Dicussion: How do you keep up with manga releases?

Ever since Tokyopop started the deluge of new manga releases years ago, fans have had trouble keeping up with everything. Now, even after the demise of several manga companies, there aren’t many fans who can buy all the manga they want on any given week.

But keeping up with the latest manga releases is still very popular, as proven by scanlations and how many people demand their next chapter of Naruto be released ASAP. Manga reviewers, by default, also have to keep up with new releases as much as they can.

Me? Well, I’ve just about given all that up in favor of hunting down series that aren’t easy to find anymore. There are now only a few current series that I buy close to the release date. Mostly, I blame this on the closing of my local Borders and the inadequacy of the manga selection at both my LCS (Meltdown Comics) and the closest Barnes & Noble.  Not to mention, I don’t get review copies frequently.

Do you keep up with new manga releases as much as possible? If so, what’s your general buying strategy? If not, why? Is there anyone out there who wants so little manga that they only buy one or two copies at a time (and not because they’re broke)?

About Daniella Orihuela-Gruber

Daniella is a freelance manga editor and blogger. She likes collecting out of print manga and playing with her puppy. Yes, someone got her a puppy already.
This entry was posted in Discussion, manga, opinion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Dicussion: How do you keep up with manga releases?

  1. Pingback: Digital manga, Fumi Yoshinaga, and new releases « MangaBlog

  2. sgl says:

    For printed works, I follow the publishers on Twitter (as they’re generally good about announcements), Anime News Network, and my local comic book store. Even though Borders used to be a good place to browse, I found that none of the folks there really knew what they had. I much prefer to go to the local comic book store where I”ve developed relationships with the staff who point out things I might like and pull out new books for me that I know I want to buy. (That said, I’m part of an older demographic that started manga in the comic book store – back in the day when Viz ran single issue comics!)

    For things that are emerging literally from Japan — I do look at some of the aggregator sites only to understand what’s popular and near the top ten and sometimes examine the Japan top ten sales lists as well. I do tend to glance superficially at titles that look like lots of other people read (based on the ranks)….

    Lately however, I do tend to trust social networks and a few bloggers over publication lists.

    Then there’s the reverse window – the entry from anime into manga. I don’t think I would have found Yotsubato had I not known about Azumanga Daioh (anime), read the 4-komi and then jumped on the Yotsubato manga :]

    • The thing about Borders being good for manga was that they had such a large selection that I could manage to find something I wanted every time I went it there. Living in areas where the LCS wasn’t a reliable source for manga, it was really great to have a Borders that was. (Especially when ordering online wasn’t always the best solution.)
      Unfortunately, now there’s no fantastic replacement store. The only thing my closest LCS is good for is finding old titles that they haven’t been able to sell for years and years. I’m talking old, old, large trim size copies of Banana Fish here. The next best store is Barnes & Noble, which is slightly better for keeping current, but a huge pain to get to. (It’s in a very touristy mall) After that, it’s more comic book shops that have given up on manga. It’s really disappointing.

  3. Lissa says:

    I follow when manga comes out through Twitter, publisher websites and Amazon (though I don’t buy from Amazon). I go to my local comic store everyday Wednesday like clockwork and then buy anything and everything new that I want (comics are one of my top items that there’s always room for in the budget xP ). I get antsy if there’s a new book out that I won’t and I don’t own it so I’m usually pretty on the ball with all new books.

    I don’t really follow manga as it comes out in Japan unless it’s a creator I like (such as CLAMP), or has a snazzy art style I see somewhere like ANN. Then I just cross my fingers it’ll be licensed in English or French so I can read them.

    • I wish I had somewhere to go like clockwork (and the money to buy what I want that regularly.) You’re lucky to have such a great LCS near you.
      If I lived closer to my mom’s place, I could probably pull it off. My original LCS is great with manga.

  4. lys says:

    *raises hand* Yes! I keep up with current (US publisher) releases! It looks like… I’m following 25 currently-running series right now (which sounds like a ton, but this includes two series that haven’t actually started but that I’ve preordered, as well as series like Kaze Hikaru or Crimson Hero that only get released once in a blue moon. …it’s still a ton, isn’t it? And it was about double that before Tokyopop and CMX went down).

