This is mostly for my reference, much like the list of publishers I’ve got here. I forget the names of the smaller companies I buy from, so I wanted to keep a list. Plus I feel like telling people about Just Manga. Please note that I am not being paid to advertise these websites, and clicking these links won’t give me money or anything like that, I’m just being honest about them and my experiences there.
The Right Stuf – I’ve bought from this company for the past eighty years. They were quite literally the first place I bought stuff from with a credit card, and I used to do it the old-fashioned way, by ordering through their catalog over the telephone. When I expressed shock after they replaced their old website recently, my roommate told me that I’d finally given them enough money to pay for a designer. I wait for their studio sales and preorder everything by publisher as far ahead as I can. I usually get something like 33-40% off doing things that way. The disadvantage is that they can take forever to get things in stock sometimes, particularly books which have been out for a year or so, but new releases suffer as well. It’s better than it used to be, for what it’s worth. I’ve got plenty to read while I wait though, and if you’re not particularly concerned with getting it the day after it comes out, it’s pretty much the cheapest you’re going to find new releases. Great customer service who will cater to your every need by either e-mail or telephone.
Just Manga – For everything that I’m not preordering from the Right Stuf, I pretty much go straight here. They’re a bit smaller and newer, but I’ve been ordering from them for about two years, and they’ve been spectacular. Other than a vaguely ugly website, the only disadvantage is that sometimes you place an order for an in stock item that isn’t actually available, but even in those cases, they get the item in 2-3 days and send out your order. The discounts are much shorter here (around 10-20%), but the more you buy, the more is available in their “$5.55” area, and you can snag one book for roughly 50% off with every order that way. I’ve slowly bought entire series via $5.55. They get in new releases really fast, have a really large catalog of basically every manga in print, and the only books they don’t carry are a handful of volumes from small publishers. Their customer service is great, and they let you know right away if there’s a problem and deal with your issues immediately. I also use them for books that I want right away and don’t want to wait for the Right Stuf to get in stock.
Amazon.com – I actually try to avoid this site if at all possible. The only advantage you have here is that they have literally everything (I normally go here for the “handful of volumes from small publishers” mentioned above) and if it is in stock, they definitely have it. I advise against their free shipping offer since I’ve had to wait nearly two weeks for them to ship out in stock items that way. I’ve received books from them in the worst shape, totally filthy and trashed, and I’ve got a lot of issues with their shoddy packaging as well. The boxes I’ve gotten from them have been ripped open and crushed due to them being too large, and often when they shrinkwrap my books to the cardboard inside the big box the books are damaged in the process. Their 3rd party eBay-ish marketplace is extremely useful when locating out-of-print items, but can be pricey, and a lot of the sellers are shady.
Amazon.co.jp – I know I dissed the English-language version of the same company above, but there’s just no other place that’s got a selection of Japanese language manga like Amazon Japan. Most of the stuff I’m interested in is recent and in print, so most of it’s going to be here. The prices are also criminally low. Don’t celebrate too much though, because while you’re only paying 3-5 dollars per volume, they will beat you up and take your wallet when it comes to shipping. There is no shipping speed or courier choice, everything will be sent Global Express. This usually costs me between $40-$60 for around eight books. It takes the sting off a bit when it’s in your hand the next day, but goddamn, I don’t need it that fast. They’ve got some of the same issues with packaging as their English-language counterpart, but they’ve never sent me dirty books. They have the best selection I’ve seen of manga magazines, but they are missing bizarre key items, like Young Animal and… er, Shounen Jump.
Aclimate Solution – I’ve only used them twice, but I highly recommend them for anything you may be looking for which is out of print or hard to find. The site isn’t much to look at, so don’t. Just e-mail the contact on the site with ISBNs or titles of what you’re looking for and whether you want the stuff new or used. They’ll e-mail you back with prices for the volumes, and you can then place the order through e-mail. The prices are really good compared to everyplace else I shop, and they give you an amazing deal considering they’ll find whatever out-of-print editions you’re looking for. They’ve got decent prices on shipping, too, and I know they’ve been around for a number of years, so they’re not going to disappear overnight or anything.
Jpqueen – I’ve ordered a few doujinshi from here as well as some out-of-print items and artbooks. They’re prices are decent on both items and shipping, but last time I was there they had some obscure payment methods, so I don’t use them very much. It’s just too much a pain to obtain and send an International Postal Money Order for an item that I’m only paying $10 shipped for. I should mention that when verifying the link to post here, I just found an item that is over 25 years old that SHOULDN’T EXIST, so the worth of this site just shot up. On that note, they know what they’re rare stuff’s worth, so you will pay for these things which are 25 years old and don’t exist. Bringing them into this plane of existence is worth it, though. I also tend to look here first for doujinshi when I’m in the mood, but I’m not much of a doujinshi shopper, so there may be better sources for newer titles. They do have a pretty good selection of old doujinshi, though.
