Guide: Where to buy Japanese Manga and Books

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If you’re living in Europe, it may seem difficult to buy Japanese manga and books. You don’t have any shops that sell the stuff you want and when they do, it’s so overpriced that you decide not to buy anything after all. But you really would love to do so because Japanese books and manga are just plain awesome.

Want to order clothing and other goods from Japan?  – Check my guide with more awesome resources for everything that is not printed on paper.

You’re still reading, which means that we’re on the same page here. We both love Japanese stuff and just need a valid source with reasonable prices to buy all the printed goodness we ever wanted. Here comes the ultimate solution:

Cdjapan – English friendly with Japanese prices

12.09.13 Update:

Many readers did complain that honto didn’t accept their credit cards (mainly problems with Visa) or just canceled their order. I recently discovered cdjapan.co.jp again, a very reliable shop for Japanese books, video games, cds & dvds. Their prices on books are exactly the same as on honto.jp and you don’t have to pay the Japanese taxes when shipping outside of Japan which is extra sweet. They also have a nice points system which rewards you for being being a loyal customer. You can even pay with payal for all the people who don’t own a credit card (or for me who loves it for the simplicity).

But what’s most important is that everything is in English, the shipping options are vast (including cheap SAL) and you can even add a Japanese video game or CD to your order. The only thing I always missed at honto, not being able to sneak in a game with my book order.

I started using cdjapan again because you can check the shipping rates at checkout and sneak in a video game to your order. Another important factor is that magazines and limited edition manga (which contain some extra goods like Drama Cds or a Dvd) are sold out fast at honto.jp. In most cases cdjapan still has some in stock.

If you want to support Japanese Tease click on the button below or the links above. These are affiliate links and will earn the site a small percentage from your order. Thanks a lot for this, it really helps to support the site.

1_General CDJapan

07.03.2014 Update:

I’ve ordered quite a lot of stuff from cdjapan over the past months. Be it the よつばとcalendar or my latest shipment with some Japanese magazines. The stuff was always perfectly wrapped and securely shipped. Shipping times with SAL were the same as with honto and even their service is on par. Here are two pictures how the stuff is packed by cdjapan. Manga get bundled (many 4/5) and then wrapped as a whole in bubble wrap.

nigo pharrell ollie magazine

nigo pharrell ollie magazine-2


Honto.jp ships internationally as well

With a little trick which I’ll explain in a wiffy. The good thing about honto is their fst selection in general and their option to download Japanese manga and books digitally. Shipping costs which will be determinded after! ordering. You can choose which shipping speed to use and you will get an Email with the total you’re charged when the package is ready for dispatch. I always use SAL which is best explained by the Japanese Post itself. It results in something like 2 weeks for the delivery from Japan to Germany and probably Europe in general. Until now, I made 9 orders in total and none came in later than 2 weeks after dispatch.

Concering shipping costs. A rough estimate is: 4 volumes of よつばと!,or any other medium sized manga, costs 1300¥. Not a bad deal, if you ask me. But don’t worry too much about shipping costs. Like I said, I already ordered acouple of books there. Mostly kinda big packages and for none I was charged more than 3000¥. And one was a big order with several (heavy) fashion books for my girlfriend.

How to signup for honto.jp?

I thought about doing a guide myself but there is already a perfect one out there which explains everything in great detail. It will make the registering process a breeze for you. You will need a Credit Card but that shouldn’t be a problem. If you don’t have one – get one. You can save a lot when ordering directly from Japanese shops, avoiding the middleman. But you will nearly always need a CC for this.

What are these points for and how can I use them?

Like nearly every Japanese store, honto.jp is offering a frequent customer model. Depending on the value of your purchase you get a certain amount of points (or 得点) when your order is shipped. Each point equals 1 ¥. You can decide to use your points when you checkout your order but this is well explained in the guide as well.

banner_tsukaitaoshi_m

Normally you’ll only get a few points for each book but honto is nearly always hosting a special event which will double your points or give you 1000 points for a 10,000¥ order. Each event is announced with a big banner on the starting page so you can’t miss it.

Which manga and books should I pick up and how do I know how they look in reality?

That’s a tough one. I love browsing through book-stores. It’s just great to check out which selection of books are on display, to check the paper and binding and everything that makes a good book so special. I tried to recreate the feeling with my small section of Japanese books but I’ve been slacking the last few weeks. You sure know where to find some easy Japanese manga and pictures of them but if you want to check out the more recent stuff (especially 少年) then head over to Reading Japanese Manga (defunct). A nice blog from a guy about his (frequent) manga orders.

Update: I made a nice searcheable list with all manga titles I featured on this site. It’s conveniently called Japanese Manga Index.

20130808-094714.jpg

Sorry for the bad picture but it was the only one I was able to find. That’s how honto ships small orders. It doesn’t really look like it but the books are very well protected in there. Never experienced anything like this and I order a lot of stuff from abroad. I will do some proper pictures when my next order arrives.


