Now more than ever, people are reading and collecting manga. As the numbers show, manga sales have never been higher than they are today. Despite living in a digital age, reading and collecting physical manga has grown exponentially. So there are many of those just starting that have many questions in regards to buying manga. Luckily, this complete beginner’s guide to collecting manga will provide you with everything you need to know to start your collecting journey. This includes how to take care of your manga, what you should do and not do, and much more. Obviously, the usefulness of some of these tips will depend on your location.
Where to Buy Manga
Some obvious answers are Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and Right Stuf Anime. But don’t hesitate to sit down for 30 minutes or so and look for local bookshops in your area. They may not have the stock the big retailers do, but sometimes you can find a hidden gem or an out-of-print series going for extremely cheap. Sending a quick email asking what manga they have in stock can go a long way. If you’re in the United States, Canada, Australia, or countries within the UK, Half Price Books is also an amazing website where you’ll be able to find older series and even used copies for cheap.
Another site that’s coming up in the United States is Takara Cafe. They usually run a lot of great deals so definitely check them out for any manga you may be looking for. They also have a Discord server that you can join so you learn more about the manga they are selling and possibly series you’ve never heard about.
For international fans, here’s a list of places you may also be able to find manga in your area. If you have certain spots in your country that you shop at, let me know in the comments and I will add them to the list here! (If none of these have what you’re looking for, use Amazon as a last resort. Delivery quality varies by country.)
- Australia – Minotaur, Book Depository, Kinokuniya
- Belgium – Waterstones
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – Kultura
- Canada – Indigo
- Croatia – Znanje Bookshop
- Czech Republic – Nejlevnější knihy, EN Book
- Denmark – Snazal, Faraos
- France – Junku, Manga Story, Hayaku Shop
- Germany – Comic Shop, altraverse, Cross Cult
- Greece – CosmicRealms
- India – Comicclan, Flipkart, Bookswagon
- Ireland – Waterstones
- Italy – Star Shop, POPstore
- Japan – Melonbooks, Mandarake, Animate, CDJapan
- Malaysia – Kinokuniya Malaysia
- Netherlands – Bol, Wordery
- Phillipines – Fully Booked, Palabasalibro Bookstore
- Portugal – Wook, Devir
- Romania – OKIAN, CARTURESTI, BOOK EXPRESS
- Serbia – Darkwood
- Spain – NORMA COMICS
- Sweden – Bokus. Adlibris
- United Kingdom – Forbidden Planet, Snazal, Wordery, WH Smith
How To Take Care of Manga
To some collectors, manga can be seen as an investment. It’s not the biggest medium for investments, but a collection can establish itself as an asset later down the line, depending on what, or how much, you collect.
1. Stay away from sunlight
So there are a few ways you can actually take care of your manga. One of those is simple–keep your manga out of sunlight as much as possible. Sunlight and paper are not friends. To test this out, simply watch a few videos on YouTube where people put a book that was in the sunlight against one that wasn’t. The one in the sunlight will yellow much quicker while the one out of sunlight looks pretty much the same as when they bought it. The solution to this is easy–throw a sheet over the bookshelf, buy some curtains, or store your manga away from sunlight.
2. Beware of humid or dry climates
The second is humidity. If you live in a very humid climate like myself, make sure to buy a dehumidifier. While sunlight isn’t good for your manga, neither is excess moisture in the air. Keeping your manga out of the sunlight with a dehumidifier nearby can definitely extend the life and condition of your new manga. On the flip side, if you live somewhere dry like Arizona or Antarctica, you would want to buy a humidifier. It’s always best to keep the humidity of the room storing your manga around 40%-60%. You can buy little detectors for very cheap on Amazon.
3. Stacking manga horizontally (laying down) vs. vertically (upright)
It’s not ideal to store your manga horizontally. But if you don’t have any shelves to put them on, or just ran out of space, this is still okay. Just make sure it’s on a flat surface that isn’t the floor. However, keeping manga stacked liked this can morph the spines over time, especially if it’s at the bottom of the pile carrying all the weight. The Library of Congress’ website even says that stacking books horizontally is okay, but it’s not ideal for long-term storage. So always make sure your manga is stacked vertically (upright) if possible. One last tip is to shelve manga of the same size near each other so they hold each other up equally. For example: Don’t stack a volume of Edens Zero next to a volume of Hell’s Paradise as these are two different sizes. A lot of times, sites will even list the size of the manga for you.
If you’re looking for shelves, the Billy bookcases from Ikea. These are the ideal shelves for storing manga that many collectors also use as well. If you want deep shelves, make sure to check the depth of the one you’re looking at. Usually, shelves with deeper cases that can hold two rows of manga are 11+ inches. Amazon is also a good place to find great shelves like the one I personally have.
Difference between “OOP” and “OOS”
As a beginner, you might not come across these two terms early on. So this is good to let you know ahead of time. OOP specifically means “out of print.” This is in regards to manga that are no longer being printed by the publisher. Usually, these manga go for a lot more on auction sites and are something collectors will also look for. For example, March Story Vol.3 is currently out-of-print, a dark fantasy series Kim Hyung-min that was published under Viz Media, and going for twice the original listing price.
On the other side, “OOS” simply means “out of stock”. Don’t let this term make you panic if it’s in regards to newer series such as Chainsaw Man, Black Clover, Jujutsu Kaisen, etc. If a volume of a newer series is OOS, new prints will usually come out sooner rather than later. Just be patient.
Don’t Overpay For Out of Stock Manga
A lot of times, scalpers will buy manga in bulk and sell them for twice the regular price. Chainsaw Man volumes are going for $20, $30, and sometimes $50, on sites like eBay and Amazon. That’s insane. Never overpay for manga that will be back on the shelves soon.
Just be patient and wait for new stock to arrive. Sometimes Amazon will even have a notice saying “we should be expecting more soon” if they’re completely out of stock (I do not recommend buying manga from Amazon). And again, always check the specific item on sites such as Barnes and Noble and Right Stuf Anime as well. If it says “temporarily out of stock”, more will be on the way. Never hesitate to ask as well.
Don’t Fall Into Peer Pressure, Be Proud of Your Collection
Don’t forget that this is your manga collection. If you don’t like a series that everyone else is buying, then it’s simple–don’t buy it. Use your money on a series you love and enjoy. Everyone’s collection is different. So you don’t have to own everything someone else owns. You won’t buy 3,000 volumes of manga in 2022. So don’t rush your collection. It will build over time and it will feel amazing to see how far you’ve come when you look back on it.
If you’re on the fence about what to buy, don’t be afraid to watch some YouTube video reviews on certain manga. This one by Anime Collective is a fantastic example talking about the Soul Eater Perfect Edition volumes versus the original paperback volumes. These types of videos can be a huge help when starting your collection or when you’re looking for something new.
How to Know When New Manga Is Releasing
Be sure to follow publishers on social media or join their email newsletters. VIZ, Yen Press, Seven Seas, etc. all have social media accounts you can follow that will always let you know when new series or volumes are on the way.
You can also check Amazon. Just search for a series or a specific volume and it will tell you when they expect that volume to hit their inventory. Another option is following some manga YouTuber channels. Anime Collective and The Omnibus Collector do a very good job at talking about manga and letting fans know when new manga is on the way.
I also highly recommend following the Twitter page @alertsmanga as they post constant price drops on all of your favorite manga and will also alert you when certain volumes are back in stock as well.
Be sure to follow Anime Corner on all of our socials for future updates regarding your favorite manga!