    Anyway, I go about it by preordering titles through TRSI when they have their publisher-sales. I preorder anything I’m not in a particular rush to get, because they tend to send shipments out once every couple months, so I never know if I’ll get books two weeks early or two months late. For titles I want to read as soon as possible, I place special orders at my local bookstore (I used to just pick them up when they were in stock, at another branch of the bookstore, but I’ve since moved and the place in biking distance is a tiny downtown shop, so their manga selection is pretty small (but! they’ve started stocking books I previously ordered, so it seems I’m helping them diversify :D)) There are two regular employees at the store, and they now recognize me when I walk in and have my special orders waiting as soon as I reach the counter…

    • lys says:

      …as far as keeping up with information on new releases, I browse the release dates on Amazon every so often and record the info I need on my computer’s calendar, so I know what to look for and when.

  5. Oliver says:

    I do exactly what lys does but I have a month-by-month dealie on a Word document; looks like this:

    Finder Vol. 4: Prisoner in the Viewfinder
    Seven Days: Fri Sun
    Dog x Cat Vol. 2
    Tenjho Tenge Vol. 2
    Velveteen & Mandala
    Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei Vol. 10
    Totsugami Vol. 1
    Mardock Scramble Vol. 1

    I do scour the latest dates on amazon for this info, I have dates up ’til September 2012 (only Bad Teacher’s Equation 5, but more titles will be added as time passes.)

  6. Kim says:

    I actually just follow MangaBlog and keep up with the gathered reviews on releases from there. Otherwise, I just go to my Barnes and Nobles to check out if there are any new books since they tend to have them on time.

  7. ZepysGirl says:

    Holy tl:dr, Batman!

    I have a series of Amazon wish lists that make things really easy. One of them is for manga that’s available right now, and another is for pre-orders. Whenever a pre-order book becomes available, I just switch it over to the other list. That way I can see at a glance what I should be focusing on and what’s coming up. The “What’s Available” and the Pre-Order list run at 95 volumes and 108 volumes, respectively. That’s actually worlds better than what it was a few years ago— at one point, I had over 300 books on my “What’s Available” list.

    I check my Pre-Order list every other week or so, to see if new volumes were put in the system. It’s handy to know that they usually update all of a particular publisher at the same time. So, if I search for Air Gear and there are no new volumes, I know that the rest of Kodansha’s catalog probably hasn’t updated either. Viz’s stuff got updated a week ago, so I ended up added another 20 or so books to the list.

    Having an Amazon wish list, specifically, proved its worth early on: I managed to catch Shugo Chara! #10 on pre-order for $6. And right now, Black Butler #6 is going for $6. In fact, the rest of the series currently available is at $6.66 a volume— is someone at Amazon trying to tell us something? XD

    And I use Google Calendar a lot for school, so recently I started adding in manga release dates, too. It’s cool; it gives me a much better feel for when stuff is coming out than the Amazon list does. For example, on October 4th, 8 new volumes are coming out for series I follow— Yikes! XD This is useful to know if I want to take advantage of any pre-order sales. Shipping is the bane of my existence, so whenever I order something I always try to get up to whatever minimum I need to to get it for free. And since free shipping normally necessitates only one shipment, having lots of books released on the same day is actually sometimes more of a blessing than a curse.

    As far as actually keeping up with series as they’re released, I’d say I’m doing pretty darn good. I’m normally only a volume or two behind what’s out, unless it’s an older series I just got into (Fairy Tail, I’m looking at you. >_>). Trying to play catch up with 40 series will seriously run down your wallet; I can only afford to get manga if I can find it at a discount, so I don’t normally get things the day they’re released.

    Oh, and as far as finding new series: I tune in to The Manga Blog and ANN for updates. I’m kind of at the point where I’ve already heard of everything that’s in publication (and decided whether or not I wanted to buy it), so I just tend to keep my ear to the ground for new licenses. Oh, but occasionally some blogger’s love for an older series will have me hunting it down. Gatcha Gacha was one of those— I somehow completely missed it the first time around.

    tl:dr – Amazon. That is all.

    • Wow, that is tl;dr, but I read it anyway.

      I’m a little pissed off at Amazon right now. They cut off Amazon Affiliates just because they didn’t want to get taxed in multiple states. Plus, having manga shipped to me has long been something I’m not too keen on. (Mostly the fear of having to track it down after living in many locations that don’t have adequate mailboxes for this stuff. I also used to work with mail and packages, so that doesn’t help at all.)

