Labo asks:

I’ve been wondering for a while now, but you say that you are learning Japanese characters to read more Japanese manga not yet translated for the public audience and I was wondering, that is you achieve that goal exactly how or where would you get the Japanese manga to put your skills to use. Seeing as few internet sites like Jbox.com offer a limited selection that are usually popular series, that have their own animes already.

Well Labo, I’m fortunate to live in an area of the US where I’m 45 minutes more or less to several Japanese bookstores, including, but not limited to, Kinokuniya and used bookstore Book Off. But as you note, their selection will be mostly for newer titles, and used bookstores inventory is always fluctuating. So to find some specific titles, I will have to go online.

There are several online bookstores, the most obvious being Amazon.co.jp, the Japanese arm of Amazon.com. A query of the hive mind that is Twitter got me several other suggestions. Kinokuniya also has an online book store. It has stores in both the US and Japan. The Japanese store probably has a better selection.  BK1 is an online store that sells manga, cds and dvds and is located in Japan.  Yesasia came up as an option as well, as did Yahoo Actions using a proxy, but those can get expensive. I used one once, and that was just to replace a CD that had been stolen from my brother, and I couldn’t get it anywhere else. I wouldn’t recommend those. Ebay can also be a source, but like used bookstores, the selection is hit or miss. beNippon seems to be a new online store that has lots of Japanese manga, though I don’t know anyone who’s tried it.

Another option that will be growing (hopefully) is reading manga online, in Japanese. CDJapan has an e-book rental section that allows you to read manga online, all in Japanese. I think this would be the ideal version for me. I just don’t have room for more manga! They already have quite a selection in all demographics, and even one title I really want to read! And it’s just a $1.00 for 48 hours for 1 volume. Now that’s a deal!

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3 Comments for this entry

  • lys says:

    Ooh, nice tips!! I have one suggestion to add. CDJapan recently widened its range of books to buy (separate from the rental section) by creating a book-request form. I’ve used this a number of times already to request manga, both new and older titles (though if it’s old enough to be out of print you’ll be less successful), and CDJapan is always super prompt about responding to my requests and listing the books (requesting a book doesn’t obligate you to buy it, by the way—they just send you a link to let you know it’s available). They go by the original Japanese price with no markups, and they have quite reasonable shipping rates (I use SAL, which usually takes around a week or two to ship to where I live in the middle of the US), and they’re always sending me coupons and offer points based on how much I purchase, so I’d definitely recommend it over the pricey Amazon.co.jp.

    I’ll have to look into beNippon sometime, too—it looks like their prices/shipping options are similar to CDJapan. And they apparently list used items! Nice :D

  • Lisa says:

    I would add Sasuga books to your list. I get all of my Japanese tankobon from them (along with a selection of other things from Japan, such as origami paper). Just google “sasuga” & you’ll find the link. They are an internet-only store &, as their name implies, they are indeed “sasuga” (dependable :).

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