quarta-feira, agosto 17, 2022
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Secondhand Books & Manga in Japan

Once I lived in Japan, I amassed fairly a tower of secondhand yuri manga. I wished to enhance my studying pace for the JLPT, and I felt decided to do it in a approach that was pleasurable (learn: sapphic) and pleasant to each the atmosphere and my checking account.

Suffice it to say, I obtained very accustomed to the yuri sections of my native used bookstores. Every time I visited, I imagined all of the queer ladies in Nagoya passing the identical few volumes of manga round to one another. It was like an unstated lending library occurring on the hilariously tiny homosexual shelf of each E book-Off on the town. Each e-book had a historical past earlier than me and a future after me, hopefully having a optimistic affect on everybody it touched.

However it doesn’t matter what style floats your boat, I need that feeling of neighborhood reuse for you too. So how do you get began shopping for secondhand Japanese books? Fortunately, it isn’t too powerful. On this article, I will provide my suggestions on the place to purchase secondhand Japanese books and manga, each in Japan and abroad. However first, I will wax lyrical concerning the wonders of secondhand e-book shopping for and educate you some useful Japanese phrases for the method. I hope that after studying, you’re feeling extra snug throwing down some yen at your native secondhand bookstore!

Why Purchase Secondhand Japanese Books & Manga?

After all, there are tons of excellent causes to purchase Japanese books and manga. Possibly you need to degree up your Japanese studying comprehension with some intensive studying, or 多読 (tadoku). Or maybe you are simply an otaku searching for some manga translated into your native language. However why exit of your approach to purchase them secondhand?

Used manga is notoriously cheap in Japan — we’re speaking lower than 100 yen per quantity typically.

The reply is fairly easy: cheapness, child. Used manga is notoriously cheap in Japan — we’re speaking lower than 100 yen per quantity typically. And used books will not be that far behind, with some nice finds priced at lower than 1,000 yen. Plus, it is usually not possible to inform the distinction between a brand new e-book and a secondhand one in Japan. Personally, I by no means observed any flaws important sufficient to hinder my studying expertise among the many used books I purchased there.

On prime of that, you are doing the atmosphere a favor by reusing a pre-owned merchandise, so you may get some self-congratulatory emotions out of the deal. It additionally feels nice to move on a narrative or assortment of ideas that affected you to another person in your neighborhood by secondhand resale, or 買い取り (kaitori). Earlier than I left Japan, I resold all however considered one of my sixty-six volumes of LGBTQ+ manga, partially as a result of I assumed they’d do extra good being learn by another person than on my shelf accumulating mud. (And partially as a result of I used to be out of baggage house.)

If you wish to assist your favourite authors or mangaka by shopping for their work full-price, I completely perceive. I like to do this too! However in any other case, contemplate this a pleasant invitation to no less than test whether or not the books you need can be found secondhand. And you realize what could be a good way to begin wanting?

Japanese Phrases to Look For

…That is proper, studying some vocabulary! Should you’re solely searching for translated books, you in all probability will not want a lot Japanese. However should you’re in Japan, shopping for books written in Japanese, or utilizing Japanese websites, you may must be hip to some widespread phrases. First, listed here are just a few normal phrases for getting something secondhand in Japanese.

中古 (chūko) secondhand
通販 (tsūhan) on-line purchasing, mail order
リサイクルショップ (risaikuru shoppu, “recycle store”) retailer that sells used items
フリーマーケット (furī māketto)
フリマ (furima)
flea market
フリマアプリ (furima apuri) flea market/e-commerce app
買取, 買い取り (kaitori) trade-in, buyback
定価 (teika) common retail value (new)
参考上代 (sankō jōdai) producer’s recommended retail value, MSRP (new)
もったいない or 勿体ない (mottainai) wasteful, a waste (typically used to explain items that may go to waste if not put up on the market)

Acquired these phrases down? Nicely executed, my fellow cheapskate. Now, listed here are some extra particular phrases for all of your secondhand (and common) book-buying wants.