      • ZepysGirl says:

        I don’t have many options if I want to shop in brick-and-mortar stores, though. ^_^; My Borders closed months ago, and even though there’s a Barnes & Noble close to my school, they never give good enough discounts. Every comic shop near me has a *tiny* manga section (if they have one at all), and almost never discounts it. At most, I’ve seen 20% off— and I can do much better online.

        I can understand why Amazon would do everything they can to keep themselves tax-free. I’m in Texas, where things are getting a little funky since they have a distribution center, yet haven’t ever taxed us. I think they just offered our legislature the chance to create 5,000 jobs in exchange for not paying tax. Which is… questionably legal at best, I think. xD

        I’m fortunate in that I live close to my parents, so I was always able to send packages there as a last resort. Although I don’t think I’ve ever had something lost in the mail… yet. And I’ve ordered literally hundreds of books online, so I consider that a pretty good track record. 🙂

  8. Justin says:

    Well, it’s kind of like this:

    1. I start by purchasing the series I’m already continuing. If a series has proven to get me to read once or twice over its course of volumes, I buy. Though after Gintama and Ichigo 100% have stopped being published, I now fear buying long series (though stuff like Negima and Bakuman will probably be safe). I have only 5 or 7 series I’m buying on a regular basis.

    2. I look for work from authors I have heard of. For example, I did not read Hiro Mashima’s Rave (though I watched some of the anime when it did air on Cartoon Network), but I’m buying Fairy Tail; Nohiburo Watsuki’s RuroKen–Buso Renkin. If the series proves to be a keeper to me, I’ll keep buying it!

    3. Check various blogs or ANN for manga reviews of upcoming titles. It’s because of those sites that I have Kingyo Used Books, Arisa, and Blue Exorcist on my bookshelf!

    4. Gamble. Sometimes, I go by gut. If it wasn’t for the gut, I would have never known about the hilarious Doujin Work (Darn you Media Blasters–there was only two volumes left!) and Iron Wok Jan (If only this somehow got reprinted^^). Sometimes the gut fails (Yozakura Quartet, uh, no.)

  9. Forest_fairy_801 says:

    I keep a handwritten calendar with titles and release dates for the manga series I read that are currently being published in English and French. The dates are fairly easy to obtain from Amazon and RightStuf. Sometimes the release dates aren’t very accurate – generally for anything DMP, I know that I have to add 2 months to the original publishing date to get the actual date for both RightStuf and my local comics store. Viz is usually available a week or two early. I don’t keep up with what’s popular in Japan, but merely check out every few months to see if my favorite authors whose works aren’t licensed in English (or aren’t published quickly enough) have anything new. I browse reviews and various message boards for recommendations of new (to me) manga to try.

    When it comes to buying the actual books, I have a subscription at my lcs and also regularly check sales at RightStuf. The French titles come from either Amazon Canada or Amazon France. The Japanese titles come from Kinokuniya US. I don’t buy that much from the actual US Amazon, except for used and hard to find books. Never had a problem with mail delivery, even from overseas used booksellers.

    I don’t find it difficult to keep up with purchasing new series (right now following 25 of them). Starting a series that already has about 30 volumes out or finding out of print titles is much more difficult. I don’t always read them as soon as I buy them though, but if I don’t grab them the second they are available they could disappear, since we all know how fickle US manga publishing is.

    • I wouldn’t call the manga industry fickle at all. They are just extremely realistic about what sells well and what doesn’t. Thus, stuff that doesn’t sell gangbusters doesn’t get reprinted over and over. And only a few titles really hit that level of sales. Other companies that stop publishing… well, those are other problems entirely.

  10. Benny B says:

    by reading blogs… duh!

    also amazon

  11. Ade says:

    Well right now I have to scale back a lot because money is tight but usually for manga that I’m heavily into and that I MUST get the next release or I’ll melt – I use iCal on my computer (and my phone too since the calendar syncs) to remember the release dates. For pre-orders/just released stuff, I’ll probably get online. I’ll usually do Amazon if it’s a “big release day” for me for manga and CDs: ex: If there’s 2 mangas and 3 cds being released on the same day, it helps me to just do it in Amazon in one go. Otherwise it’s JM or RS – whoever has the better prices (usually RS).

    Usually places like (Borders), B&N and the shops I go to in NYC ever so often are more for just browsing for something new to start, or to get the next book of a series that I’m not SO anxious to get the next volume or two too.

