So with all hobbies it’s always a question on how much money to put into it. Some are casual and cheap, like cards, where you can get a lot of enjoyment out of not a lot of money, while others can be expensive, like manga and anime. Whether it’s that new light novel you gotta have, or the anime prices just seem too daunting for you, I’m going to try and go as in depth into my methods of saving moo-la to help other’s who love this addicting hobby.
In this post I’ll focus on three topics: Anime, Manga, and the recently popular Light Novels. Each one can seem expensive, and ranging from over 700 episodes (One Piece Anime) or even a long running series (Naruto manga has 72 volumes) or even getting that light novel you just have to have (Yen On has retail of $14 on average), I’ll list the many, or few, ways you can shave off dollars and hopefully not make your wallet cry in the middle of the night.
Anime is expensive, although not as expensive as Japan I mean wow! But, there are ways to get around retail. The number one rule when shopping is never buy retail unless you have to, that is why shopping online became so popular with the internet coming around since everything is cheaper on here.
Anyway, Rightstuf is a company that houses everything anime, manga, and merchandise. If it’s related to those, then you’ll be able to find it, most of the time. Their collections are already discounted, and say you’re buying One Piece season 9. The retail value of it is $34.98 but their store sells it for $26.24 which is a great price for around 25 episodes. But wait, Rightstuf also has a special membership program where you can get 10% off nearly everything in the store so you’ll be able to get this set for $23.62 if you’re a member.
Membership does cost money, but it’s only $12 per year. If you buy more than 10-15 items per year then I’d suggest checking this out. They also host numerous sales throughout the year and has a 12 days of Christmas sale which new products go on sale each day around Christmas, which they bundle manga and anime and it’s their most popular sale time. And, added onto all of this if you have a package of $50 or more (I believe) then you’ll get free shipping in the States, you’ll have to go look on their shipping page if you live in other countries and find out that cost.
All items are shipped in a box with extra padding so that it would be very difficult for products to be damaged, unless it was damaged when putting into the box.
Manga, Anime, Light Novels all apply to this and it’s one of the first sites you should be looking at when buying you items.
This is one of the best places to search for your manga and anime needs. Almost always their prices are lower than any place else. Their anime is usually cheaper than Rightstuf, but it’s always fluctuating. Manga is consistently cheaper and when you pre-order on amazon it will either send it to you so you get it on the day it’s released, or sometimes if you pre-order it early enough you may get it before the day it’s released. Pre-ordered manga can sometimes be 50% off. As for light novels this is the only place I’d buy them. Rightstuf would be my second choice, but with light novels being a bit more expensive than they should be, amazon almost always has them at $10 or under.
If you are an amazon prime member then you can get free shipping, no matter how much you spend, and get it within two days of your order. Their shipping methods are questionable at times, they don’t use boxes, but very rarely do their products get damaged on the shipping.
If you’re trying to find an out of print volume, check out other sellers. Some people will sell their manga, even though they’re not a store or company, and it will state how good the manga is in before you buy it. You can also contact them to get specifics on what you want, but it’s another way to buy used manga that are out of print without going to a used bookstore.
One thing to keep in mind when shopping on Amazon, is that the prices change daily. If you see a great deal for an anime, say $20 for a $45 season, it may go up the next day, or even down so always pay attention to the prices.
Barnes & Noble/barnesandnoble.com
Now Barnes & Noble isn’t the place to buy Anime, almost always they’ll sell it for retail price or at least higher than you’d find at rightstuf. Light Novels are little more expensive than amazon, but sometimes not by much. What Barnes & Noble excels at is manga. Recently they actually expanded their manga sections in store nation wide. I was surprised at this, but it looks like they’re recognizing the growth of manga in the States and taking initiative which I’m loving. So if you go in store there is more selections for you, but if you go online then their products may be closer to what rightstuf has. What makes Barnes & Noble unique is that they have a special manga sale 2-3 times a year. It’s usually around winter and summer I believe, and the sale is always buy 2 get the 3rd free. The recent one was celebrating the manga expansion so every manga title was on sale, but it’s usually just Viz titles in those sales. Either way it’s a great time to save up your money and stock up on manga to fill in your collection.
In one sale I ordered almost the whole Shaman King series, I spent like $60 and ended up saving $30-$40 because of it. So it’s a good place to keep an eye out for when you have some cash building up.
I haven’t used this site yet on account of the fact I just found it recently, but based off the prices it’s a site to keep an eye on. Instock usually just focuses on American graphic novels, but it does have a small, limited, manga section. They sell manga, usually viz titles, for 20-50% off. Some titles have random volumes, but for the ones do you find they’re almost always under $8 each. I remember looking through their database and found their bleach manga to be $5 or less per volume!
Like rightstuf, Instocktrades gives you free shipping if you spend $50 or more. I know some youtubers use it and they seem happy with their shipments, so if you’re strapped for cash but can spend $50 then check this out and you may be able to get more for your buck.
If you’re one of those people who just doesn’t have the space to have a physical manga collection, but you love it so much so you settle for a digital collection, then this is the best official place to go to. The English shonen jump went digital a few years ago and you can sign up for $25 per year and it will be on this site. Other than that, they have all their collections in digital format, even out of print series like phoenix, you can buy each volume for maybe $5.
But, digital isn’t for everyone, and I’m sure it would be very similar to getting manga on your nook, or other device.
Local Used Bookstore
While going to a book store and getting manga at retail does help the industry, it’s used bookstores that you want to look for cheap things. You’d be surprised what you find there, I know I bought four or five out of print Yu Yu Hakusho volumes at my bookstore and I got them all for under $20. It varies depending on where you are, my local used bookstore has manga in the $2-5 range, while other people have used bookstores that sell each volume for under a dollar.
Those are the main resources that I use, I’m sure there are more out there thought. Primarily, as of late, I’ve been using Amazon because of all the manga I’m pre-ordering. Between everything so far I’d say your best bets may be Amazon and Rightstuf, but also check out some other places 🙂