中古漫画 (chūko manga)
中古コミック (chūko komikku)
secondhand manga/comedian(s)
中古本 (chūkobon)
古本 (furuhon)
secondhand e-book(s)
古本屋 (furuhon’ya), 古書店 (koshoten) used bookstore
単行本 (tankōbon) single quantity/standalone e-book
X巻セット (X maku setto) X-volume set (e.g. 8-volume set)

And that is it! Fairly simple in comparison with shopping for secondhand garments. Subsequent up — the place do you discover these musty previous tomes anyway?

The place to Discover Secondhand Books & Manga from Japan

photo of an aisle in a book off store showing two shelves of books

Thankfully, Japan has no scarcity of secondhand booksellers, from international chains to native outlets to on-line marketplaces. So the place must you begin? Nicely, it relies on the place you reside and how much e-book or manga you are searching for.

Would you like secondhand books written in Japanese? Then your choices are:

  1. purchase Japanese books which might be already in your nation,
  2. import books from retailers that ship internationally or by a third-party forwarding service, or
  3. dwell in Japan.

Should you do not dwell in Japan, chances are you’ll be in for a tough time.

Should you do not dwell in Japan, chances are you’ll be in for a tough time. Possibility #2 could be wallet-bustingly costly, so I extremely advocate going with #1 every time potential. Severely, it is the import charges that’ll getcha! However should you should import, strive ordering issues in bulk to save lots of on worldwide transport. Or you may at all times purchase e-books in Japanese, eliminating transport prices fully. (Are you able to inform that is my most popular technique after leaving Japan?)

However, are you searching for secondhand books which might be translated into English or one other language? Excellent news — that tends to be simpler, assuming you do not dwell in Japan. All it’s good to do is purchase from sellers inside your nation or Japanese retailers with a global presence.

First, I will introduce shops which have each Japanese areas/web sites and worldwide web sites with abroad transport. These are nice locations to search for each translated and untranslated books/manga. Then, I will get into some Japan-only retailers that promote primarily untranslated works. Reference whichever sections are most helpful to you, relying on the place you dangle your hat. Darn you, measurement of the world!

Shops with Each Japanese and Worldwide Web sites

Outdoors of Japan, it may be fairly simple to seek out new, translated manga. Even untranslated books and manga aren’t exhausting to trace down should you’re fortunate sufficient to dwell close to a Kinokuniya or E book-Off. Nonetheless, shopping for Japanese books/manga which might be each secondhand and untranslated is by far the hardest permutation should you dwell abroad.

It is not not possible, although! You will simply must boot up the nice previous web, which is why I’ve centered on on-line shops right here. For analysis functions, I went so far as the transport display screen at every service provider to check worldwide transport prices. (Stay up for the juicy exposé within the following sections.) I put them so as from those I am most accustomed to to least accustomed to, however they’re all price perusing.

Relaxation assured, all of those shops provide methods to purchase from inside Japan and internationally. So regardless of the place you reside, try these accessible retailers for all of your secondhand e-book/manga wants!

Suruga-ya (駿河屋)

screenshot of the suruga-ya landing page

If there is a one-stop store for secondhand Japanese books and manga, for my part, it is Suruga-ya. Most of my leaning tower of secondhand manga in Japan got here from me and my pockets letting unfastened on their on-line retailer. Like a number of secondhand books/manga in Japan, one quantity is usually solely 100-200 yen. Suruga-ya additionally has the most affordable transport costs I’ve seen inside Japan: lower than 500 yen for orders below 1500 yen, and free for orders 1500 yen or extra. This low threshold totally free transport makes it dangerously simple to only hold crawling again for extra.

I would actually solely advocate Suruga-ya if you may get home transport inside Japan.

The transport charges on their worldwide website are fairly a bit steeper although. My faux buy of 1 160 yen e-book would’ve price me over 2,000 yen to ship, and 4 books would’ve run me about 4500 yen in transport charges. Moreover, you solely get transport reductions should you spend 10,000 yen or extra, and so they’re fairly measly (500 yen off for spending 10,000 yen; 1,000 yen off for spending 20,000 yen). Thus, I would actually solely advocate Suruga-ya if you may get home transport inside Japan or are determined for sure untranslated titles and prepared to shell out for worldwide transport.

However uniquely, Suruga-ya additionally sells secondhand video games, merchandise, toys, CDs, DVDs, electronics, and extra that additionally are usually fairly low-cost. So if you wish to throw any of that into your cart when you’re at it, Suruga-ya is perhaps helpful for you! It is definitely my best choice for secondhand manga.

