Manga Price Points on Amazon.com

I do most of my manga shopping at Amazon.com these days. I’m lucky enough to get to sample many new series through review copies, so what I buy are continuing volumes of stories I already know I like. Based solely on my poking around what I’m interested in, I’ve noticed the following about manga pricing at that site:

A book that lists at $9.99 — say, for example, Viz manga — is rarely discounted. And it’s unusual to find them at any kind of used discount, since the shipping cost for used books is $4, so even a $5 book will cost $9 to the customer.

A book that lists at $10.99 — Tokyopop or Del Rey — will be discounted as much as 28% when it’s first released, which makes the price $7.91. Later, it moves to 20% off, or $8.79. Again, these books are not cost-effective for sellers to offer used, unless they’re very much not in demand by readers. I find it interesting, though, that a book that supposedly costs more very often actually costs less, and it also costs less than the “cheaper” competing manga.

So if you’re interested in these manga, buy them right when they come out. Or, once the discount period “wears off”, books at both of these price points are often part of Amazon’s “buy three get a fourth free” special offer, so four manga will cost $30-33 for the set, or $7.50 or $8 each. Are there better deals out there?

Similar Posts: Amazon Super-Sale on Comic Hardcovers: The Aftermath § Postal Rates Rise; Markets Change to Cope § Viz on Sale at Borders; Everything Yaoi § Digital Manga on Sale § Manga Trading Site Launches

15 Comments

  1. Buy.com is where I’ve been buying my manga for the past few months. Most of the newer releases are initially offered at 35-40% off and using this coupon you can get an additional 5% off. Also, their free shipping on orders $25 and over has been pretty fast in my experience.

  2. One of THE best anime and manga retailers online is Right Stuf (www.rightstuf.com), both in terms of prices and quality of the service. Regular prices are typically around 25% off the MSRP (including preorders) and there’s always a sale of some sort going on. Unfortunately, the barrier to get the free shipping is higher than Amazon’s ($50 for US customers), but IIRC, they will split up big orders into multiple shipments if something is delayed or out of stock.

  3. I teamed up with a friend to do RightStuf one time, but I had problems with a book getting canceled, and the minimum order for free shipping was too much for me. I rarely buy that many books at once, because I have a hard time being patient enough to wait for all of them.

    I hadn’t thought about using Buy.com, John — thanks for that reminder. I did try DeepDiscount for some manga once, but the books arrived a little more beat up than I liked.

  4. I’ve found that Right Stuf is pretty cheap, especially if you catch a publisher-specific sale. There’s also In Stock Trades, which doesn’t carry all the manga publishers, but does have most of them.

    Otherwise, I try to purchase my manga used, either through reputable online sellers, my local Book-Off location or via my local manga shop, Rising Sun Creations, which sells whole series of used books at half off.

  5. I was going to mention Buy.com as well. They used to have an “Amazon minus 10%” pricing policy on books, which made them really attractive; but even now they usually have lower prices on most manga than Amazon does (Amazon has a slightly better selection, though).

    Now that my local Waldenbooks is closing, I’m probably going to have to get almost all of my manga through Amazon or Buy.com.

  6. DCBS/InStockTrades (the same company- one does pre-orders, the other does regular orders) usually discounts Viz/Tokyopop books for at least 30%, and your order will ship for $6. Plus they have fantastic specials on other books every month.

  7. Lorena, I’m jealous of your local choices, especially a place for used manga. There are several series I’d like to try at reduced prices.

  8. Have you ever tried justmanga.com? They have a slight discount on most of their manga and free shipping for all orders that equal up to $40.00. (Although I must admit the free shipping can be a bit slow at times.)

    There’s also paperbackswap.com. You can swap one book for another or pay a small amount to have a used book mailed to you. It’s a good place if you want to try out a new series. They have a ton of volume ones available for many various manga series.

  9. [...] shopping: Johanna Draper Carlson explains how a $10.99 book can be cheaper than a $9.99 book, and why it pays to buy early. Commenters chime [...]

  10. Johanna, it really is nice to have a local place that buys and sells used manga. Once I decide a series isn’t for me, I can usually sell it back to them for store credit if I’ve kept up to date on it. Of course, I then quickly spend that credit on something new!

    And I just discovered Book-Off; it’s located in a shopping mall in the Japanese/Korean part of town. I’ve never been so happy to find a place that has random used volumes for around $5! And their selection isn’t too bad– I picked up the first volume of 20th Century Boys and some random volumes of Flowers and Bees.

    Also, I should have mentioned Akadot — I just bought five volumes of Fumi Yoshinaga’s works (Flower of Life, vol. 1-4, and Garden Dreams) for $35 including shipping! They have a great sale on all of DMP’s books right now if anyone’s interested.

  11. I know it was mentioned before, but I have to chime in and say that Right Stuf is a fantastic place to shop. Not only is nearly every manga they sell 25% off MSRP, but if you plan on buying a lot of it, you can get a $12 “Got Anime?” card and save an extra 10% off of your purchase for a year, which knocks each book down to 32.5% off. They also have frequent publihser-specific sales where the discount increases to 33% off without a card/40% off with a card. And pre-orders count toward the $50 minimum for free shipping…I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve used a “33% off all
    Dark Horse” sale to pre-order every upcoming volume of “Oh My Goddess!” they have listed, each one trickling in as soon as it’s released.

  12. Sonic, in my case, I’m relatively happy with Amazon. I know how they operate, and I trust them with my information. For me to consider another site, it would have to be an obviously better deal, not just one as good. (Or in this case, not as good, since Amazon does free shipping at $25.)

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  14. amaranthine

    I’ve been preparing to buy all volumes of a manga, and because I have not done this before (I buy tons of books but have only bought a couple manga volumes; I always feel a little ripped off because of how quickly one reads through them!), I’ve actually been feeling quite guilty at the prospect of placing such a massive order. This has led to much comparing of prices (so that I can at least feel good about getting the best deal), and I was happy to stumble across this post as it contained good tips and also led me to Buy.com which I’ve discovered is much cheaper than Amazon at least for the products I am looking at.

    However, before I decide to buy from Buy.com, a place I have never bought from before, I’d like to ask a question about the condition of the products they ship!

    I’m incredibly OCD when it comes to buying books. They must be in absolute pristine condition or else my heart gets pains. (When I take a book I own somewhere, I carry it in a Ziploc freezer bag to save my heart the trouble, if that gives you an idea of how important this is to me!) It is the only negative of buying online that I can think of, since in an actual bookstore I can inspect every inch of it before making the purchase. Amazon has been pretty good with its book conditions (even though I still feel anxiety each time I place an order, up until the moment I take the book out of the package and mostly have my mind put at ease.)

    (She gets to the point, at last!)

    My question is this. To those who have purchased manga from Buy.com: what was the book’s condition upon arrival? Specifically, how was the top and bottom and corners of the spine? (This is where most of the heartbreak happens.) The part that is most likely to have a bit of the finish frayed off so that there is white fringe showing, a dent mark or weird collapsed-into-itself/folded-over quality from some unfortunate compression–you know what I’m talking about?

    I would be forever grateful to whoever could allay my fears (or at least, allay them enough for me to place an order–let’s be reasonable here ;) ) on what the condition of the massive manga order I am about to place will be when I receive it from Buy.com! Thanks!

  15. [...] increase over the expected $10 or $11 price point, but the company has been experimenting with cover prices for a while now. The rule seems to be, the more specialized the audience, the higher price [...]

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