask for help here. ^_^
    Here are the stores recommended by various members of the MH staff from past experience. Enjoy shopping!

    Amazon Japan
    Select the "Shop in English" option if you can't navigate in Japanese. Amazon JP probably has the widest selection out of all the stores, and if you run into trouble with your order, they have excellent customer support in English (even if everything they say is PR crap). However, Amazon JP has outrageous shipping rates outside of Japan as they no longer offer the economy shipping option.
    Prices: All books are priced at the original published price and charged in Japanese yen. Of course, you don't pay the 5% Japanese tax unless you live in Japan.

    Shipping: Very expensive. Ships anywhere in the world. See International Shipping Rates.

    The Good: Great if you live in Japan, or are looking for a super rare book that is no longer in stock anywhere else.

    The Bad: Personally, I don't recommend Amazon JP for manga. The shipping rates are too expensive for manga, which are relatively cheap items. Even if you combine the order with DVDs (unless it's with the 20% pre-order discounts) or CDs, you can get better deals elsewhere. Amazon JP does not ship video games overseas.

    YesAsia.com
    The web site actually works better on IE so use IE to browse, if it's really slow with Firefox. Go to the Japanese Comics section if you want to browse, or just search for the title you're interested in. Be careful that you're not accidentally buying the Chinese-translated version of the manga. Sometimes, they'll indicate (Japan Version) in the title, or take note of the Language under the product information. Oh, and be aware that YesAsia has very... creative ways of romanising Japanese titles. The nice thing about YesAsia is it has free shipping to anywhere in the world for purchases above US$39 (conditions apply).
    Prices: There is a considerable mark-up on the prices of manga by 30-50%, and you are charged in US dollars. For example, a standard Jump Comics tankoubon costs 390yen (~US$3.50) is sold at US$5.75.

    Shipping: Free for large orders (> 8 books), but you make up for it with the marked-up prices. See information on free shipping and help on shipping & delivery.

    The Good: Excellent choice, especially if you live in Europe, or want to purchase other things besides manga (e.g. video games, toys, DVDs, CDs, etc.), or products from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Import (JP) video games, especially, are considerably cheaper here than almost anywhere else (that will ship overseas).

    The Bad: Marked-up prices are really terrible if all you want to buy is manga. There are better places.

    Sasuga Japanese Bookstore
    (also reccommended by fxu)
    This is a real brick & mortar store in the US, so it's better for US or Canada buyers. I've heard that they have very good customer service and will special order books for you that are not in the catalog. But, you may have to wait a while for special orders, depending on the availability.
    Prices: Very expensive. The mark-up is higher than even YesAsia. For example, a 390yen (~US$3.50) tankoubon costs US$6.20 here. You're also charged in US dollars.

    Shipping: Ships to both North America and other countries. See shipping information here. Shipping costs are based on USPS rates, so it depends on how many books you buy. (Read this if you're thinking of Sasugabooks and live in the US.)

    The Good: Real stores tend to have better customer service, and you feel like you're talking to people, rather than machines. LOL. Also, they accept payment methods other than credit cards.

    The Bad: Marked-up prices on top of shipping charges are really high. There are better places if you can use a credit card.

    Kinokuniya Bookstore
    Kinokuniya does accept mail orders but their system is a little clumsy to use. This is the help page for the American stores (in English). All Kinokuniya BookWeb stores (except the one in Japan) will ship domestic only (i.e. BookWeb Australia within Australia, BookWeb USA within USA and Canada, etc.). BookWeb Japan ships everywhere in the world by DHL and charges according to weight. When ordering manga from BookWeb Japan, availability depends on what they have in stock in their Shinjuku store. If the book is out-of-stock in Shinjuku, you cannot order it.
    Prices: All books in BookWeb Japan are priced at the original published price and charged in Japanese yen. For the other stores outside Japan, there is a considerable mark-up, but it's what you'd pay if you bought it in-store anyway.

    Shipping (BookWeb Japan only): Processing the order (from receiving an order to shipping) can take a while, but once shipped, you get it as fast as DHL can deliver it (which is very fast). For a courier postage service, their shipping charges are actually quite cheap (especially compared to Amazon JP). The bad part is, you don't get a choice in shipping methods.

    Shipping (BookWeb USA only): Shipping charges depends on the amount you spend, and it's free if you spend more than US$100 (scroll down to point #7). They use UPS for shipping.

    The Good: Not counting the stock availability in the Shinjuku store, BookWeb Japan literally has the best selection for manga. They have manga that even Amazon JP don't have, which sounds strange, but it's true. By the way, the Shinjuku store has a whole floor for manga, so it -is- their biggest stock pile. They also sometimes carry a larger stock than other online stores for first-print and limited editions.