Mercari (メルカリ)

screenshot of the mercari landing page

Talking of my biggest loves on this merciless universe, sure, I’m as soon as once more shilling for Mercari. For the uninitiated, Mercari is a Japanese e-commerce app/web site the place bizarre folks purchase and promote their used items. Should you’ve by no means heard of it earlier than, try our normal article on secondhand purchasing for extra detailed recommendation on utilizing the platform successfully.

Should you’re not choosy about what you learn in Japanese, this is perhaps an attention-grabbing option to roll the cube in your studying materials.

Relating to particularly discovering secondhand books and manga on Mercari, your luck will range. On the worldwide English model of Mercari, most translated titles I seek for can be found, due to some Joe Schmo on the market trying to do away with it. Equally, on the Japanese model of Mercari (メルカリ), nearly any untranslated title I’ve looked for is accessible for buy from some Joe Schmorimoto on the market. Is sensible, because the languages match the variations of the app.

As ordinary, although, the difficulty begins when the language would not match the model of the app; that’s, once you’re trying to purchase untranslated works abroad or translated works in Japan. There is a stunning number of books and manga in Japanese on English Mercari — simply search 漫画 (manga), 本 (hon, “e-book”), or another related Japanese phrase and no matter’s obtainable on the time will come up. You could not be capable of discover precisely what you are searching for, however should you’re not choosy about what you learn in Japanese, this is perhaps an attention-grabbing option to roll the cube in your studying materials. By the identical token, there are English variations of Japanese books/manga on Japanese Mercari typically.

In each of those circumstances, the “saved search” operate of Mercari would possibly aid you hold a watch out for when that particular e-book you need turns into obtainable. Of their bios, some sellers even provide to take requests to purchase sure titles you are searching for, though it may cost a little you a bit further.

Assuming you could find one thing you need, it’s going to in all probability be pretty low-cost on both model of Mercari.

Assuming you could find one thing you need, it’s going to in all probability be pretty low-cost on both model of Mercari. The largest benefit is that you just’re probably purchasing for gadgets which might be already in your area of the world, which means no must go bankrupt on import charges. This methodology can prevent some huge yen, so I particularly advocate trying out Mercari should you dwell outdoors of Japan and are searching for translated titles or have an “something goes” angle about which Japanese e-book/manga you purchase. Plus, you are serving to folks rehome their previous stuff to keep away from a dreaded mottainai scenario.

E book-Off (ブックオフ)

photo of the storefront of a book off store taken at night

Should you’ve executed any secondhand purchasing in Japan, you’ve got in all probability heard of the “-Off” collection of shops. Japan’s most well-known chain retailer of used books, E book-Off, falls below this umbrella firm as nicely. With over 800 areas in Japan, you may’t go various blocks in any Japanese metropolis with out stumbling throughout one. The daring colours and large 本 indicators make them fairly unmissable!

Not solely is E book-Off nice for getting used books, it is nice for unburdening your self of them too.

Should you’re in Japan, you have got the pleasure of trying out a E book-Off in individual. Once I lived in Nagoya, considered one of my favourite actions was to wander into one and simply see what I might come upon. An enormous portion of their manga is within the 100 yen “nook” (which is outwardly what E book-Off likes to name huge wall-to-wall cabinets). There’s at all times a wide array of books and manga obtainable at E book-Off, so even if you cannot discover what you are searching for, you are positive to come back out with one thing attention-grabbing.

Not solely is E book-Off nice for getting used books, it is nice for unburdening your self of them too. Bear in mind my mountain of homosexual manga, principally from Suruga-ya? I resold all however one quantity to E book-Off. They have an inclination to pay you about half the retail value, and I used to be impressed that they really paid up for nearly the entire usually unusual, off-the-heterosexual-path manga I introduced them. Any used bookstore that provides buyback (買い取り) will in all probability be okay, however contemplate this my testimonial for E book-Off.

They’re one of many few retailers that promote untranslated Japanese manga within the US.