Sasuga Books – I don’t really recommend them. They’ve got an okay selection, but they don’t have some of what’s on their website instock, and I’ve heard they can be bad about cancelling items they don’t have or can’t get. I’ve never had a problem with that, though. Their prices are reasonable… they do mark up a little, but they’re site’s easy to use and entirely in English, and they do keep popular items in stock. The shipping is very reasonable. I didn’t have any problems using them for a couple years, but they got $40 or so dollars out of me for an order they never confirmed or shipped, and several e-mails to their customer service address as well as an unanswered telephone call never got me my money back. They did the same thing when I tried them a few years later, this time on an item that I paid a stupid amount of money for, but a phone call netted me an apology and the processing of my order. The item was totally worth it, and I wouldn’t have got it nearly as cheap anyplace else, but that was enough money nearly lost so that I’ll probably not go there again.
Yesasia – I’ve only ordered a few oddball items from here. Their website is nice, and what you pay for shipping is decent, but their selection is not so hot. I honestly don’t have much use for this website since I would only buy books, but it may be good if you’re looking for DVDs or CDs or something like that to import.
Nippon-Export – I’ve ordered from them twice, both times were large-ish artbook orders. Their checkout/credit card payment page is dodgy as hell, but I didn’t have my identity stolen, so I guess that’s okay. They’ve got great prices on otherwise expensive artbooks, but their shipping is an arm and a leg, so it balances out.
Book Closeouts – I haven’t ordered from the retail side of this business, but I’ve done enough business with the wholesale side (read: A LOT) to know that they’re good people. These are remainders and/or overstocks, so they will almost certainly have some sort of mark on the top or bottom edge of the page, and they will occasionally have some minor damage as a result of being shuffled and shipped around a few different places. But stuff here is super-cheap, and even more so if they happen to be having a sale. They tend to only have random volumes in stock, but look here first if you’re tracking down an older title.
Kinokuniya – I’ve not ordered from here either, but they are a really popular Japanese bookstore located on the coasts of the US. I’ve never been there or shopped their website, but they do have a huge selection of books in both English and Japanese, you can choose where the item ships from, and their reputation is pretty great as far as reliability goes. I just tried a few English-language books from small publishers as well as a few famous older Japanese titles, and they seem to have everything, so if you’re having trouble finding things (even out of print things), you might try here.
Mile High Comics – I’ve ordered from here a few times. Their selection of old manga publications in English really impresses me. I tested it on some old items from the Viz and Mixx catalogs, and they seem to have old back (floppy) issues of things like X/1999, Mixxzine, Smile, Animerica Extra, Baoh, Pineapple Army, and even a few random issues of Sailor Moon. Hey, they even have a few random Studio Ironcat things lying around. They do have graphic novels too, but they seem to specialize in obscure things rather than the current stuff. Their primary focus is not manga, so if you happen to need back issues of The Power of Shazam, you can pick those up while you get Keiko Nishi’s Promise if you so choose. Their prices are really great, and they have a pretty strict quality grade scale (unlike the remainder dealers on Amazon). Actually, the more I look for old things, the more I’m tempted to buy. I’m getting ready to place an order for something my roommate’s been searching eBay for months.
Celga – A service that will order things from Japanese marketplaces that won’t ship outside of Japan for you. I’ve used them to get some really, really old and odd stuff from the Yahoo Japan auctions. On one hand, the stuff up for auction is CHEAP. Ridiculously so. That isn’t always the case, but for the most part, you’ll find good prices there. On the other hand, you have to pay Celga’s fee, then a bank transfer fee, then shipping within Japan, then shipping to the US. The cheap prices balance out with all the fees, but to be honest, I got stuff here I wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else. It actually doesn’t hurt the wallet that badly, since every order is paid for in three steps (half the item’s price when you request they place a bid, the second half + fees after you win the item a few days later, then the final international shipping fee when the item arrives in their warehouse a week or so after that). They also did me the unexpected kindness of shipping out my order before I paid the final shipping fees. They also have aids on their site for popular series so you can browse through things without knowing Japanese if you’d like, and they have lists of marketplaces they deal with if you’re looking for something in particular or don’t want to use Yahoo or the other common choices.