Lately, I’ve been meaning to pick up some imported Japanese manga, both to boost my literacy and to read some stuff that isn’t available in English yet. As long as it’s got some furigana over the kanji, I should be okay.
I’ve looked at a variety of options, but I thought that others might know more about the import scene than me. Mainly, the shipping costs seem to be pretty high for importing directly, and I’m not sure which domestic importers are "legit." First off, the stores I’ve been looking at:
- Amazon.co.jp – Has a pretty awesome selection, but shipping for one manga book is 1,500 yen. I guess I could buy in bulk, but I think buying from a domestic importer would be cheaper.
- Yesasia.com – I was stoked because I found a lot of manga that I wanted at pretty reasonable prices. Shipping is free on $40+ orders. Then I realized most of them were the Chinese versions. I can’t read Chinese, so this isn’t an option. On a side note, I’m still thinking of getting a certain Round Table CD there that I’ve wanted for a while.
- Sasugabooks.com – I found a link to this book store on a forum. The prices are good and the shipping is cheap too. I don’t know how reputable they are, though.
- Animegamersusa.com – This store seems somewhat popular. The prices for manga are really good($5-$7 a volume), and the shipping isn’t that bad either ($5 for USPS media mail). I’d go with this store if I knew it was trustworthy. Their website is also kinda rugged (putting in an order for 10,000 copies of Shakugan no Shana vol. 1 caused an overflow on their side; granted, that’s a lot of Shana, but still).
- eBay – Apparently, eBay is pretty good for domestic manga. I’m still kinda scared to buy import stuff there though. Too much bootleg stuff has gone through eBay to my doorstep in the past…
These are mostly all of the places I’ve considered. If you’ve shopped at any of these places before and you know they’re cool, please let me know by writing a comment. Also let me know if you know of a better place to import Japanese manga (to the United States).
Whilst looking for manga deals, I found some deals on domestic stuff too. I thought I’d share it with you.
- First off, Amazon.com has a buy 3 get 1 free deal on books under $10. This should include most manga. EDIT: There’s only some manga that this deal is compatible with. I made up a list of the manga that’ll work.
- ADV is having one of their many clearance sales (this time it’s called a "Valentine’s Day Sale"). There’s good stuff to be had if you don’t mind getting it a month after you order it with a hole drilled in it.
Last but not least, happy Valentine’s Day.
8 replies on “Adventures in Manga Importing”
All those places you listed are “legit,” eBay being the trickiest of all. FWIW, Yesasia also has the Japanese editions but sometimes the way they romanized the titles are weird. So when searching there, you’re best off knowing the ISBN and plugging it in.
Have you also checked out JPQueen (jpqueen.com)?
Reika, thanks for letting me know.
The problem with Yesasia is that I think they mostly carry newer manga, so the first volumes of a lot of manga aren’t there (like School Rumble). At least, I couldn’t find it. Maybe I can try an ISBN search. I just found out that the English version is going to be released in a few weeks anyway, so I’ll probably just wait for that.
Taking a quick glance at JPQueen, I’m not sure I want to buy from there. The website looks a little barebones, and I don’t want to do airmail/seamail if I don’t have to.
Thanks again for the suggestions though, I really appreciate it!
Always glad to help! (and get more people into reading manga, but that’s not the point…)
You’re actually quite smart to stick w/ domestic sellers. Shipping from Japanese e-bookstores gets really steep. I only suggested JPQueen since their shipping isn’t as much as Amazon.jp — also while their site’s not terribly fancy, they do have a huge selection of manga, plus since it’s used, certain titles aren’t too expensive. (FYI — the Japanese idea of ‘used’ means ‘practically new.’ I’ve ordered so much manga from there that I think somebody just flipped through once)
And yup! Del Rey’s coming out w/ School Rumble pretty soon. Don’t they have a sampler on their site or something to that effect?
Amazon.jp’s shipping charges can be a pain but they usually arrive promptly. As for yesasia, as Reika mentioned, they have weird romanization for the titles. They’re pretty good with newer releases but it takes forever and a day for old-ish titles.
As for ebay, if you find a good deal, it’s really a deal. I tend to hunt down for ‘manga lots’ in really inexpensive prices. The best one I had was 95 tankoubons for only sixty-five bucks. For ‘legit’ sellers, I usually use http://stores.ebay.com/mkbooks2003. I never had a problem with her before.
I used Sasuga a few times before, and they gave me free shipping for orders over $25 back then. I liked them… except ever since the SJ Kinokuniya expanded, I go there now. Nothing beats instant gratification. ^^
Cool, I was thinking of buying from Sasuga or Animegamers. It seems like people are saying the retailers on the list are ok, so I’ll go with whichever one has the better selection. Thanks again everyone for all your suggestions!
I bought Pump Up!/Fuyu Hanabi from Sasuga. It wasn’t in stock, they ordered it from Japan. This took a while, but they emailed me about it and didn’t cost anything extra.
I’ve also bought used stuff from Canada on ebay, but it was older Ribon titles. Sometimes you can good deals on complete sets this way.
Some place like animenation.com and animecornerstore.com have import stuff, but the selection is never that great.
I dunno about manga, but I just got my two dvds from yesasia today… so at least we know they’re not tricksters… ha.