Sadly, should you’re within the West, E book-Off won’t have fairly the identical luster because it does in Asia. Their US web site primarily sells older collection of manga (not books), with free transport solely kicking in should you spend $150 or extra. Nonetheless, they’re one of many few retailers that promote untranslated Japanese manga within the US. Plus, the common transport prices are fairly affordable, since their inventory has already been imported. My faux order of 9 volumes of manga would have price $8 to ship to the West coast — not dangerous in any respect! So should you’re a retro manga lover who needs to learn in Japanese, American E book-Off is perhaps choice for you.


screenshot of an amazon listing for a used copy of yotsuba

Ah, Amazon. Should you should make the most of our web purchasing overlord, you have got two choices: Amazon Japan or your personal regional model of Amazon. You can also make an Amazon Japan account (separate out of your common Amazon account) and purchase from abroad, as some sellers do ship internationally. And don’t fret, you should use worldwide credit score/debit playing cards, in contrast to on some Japanese on-line shops.

Books/manga specifically could be pretty low-cost to import on Amazon Japan, particularly should you’re shopping for a full collection set.

Books/manga specifically could be pretty low-cost to import on Amazon Japan, particularly should you’re shopping for a full collection set. However, once you’re shopping for issues from separate sellers, transport can add up rapidly. And should you’re solely shopping for one quantity of manga at a time, the associated fee is probably not price it. In any case, it may be hit and miss, so undoubtedly plug your tackle into the checkout to see how a lot the injury is for optimum pockets well being.

You possibly can typically discover untranslated books and manga on non-Japanese Amazon too.

Curiously, you may typically discover untranslated books and manga on non-Japanese Amazon too. They’re labeled as “Japanese Version,” in order that they’re simple to distinguish from translated editions. On each Amazon.co.jp and Amazon.com, do not forget to search for “Used” choices and test them out — if there are any secondhand choices, you may discover them proper beneath the common non-used buy choice. Amazon sellers listing the situation of the used books as nicely, so you may resolve how pristine or raggedy you need your new tome to be. Particularly on Amazon.co.jp, “Very Good” tends to be mainly mint situation, and “Good” is normally nice too, so that you’re fairly secure to belief the analysis system right here.

Prices for untranslated books/manga could be a bit greater on Amazon than Mercari, even for used volumes. However however, Amazon does are likely to have a wider choice than worldwide Mercari. So if what you are searching for is just obtainable on Amazon, you do not need to add it to a bulk order elsewhere, and/otherwise you need reliably quick transport, Uncle Jeff’s cash emporium is perhaps the one option to go.

Shops Solely in Japan

Yeah yeah, worldwide transport will rob you blind…however what should you really dwell in Japan? You fortunate duck! Relating to discovering untranslated secondhand books and manga, the world is your カキ. You possibly can decide from any of the retailers I already talked about — in reality, because you’re shopping for from inside Japan, you may have entry to raised costs and a greater diversity there than folks utilizing their worldwide websites. Or you may experience candy, candy exclusivity and discover the next shops which might be at the moment solely obtainable in Japan.

Take this part with a grain of salt, since I have never personally purchased from most of those shops. I did extensively comb by their Japanese web sites so you do not have to, although, so let’s get crackin’!

Native Used Bookstores

Do you have got morals? Would you reasonably your hard-earned yen go to a mother and/or pop than the human equal of the Monopoly Man? Then contemplate investigating whether or not there are any native used bookstores in your space. Should you’re searching for one thing extremely particular, shopping for on-line is perhaps the extra logical selection — however for a random browse on a sleepy Sunday afternoon? There’s nowhere higher.

To start out exploring, sort the phrase 古本屋 (furuhon’ya) or 古書店 (koshoten), each of which imply “previous/secondhand bookstore,” into Google Maps. Google-sensei will then present you used bookstores near you, together with each unbiased outlets and massive chains. In your subsequent journey outdoors, strive going to at least one and seeing what you could find! You will assist your area people, and even perhaps have interaction within the historic artwork of tachiyomi (立ち読み) when you’re at it. Simply keep in mind to possibly purchase one thing too, should you’re gonna stand there respiratory their air all day.

Internet Off (ネットオフ)

screenshot of the net off landing page

Alright, you’ve got purchased some goodies out of your native used bookstores. However what should you’re on the hunt for one thing they do not have?