    The Bad: Navigating and checking the order status is a real pain, as their system is woefully primitive. Sometimes, you're not even sure if they received your order or not. But, once they e-mail you, you know you're good to go. Oh, and if you order from BookWeb Japan, you really need to be able to read Japanese.

    bk1 online bookstore
    This is an online bookstore in Japan and the entire site is only in Japanese. Customer service is also in Japanese, so if you're the sort who gets panicky over their online orders (e.g. cancellations) and cannot speak Japanese, this is not the place for you. But, if you know what you want, and you're not going to change your mind, I highly recommend bk1. There's a buying guide here which translates the important pages to English to help you register an account and submit an order. They have an excellent selection, on par with Amazon JP, but they only sell books, of course. Unlike Amazon JP, however, you cannot pre-order most manga before their release dates. I have no idea why you can on some, but not on others. If you're a member though, they send you a reminder when new manga are about to be released and you can pre-order during a limited period of time. I tend to miss this period. >_>
    Prices: All books are priced at the original published price and charged in Japanese yen. Of course, you don't pay the 5% Japanese tax unless you live in Japan.

    Shipping: Bk1 is the BEST for shipping options, as you can choose all the shipping options available from Japan Post, and you pay the Japan Post rates by weight. There are no additional handling charges even though they take good care of your books and protect them from both impact and wet weather. Here are the shipping charges for EMS (fastest), SAL (economy air), Air (more expensive without being necessarily faster), and Sea (very cheap and slow). Based on personal experience, SAL takes between 2-3 weeks for Asia and North America, and you have better luck if it's shipped in the first week of the month. I don't know why. (Read this if you're thinking of Bk1 and live in the US.)

    The Good: Excellent selection (unless they're out-of-stock), best prices and shipping charges, and easy to use.

    The Bad: Requires basic Japanese knowledge, and you often can't pre-order books.

    HMV.jp
    HMV is a huge music store originating from the UK. This is the online site for the Japanese store. They've always sold music-related books, but for some reason, they also sell manga now. You can browse their comics collection here. I've never used HMV.jp to buy manga before, but I've used them for buying CDs and DVDs. I really like their point system too. HMV is probably good if you want to combine your manga order with CDs, DVDs, and video games, or even books on Japanese music artists (e.g. band scores), rather than resorting to amazon.jp's ridiculous shipping charges.
    Prices: All books are priced at the original published price and charged in Japanese yen. Of course, you don't pay the 5% Japanese tax unless you live in Japan.

    Shipping: HMV.jp has only one choice for international shipping (EMS), and the charges depend on the weight of the package.

    The Good: The web site, though slow, is easy to use with a complete English interface. Even the search engine is useable in English (unlike amazon.jp). Customer service is also available in English, and cancelling items is easily done through the online system. Prices are excellent, since you pay the yen price, and shipping charges are probably more reasonable than amazon.jp.

    The Bad: I don't know how much stock they carry of their manga, but it seems very little. If you don't pre-order, you might miss out on first-printings or experience unnecessary delays on your order. Also, because the shipping charges are based on weight, they don't tell you the exact postage until the package is sent.

    Acclimate Solution Inc.
    (also reccommended by GGpX)
    Acclimate Solution has been around for over 10 years so don't be fooled by their primitive-looking web site; they are actually one of the first online shops that would ship manga overseas! I have only ordered from them once, and it went without a hitch. Friends of mine who ordered from them were also satisfied. Although their catalog looks very scant, you can ask them to look for titles that are not listed. In fact, that was how I ordered my books last time, and they found a book for me that was not listed available anywhere else! Another thing is, they also sell second-hand books at a lower price, as well as sets of series. (Note that I have not used them for a very long time so I don't know how their service is now.)
    Prices: There is a slight mark-up on the prices of the books similar to overseas Japanese bookstores, and you pay in US dollars. But, you can also buy the second-hand copies, which are cheaper.

    Shipping: They offer three choices of shipping and charge according to the weight of the books. Look here for shipping charges.

    The Good: Good service, and you have a choice for buying second hand books. They also accept payment options other than credit cards (money orders or Paypal).

    The Bad: It's hard to tell what the conditions of the second hand books are, and if you want new books, there's an unnecessary mark-up in prices. For me though, the worst part is that the ordering system is not automated. I'm spoilt by other online stores. ^_^



    If you're interested in subscribing to Japanese magazines, read this post below.
    Last edited by kirimi; September 06, 2008 at 09:57 PM. Reason: links updated

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  3. #2
    MH Senpai 伝説メンバー / Densetsu / Legendary Member
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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    0_0

    Thank you so much kirimi

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    Registered User 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member _ATMA's Avatar
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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    another good place to get japanese imported goods is through a local store and warehouse here called WIZZYWIG collectibles u can find them here http://www.wizzywig.com though in recent months their product collection had gone fairly down hill but its worth taking a look at :P in past years they have been known to carry japnese books, manga, and imported dvds
    If Nissan Motorsports is NISMO, does that make Honda Motorsports HOMO?