    Kind of a pretty random system…. I take the releases as they come lol

  12. DeBT says:

    As someone who’s extremely finicky about what I buy, I only reserve purchasing items that I’m sure will be enjoyable re-reads. It especially helps if I’ve read the item beforehand, so I have a general idea of where the story’s headed. A lousy ending or a boring side-arc that lasts too many volumes are potential turn-offs in my book. Why pay good money for something I won’t like?

    On the other side of the spectrum, I like hunting down Mangas that’ve completed their runs. Having an entire series translated into English gives more incentive for me to snatch up the rest of the series. I’m currently trying to find volumes 7-10 of Suikoden III. Sure, I could go the easy route and order the remaining volumes online from various sources, but I want to see if there’s still any of those around my hometown. Who knows? There could be an unchecked corner in a 2nd hand bookstore where a lonely volume is waiting for a new owner. And I hate the idea of deprieving that single volume from a comfy home.

    Plus, it gives me an excuse to get out and move around. Some stores don’t have an e-mail address, so I have to go there in person. Bonus if there’s extra volumes of other Mangas on sale while I’m exploring. The trick is not to get too excited around the owners when I make a worthy find.

  13. Tayrin_Roo says:

    Amazon is probably the most common way I find out what is new out there. I bounce around to publishers websites maybe once a month or so, but Amazon gets the most constance use, just because I can use my wish lists to help keep track of things and thay give recs based on what I look at or buy. I wonder about the recs they give sometimes, but it often clues me in to new or interesting series I can be on the look our for the next time I make it into a store.

    While I use Amazone to get most of my street dates, I acutally have a rather large, mulity-page data spread sheet to keep track of things. I have a page and is done by release dates, one byt series title, with others just keeping track of what volumes I have of what, with notes on what I like about each series, author, and such. Once I have updated my spread sheet I look at the up coming month to see what is coming out and compair it to the money I’ll have to spend. Some months are light and I just roll the money over to the next month. There have been some months when I don’t get much and others when I’m tapped out the first week in.

    I try to make my money go as far as I can ( just like everyone else) but at the same time I have tried to spread it around. For example I have quite a few VIZ titles I follow, but you almost never get discounts for them on line, so I usually try to get them at the LCS. They can order stuff for me and will hold it for up to a few months so that gives me some breathing space on when to spend my money with out having to worry about a volume disapearing before I can buy my copy.

    On the other hand I usually only get my yaoi on line because it’s usualy quite a bit cheaper. Some books can be $20 at a regular store, but I can get the pre-ordered at sometimes almost 40-47% off. That is a big help and of course I make sure I always get the free shipping. As long as I’m not in a hurry this is a nice option.

    The local Borders was where I would look before buying or if I need that one book right aways and couldn’t wait for it to come in the mail. Sadly this is no longer an option and I’m stuck with just Barns ad Nobles. Its a nice enought store, but they don’t have a very big slection. There carry think like Naruto or Bleach, but they have not yaoi at all, not even the light BL stuff.

    This year it has been harder to do this kind of buying and to keep track of what is coming out when. With Borders going out (our local Walden Books want out in April) and so many publishers shutting down I feel like I have been frantically trying to complete series before they disappear or getting caught up in new ones I got on sale.

    The one place I like to look for new series (that no one has mentioned) is actually at conventions. I got to two a year (one in the fall and one in the spring) and they are great when looking for new series to get into. I can look though the books and the venders in the dealer’s hall usually really know their stuff. You give then a few examples of what you like and they can usually send you off in a good direction. They also tend to have series that are not in the stores. Not just things like yaoi, but just unusual titles by smaller imprints. They also tend to have older stock on hand (because they only sell at conventions) so it’s a great place to find that missing volume that has sold out at every local book store and it going to $60+ on e-bay.

  14. lovelyduckie says:

    Do you keep up with new manga releases as much as possible?
    Yes I try. I’ll adjust my priorities based on my worries about them going OOP. I’ll let myself fall behind in One Piece, Naruto, etc…without worrying too much. But titles that seem to be less popular overall get my money first. Eventually I go back and catch up in Naruto and One Piece.

    If so, what’s your general buying strategy? If not, why?
    I pre-order like crazy these days. I want manga companies to know I have every intention of buying this series. Plus Amazon allows me to buy 3 get the 4th free on manga pre-orders where the MSRP is under $10. I like to use that for pre-orders.

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