If I nonetheless lived in Japan, Internet Off could be a go-to choice for me.

If I nonetheless lived in Japan, Internet Off could be a go-to choice for me, proper subsequent to Suruga-ya and E book-Off. Internet Off’s manga costs are about the identical as these two, and their transport costs will not be that far off. At present, transport inside Japan is 440 yen for orders below 3,000 yen and free over 3,000 yen, with gross sales that cheapen it even additional. That is one other excellent place to put bulk orders, particularly when there is a vacation particular occurring.

Like Suruga-ya, they promote video games, CDs, and DVDs too, so you may toss a 348 yen copy of Animal Crossing: Wild World into your cart stuffed with Demon Slayer doujinshi. To solely see secondhand stuff, simply seek for one thing, look below さらに絞り込んで探す (“filter your search additional”), discover コンディション (“situation”), and click on the checkbox subsequent to 中古のみ (“secondhand solely”). Internet Off may even purchase your used stuff, however solely by the mail. It does look like free although, so no motive to not give it a strive!


screenshot of the tsutaya takuhai rental page

You might have heard of shopping for used manga, however have you ever ever thought of renting them? How retro! Tsutaya is a large chain retailer in Japan that sells/rents out manga, CDs, DVDs, video games, and different interest stuff. It is like a library you pay for…okay, I am making it sound worse than it’s. Consider it as a option to borrow newer publications than your common library may need in inventory.

Renting is nice should you’d reasonably not amass a mountain of books you may by no means crack open once more.

Renting is a type of secondhand reuse and nice should you’d reasonably not amass a mountain of books you may by no means crack open once more. However should you’re not into the thought of returning what you paid for, you too can purchase issues usually at Tsutaya. You too can discover used books and manga generally by typing 中古ランク (chūko ranku, “used [item] rank”) into the search bar. That’ll present you secondhand gadgets with their high quality “rating” listed, from S to C.

Listed here are some phrases to recollect when renting issues by Tsutaya (and doubtless different locations too!):

貸出中 or 貸し出し中 (kashidashichū) at the moment rented out
ネットで借りる (netto de kariru) lease on-line
まとめてレンタル (matomete rentaru) bulk rental (e.g. all volumes of a manga collection)
宅配レンタル (takuhai rentaru) dwelling supply rental

On their on-line web site, books can solely be purchased, however manga, CDs, and DVDs could be both purchased or rented. If the merchandise you need is accessible for lease, the itemizing ought to have a button that claims ネットで借りる (netto de kariru, “lease on-line”) on the fitting of the display screen. However if you wish to see solely rentables, click on the tab on the prime that claims 宅配レンタル (takuhai rentaru, “dwelling supply rental”) and comb by your choices. You then simply wait on your merchandise to reach in your mailbox, get pleasure from it, and ship it again for another person of comparable style to devour. Identical to Ye Olde Netflix.

The rental interval is twenty nights and twenty-one days.

The rental interval is twenty nights and twenty-one days, and you then’ll be charged 55 yen per day as a late price. Tsutaya leases have a set value in Japan for each the gadgets themselves and transport relying on what number of volumes you order (as much as thirty per field). You possibly can try the total desk on their rental information. Transport makes the costs a bit steep, for my part, however they do appear to come back and decide up your gadgets totally free once you’re executed with them. So possibly it is a truthful commerce?

There are some extra downsides to Tsutaya, although. Tsutaya would not have as many secondhand choices as different bookstores I’ve talked about, and lots of of these listings haven’t got footage. Additionally, there isn’t any worldwide on-line retailer, with just a few bodily areas within the US. However for a sure sort of one who prefers renting over shopping for, Tsutaya can undoubtedly work out.

Public sale Websites

I am positive you are accustomed to public sale websites like eBay. However what concerning the Japanese equivalents?

You usually want a Japanese bank card, cellphone quantity, tackle, and many others. to bid on issues.

eBay really would not at the moment exist in Japan — as a substitute, the most important public sale website is Yahoo! Japan Auctions, or Yafuoku! (ヤフオク!). They are often tough to make use of as a foreigner in Japan, as you usually want a Japanese bank card, cellphone quantity, tackle, and many others. to bid on issues. However so long as you have got this stuff, you could find some fairly good offers, particularly if what you need is not available for purchase or add to a bulk order anyplace else. So folks searching for restricted/collectors’ editions and out-of-print or hard-to-find books may need some luck right here!