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    Scanlator 上級員 / Jyoukuuin / Sr. Member Ueda's Avatar
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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    Kirimi is my goddess...

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    MH Senpai 有名人 / Yuumeijin / Celebrity PaperYomiko's Avatar
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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    This is so awesome! Thanks so much for the info, kirimi!
    "Peace to the books of the world, an iron hammer to those who would abuse them..."

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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    Out of the sites you posted, YesAsia is the only one that's good and actually worth using.

    I buy manga from here--The best place.
    Last edited by GGpX; November 10, 2007 at 02:46 PM.

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    Scanlator 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member Rena Chan's Avatar
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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    I love bk1, I usually order from there when my local Kinokuniya store is out of stock for the manga I want to get.

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    Queen of The Damned MH中毒 / MH Chuudoku / MH Addicted Nami's Avatar
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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    Thanks a lot Kirimi for this guide and for introducing me more ways to spend money
    I think YesAsia might be useful for me considering it has some chinese books as well and some Jap dvds where i can't find anywhere near me! ^^




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    Registered User 初心者/ Shoshinsha / Beginner Gestern's Avatar
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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    Hey
    Is there any shop that have the WSJ and delivere to Europe ?


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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    Quote Originally Posted by Gestern View Post
    Hey
    Is there any shop that have the WSJ and delivere to Europe ?
    Quote Originally Posted by GGpX View Post
    Out of the sites you posted, YesAsia is the only one that's good and actually worth using.

    I buy manga from here--The best place.
    Read that.

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    Scanlator 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member Waeyen's Avatar
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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    Quote Quote:
    Out of the sites you posted, YesAsia is the only one that's good and actually worth using.

    I buy manga from here--The best place.
    I can`t find the WSJ on this site!

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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    Quote Originally Posted by Wäyen View Post
    I can`t find the WSJ on this site!
    So?

    They list what gets the most orders.

    You could easily buy a WSJ Issue by emailing them...

  14. #13
    Translator 中級員 / Chuukyuuin / Member Zoe's Avatar
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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    Does anybody in the US use bk1 for subscriptions to any of the monthly manga magazines? How much does it run on average after shipping?
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    RAW Providers 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member Finestela's Avatar
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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    I think it's better to point out which vendor carries magazines and which one doesn't.

    Here's my own experience with some of these vendors:

    1. amazon.co.jp carries a lot of various magazines and books, but because of the high S&H, it's a bad idea to use it to buy magazines regularly. However, if you are to lump the stuff you're buying into one huge order, the cost would very likely to get cheaper than almost any other vendors out there. The down side? You won't get your books/magazines as soon as you might want them.

    I'm currently using it to buy 3 different magazines (LaLa, LaLa DX, and Bessatsu Hana to Yume). If I place my order every 2~3 months (which would mean 2~3 issues of LaLa, 1~2 issues of LaLa DX, and 2~3 issues Bessatsu Hana to Yume), along with few tanks I'm interested in, the price is actually 30~50 dollars cheaper than other vendors out there. The downside? I won't be able to read the newest issue on time (which is actually fine with me, since these Shoujo manga magazines are monthly or bimonthly to begin with anyway...)

    2. Sasuga Books. They have really nice magazine subscription plans, but because their delivery method is not directly from Japan, but rather going through their store/warehouse first, and then by first-class package... it takes about 7~10 days for the magazine to get to you after its publishing date. Another issue I had with Sasuga Books is that, after the passing of one of their manager (Ms. Karen), their e-mail response is a bit slow... couple that with the fact that you have to inquire most books, wait for them to update their website, and THEN order from the website, it takes a long time for you to place an order.

    3. mandarake.co.jp
    This is probably the ONLY place you would be able to order doujinshi's outside of Japan (Too bad Tora no Ana doesn't take international orders...).
    Warning: While they do sell non-ecchi doujinshi's, A LOT of them are R-rated, with about 60~80% of them being Yaoi...

    They also have a special order system not unlike Acclimate, where you send your request, and they give you the quote. The person in charge of the special order (Ms. Eriko) usually responds in less than 3 days, and they also allow SAL along with EMS.

    The only downside is that they don't carry any magazines.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
    Does anybody in the US use bk1 for subscriptions to any of the monthly manga magazines? How much does it run on average after shipping?
    I don't think BK1 carries magazines. For subscriptions, you may want to try Sasuga Books, or do what I do on amazon.co.jp.
    Last edited by Finestela; July 05, 2008 at 08:00 PM.

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    Translator 中級員 / Chuukyuuin / Member Zoe's Avatar
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    Re: Where to buy Japanese manga online

    Quote Originally Posted by Finestela View Post
    I don't think BK1 carries magazines. For subscriptions, you may want to try Sasuga Books, or do what I do on amazon.co.jp.
    They do, actually: http://www.bk1.jp/docs/kaigaiz/Index

    You can set it to ship once a week or once a month, EMS or SAL.
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