Hope my post was helpful to you. Please drop a line in the comments and let me know how it went with the singup. Don’t be shy and share what you put in your first order.

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  • polyglotter

    Nice! Very useful information. I’m always on the lookout for new posts, especially the ones about books. Looking forward to reading the one about beginner manga without Furigana -which I think are called seinen manga, but I could be wrong- soon :D

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  • Thank you :) Really glad you like the stuff over here.
    Sorry for taking so long for the Manga without Furigana post but I actually started with it a couple of days ago. I just have to take the pictures. It will be out next week – I promise.

    Thanks for your support :)

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  • kiggy

    I tried using honto, the accepted my card (they verified it twice every time i place order) but when it come to actually paying for the order my card doesn’t seem to work. They said my bank blocked it but when i called my bank they said no problem with my account. I told them to try again but to no avail. Now they going to cancel my order if i dont make payment in 7 days. Well i had to choice but to have my orders cancel considering i only have 1 card. My card is visa by the way.

    • I’ve heard about quite a bunch of people who had problems with their VISA cards when ordering from honto. Never experienced anything like this. I’m using a normale VISA card myself and haven’t had any problems as of today.
      Do you normally buy stuff from japan using your VISA card? Maybe it’s because a foreign country wants to charge your card for the first time when you just used it in your homeland and thus VISA thinks your card was stolen and blocks it.

      • kiggy

        i used normal visa as well and has been using it for other online japanese store with no problem. i dont think it has anything to do with my card though considering the card passed the verification. They make a spoof transaction of JPY1 everytime i place an order just to verify my card.

        • Really sad to hear that. Maybe I’m just lucky then. Never had any problems ordering from honto so far. Maybe you could try it with another card of your friends/family?!

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  • Brian Brien

    This is a good list I just found: http://kaizora.wordpress.com/where-to-buy-japanese-manga/

    Also, kind of random, but entertaining: http://www.japanesegeek.com

    Domo!

  • Nadia Alvarado

    Where can I get the manga in pdf?

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  • Tran Mai

    Are the mangas on cdjapan in english or japanese :)?

    • They are all in Japanese.

      • Tran Mai

        Do you know any sites for manga in english? :)

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  • Tiago

    I normally buy on Amazon from Japan. I’ve never had any issue using credit card (Mastercard)

    • Try cdjapan for a change as well. They are especially great for smaller manga volumes which are pretty lightweigth. You will save a lot on shipping when using SAL.

      • Tiago

        I use Amazon because of sets and not single volumes ;)

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  • Fangirl

    Does the site sell novels as well? I usually use Amazon, but most of the novels there are in English, which doesn’t help me at all.

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  • Stregoica Uz

    I somehow managed to purchase a few novels from Honto but they gave me a coupon (expires today I guess) and it doesn’t have a coupon code, so I can’t use it :P I can’t use points as well. It says the amount of the points exceeds the amount I have. But I write the exact amount :S

  • paranoialookout

    Just thought I’d chime in even though this is an older article. Amazon Japan is a great place to find manga. Most new books will be covered by Amazon international, so you’ll have no problem sending them stateside. If you really do some digging though you can find some amazing bargains in the used market. I recently picked up volumes 1-9 of Saint Oniisan for 20 bucks and volumes 1-63 of Bleach for 60. Just have to keep your eyes peeled for a seller willing to ship internationally!

    • Thanks for letting me know. But did’t amazon themselves only shipped using EMS? Apart from that great deals which I’ll definitely look into.

      • paranoialookout

        Ah, sorry, those prices I said included the shipping costs. So Saint Oniisan was $10 plus $10 EMS Shipping. Bleach was $50 plus $10 EMS shipping. $15 dollars is usually the highest I’ve seen my shipping from Amazon Japan. The best part is that you’ll get your books in about 2 or 3 days. Usually the used sellers that are willing to ship overseas will have “Amazon Prime” listed as an option, that’s how you know they ship from Amazon’s warehouse. Might make searching through all the used stuff a bit easier.

  • Thanks for this review! I would love to order some manga from cdjapan, but I was a bit worried about the shipping. Good to know you had no problems at all getting orders shipped to Germany. I live in Netherlands so it won’t be a problem as well I guess. So I suppose the relatively cheap SAL shipping option would be fine.

    • SAL definitely will be fine. Don’t worry. I suppose EU wide shipping times should be around 2 weeks. Let me know which titles you picked.

  • Colutea

    Danke sehr für den Artikel, der war sehr hilfreich. Gerade, wenn man nicht so recht weiß, welche Versandart man wählen soll. Trotzdem hätte ich noch eine Frage – wie lang dauert es denn sich Bücher über den billigsten Versand schicken zu lassen?