Should you’re searching for secondhand books and manga, simply pop the phrase 中古 (chūko, “secondhand’) into the search bar with the title of what you are searching for. Some retailers like E book-Off and Internet Off additionally promote on these public sale websites, together with particular on-line storefronts like もったいない本舗 (mottainai honpo) that promote a number of used books.

For buyers outdoors of Japan, you may search for gadgets that can ship internationally by looking the time period 海外発送可 (kaigai hassō ka, “worldwide transport obtainable”). What you unearth this manner could also be fairly random, however you may nonetheless discover some fairly cool stuff. Once we appeared, we discovered a set of 110 random manga/books and a Japanese model of The Little Prince.

To make use of these websites from abroad, you may have to leap by some hoops.

To make use of these websites from abroad in any other case, although, you may have to leap by some hoops. One choice is to make use of proxy or forwarding companies that bid on/purchase gadgets, obtain them domestically in your behalf, after which ship them to you internationally. Yahoo! Auctions formally companions with a proxy service referred to as Buyee, or you should use different forwarding companies like White Rabbit Categorical, ZenMarket, DeJapan, and many others. This methodology is perhaps helpful should you’re actually in a bind, however remember that the comfort and fee charges could make it pretty dear.

One other technique is to ask a good friend, acquaintance, or trusted member of the expat neighborhood to do you a strong and act as your proxy. Some expats run companies devoted to this, like No Nation for Tall Males Exports within the idol/anime neighborhood. Should you get deep sufficient into any Japan-related fandom, you may probably discover some type Japan-dweller recognized for transport stuff at a charge that hopefully beats the larger proxy companies on the market. These folks will usually personally purchase, bid on, package deal, and ship gadgets to you as a one-stop service, so it is price wanting into.

All in all, public sale websites aren’t essentially the most easy approach of shopping for secondhand books/manga. Nevertheless it’s definitely an choice, particularly should you’re searching for one thing particular and/or dwell in Japan already.

Manga Zenkan (漫画全巻ドットコム)

screenshot of the manga zenkan secondhand manga page

Does the thought of shopping for only one quantity of manga at a time provide the shivers? Would you reasonably have a look at some cartoons than learn precise literature? Then try Manga Zenkan, a web based retailer that principally solely sells full units of manga collection. You should buy single volumes of manga in e-book format, however in order for you bodily manga, it is all or nothing.

Manga Zenkan is a web based retailer that principally solely sells full units of manga collection.

Look within the 中古コミック (chūko komikku, “secondhand manga/comics”) part, separate from the 新品コミック (shimpin komikku, “new manga/comics”) part, to see solely secondhand manga. Should you’re in Japan, transport will probably be simple, as the sunshine of Amaterasu shines down upon you. Should you’re abroad, good luck with that. You possibly can undoubtedly attempt to use their companion proxy service, Worldshopping, to get your items shipped, although it is perhaps a bit dear. Individuals in Japan may also have interaction in some 買い取り (“resale/buyback”), very similar to at different shops on this listing, although it appears they solely pay you in factors to make use of on Manga Zenkan. Slick of them!

Sarcastically sufficient, shopping for all of the volumes individually elsewhere can typically be cheaper than springing for the pre-bundled set on Manga Zenkan. However if you’re searching for a set of untranslated manga you can’t discover anyplace else, Manga Zenkan may very well be a handy selection.

Learn ‘Em and Weep

Now you know the way to buy secondhand books and manga in Japan or from abroad. Would not it really feel good to reuse? Can you’re feeling the earth wrapping its arms round you and whispering ありがとうございます?

Studying any type of Japanese literature can introduce you to new parts of Japanese language and tradition, and now you are able to do it a bit extra sustainably. So I hope that after studying this text, you’re feeling extra snug galloping into your nearest native used bookstore, E book-Off, or Mercari homepage and taking a gander at what they have. And if you would like to maintain studying about how one can spend your yen greenly, try our different articles on secondhand purchasing in Japan.

Anyway, now that I’ve launched you to all these totally different bookstores, see you at Shopaholics Nameless!



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