One of the hobbies I have been doing the most since the start of the pandemic is reading and rereading manga (Japanese comics). Although I picked back up on this hobby a few months before the shutdown, I started to read more and more during it, usually on free-to-read websites and apps.
I soon wanted to buy and collect manga books because the physical feel of reading manga beats the feeling of scrolling on a device, at least for me. Borrowing manga from the public library was still not a practical option at the time, either. So at the end of last year, I started searching the internet for places where I can start my own manga collection.
The first thing I learned about collecting manga is that it takes a lot of time and patience, especially if the manga is out of print or not the most popular. My favorite manga series—the main reason I wanted to start collecting manga—is “Boys Over Flowers,” which was translated into English and published from 2003 to 2009.
Unfortunately, “Boys Over Flowers” has long been out of print, and one volume can easily cost $40 or more online. Because these books are so rare, I almost never see them for less than $20 each. If they are, the condition of those books makes me not want to buy them. Sometimes, I would even be tempted to buy the manga without looking at the prices because of how much I wanted them. While this manga series is hard to find, I am willing to put in the effort to find a good deal for it.
Current popular manga is easy to find and can be relatively cheap. The retail price for most manga ranges from $8 to $16 per volume, based on what I have seen scrolling through book stores and websites. As a rule of thumb, a good deal for a book is $8 or less. Popular manga series like “Fairy Tail” and “Ouran HighSchool Host Club” also offer box sets that are cheaper to buy than the individual volumes.
Here are some good places to start looking for new and used manga online:
- Amazon is a safe bet and a great starting point for new manga because it has such a large selection of books for fair prices. Many manga bought on the Kindle app also has lower prices than print volumes for those who prefer e-book versions.
- Walmart has many options for new books under $10 and box sets for manga like “Naruto,” “One Piece,” “Attack on Titan” and “Fairy Tail.” It also offers free delivery for orders over $35. I bought the first two box sets of “Fairy Tail” for around $7 per volume.
- eBay is great for those like me who like to buy pre-loved books, and some sellers even have listings for new books. Shipping costs are variable with eBay, though, which may be a deal-breaker for some. I have bought the “Black Bird” and “Tail of the Moon” series for $6 to $7 a volume, not including shipping.
- Barnes and Noble has many new books sold at retail price, but the e-book prices are not cheaper than the print version. I hear that it has frequent buy-two-get-one-free sales, but I have not bought any manga from Barnes and Noble yet.
You should regularly compare prices to make sure you are getting the best possible price for the manga. I like to start my search on eBay, where I look at the prices for used copies and then go on Amazon or Walmart to see if the prices are worth the variable condition.
Other options like Thriftbooks are not always reliable, and they usually require more work to find good deals. It is possible to find used manga for $5 or less online, though. If you need to widen your search, I recommend using these sites:
- Half Price Books has used books starting at around $2 to $6 per book. It offers free shipping for purchases of over $50.
- Right Stuf Anime also has a great selection of manga starting at $2. It is good for pre-ordering new volumes of manga like “Haikyuu” and “Jujutsu Kaisen.”
- Depop is similar to eBay, but you have to be more vigilant and watch the newly listed items every day. People tend to sell books for around retail even if they are used, so remember to compare prices elsewhere. I was lucky enough to find the first eight volumes of “Boys Over Flowers” in excellent condition for around $10 per volume, not including international shipping.
Whether you are buying new or used books online, you should always make sure you are not throwing your money at everything you see. Try not to be hasty about buying your favorite manga series right away; wait for the sales. But if you feel strongly enough about an out-of-print manga that you are willing to pay a little more, like me, then go for it because the chance may not come again. Otherwise, try to get manga books for $8 or less.