Dicussion: OOP Manga Collecting Habits


This glorious stack of books  you see in the picture above is not my t0-read list (which is about three times this size) and not my oh-no-I-bought-two-copies-of-this-manga list. It is my random-out-of-print manga list. Except for Gatcha Gacha and Bizenghast. I don’t know how those got in there, but they need to be shelved.

You see, my out of print manga shopping strategy is this: If you see it (at a convention or in a store or online), it’s out of print and you want to read it, buy it no matter what volume you’re on. If you see volume 5, grab it now and find volume 1, 2,  3 and 4 elsewhere when you can. You might never see it again and then you’ve lost the chance.

I began this tactic during last year’s summer con season in California, which is about when I got really into OOP manga. As you can see, I’ve done pretty well with “shopping ahead.” Since then, I’ve been able to get the first volumes of quite a few of these series or many of the preceding volumes, in some cases.  Better yet, most of the manga on this list was gotten at a discount.

I don’t know why I do this, aside from the fact that I really just want to read these manga before it becomes totally impossible. I know I’m going to have more trouble finding volumes of Mars, Happy Mania, Cyborg 009 and Lagoon Engine, maybe even Boys Over Flowers too. My biggest OOP triumph is collecting all of Basara without having to spend hundreds of dollars for copies of the extremely OOP volumes.

Often times I feel that I missed out on a lot of good manga due to very biased tastes and lack of money. Sometimes I just want to collect these manga for the sake of having them in my collection (and reading them, of course.) Some have sentimental value to me. A few series made it into this pile because I worked on a volume at Tokyopop and decided to collect the entire run just because of that.

The only downside is that this pile has ballooned since the Tokyopop garage sale, not to mention Fanime, and I’m rapidly running out of book shelf space. So perhaps it’s a good thing these collections aren’t complete because then I’d have to shelve them.

So, my readers, do you ever buy OOP manga way ahead of what you’re actually reading? Or do you like to read everything in its proper order? What are your quirky OOP manga buying habits?

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.
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23 Responses to Dicussion: OOP Manga Collecting Habits

  1. I used to be a stickler for buying things in order, but lately there are so many series I want to read/continue that I’ll pick up any volume I see, especially if it’s at a used bookstore or deeply discounted.

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  3. Normally, when buying from a bookstore/TRSI I buy books in order just so that when I re-read/loan the books out to friends I have all the books I need and it’s just simpler to read. But there’s an amazing used bookstore near my house and I’m getting into the habit of if I see a book there from a series I’m reading that I don’t own yet (in or out of print) I grab it since it’s probably going to be cheaper there than anywhere else. And when I go to cons (although this would work more if I went to more than one a year) I always look for the OOP manga first and then whatever is currently being released just so I don’t miss out and have to pay a ton more for just one volume.

    • Yeah, it’s really helpful when you go to lots of cons. You can find different sellers are different places (although some of them are alllllways there. o_o) Your con buying tactics are slightly better than mine. If I see a newer title and I really want the next volume, I’ll just buy that one too. 😛
      It’s good that you have a good used bookseller. I know it doesn’t help the industry, but it does save you money, which might be further spent on new titles!

      • That’s how I view it anyway (the used bookstore thing), even if I’m not giving money directly to the manga-ka they did already get some money from that book. And,if the book is from a defunt company anyway, I’m not sure if buying the book new would send money to the manga-ka anyway.

  4. Kuro says:

    I’ve actually never bought a manga series without starting by it’s first volume. And now I’m beggining to regret it because of a specific series – Emma.
    I had found volumes 5-8 (the rarest along with 9),10 on a local comic bookstore last year and I didn’t buy them right away because I was only on volume 2. Now I have up until 4, but volumes 5-8 were sold in the meantime.
    I live in southwest europe (Portugal to be exact) and so there’s almost no places to buy manga from here, so I usually have to order everything online. Problem is, collecting OOT series by buying online can be pretty hard, especially when dealing with really rare volumes like the ones I’m after.

    I also missed the train on Monster, and I’ve yet to find volumes 3 and 6.

    Nowadays I tend to make sure a series has every volume widely available before I start collecting it. I can only hope to find the volumes I’m after, and I wonder if I’ll ever finish them.

    • It breaks my heart to hear that you can’t find two really awesome manga series, especially Monster, which is one of my favorite series of all time. :< Good luck with that, but don't give up on some series just because they aren't widely available!

  5. J.Tabon says:

    I’m so anal retentive about reading/buying things in order, it never occurred to me to buy titles this way, OOP or not… until a few volumes of Monster went out of stock and prices for them got a little crazy. And this was like a week after I passed them up in the bookstore because I wasn’t there yet. That hurt, lol.

    • Ouch. That’s totally why I buy OOP manga the way I do. I remember passing up on all these titles when I was younger and now I want to read them & it’s so much harder! Now I have the money to buy what I can, so no more!

  6. Kim says:

    I often go to my library, which has a long list of OOP manga! And I found a really good used bookstore near my university that has shelves of older manga~

  7. badzphoto says:

    I’ve borrowed the whole “Basara” and “Boys Over Flowers” series from public library to read. Thanks goodness for public libraries. I’m hoping that Viz would release these in omnibus …
    I didn’t know that “The stellar six” #3 was released. I thought the last volume released by TP was #2, I am so jealous.

    • Actually… I thought so too, but it was at the Tokyopop garage sale, so I picked it up. Maybe I got one of the only copies lying around. The book says it was meant to be printed in May 2011, so production would have finished in February 2011, quite a bit before things started to go south for the company. I suppose they sent off the book to be printed and decided not to distribute them when they got them back from the printers.

      I really wish Viz would release some of these long shoujo series in omnibus editions. Both Basara and Boys Over Flowers are ridiculously long! Sheesh.

      • JRB says:

        “I suppose they sent off the book to be printed and decided not to distribute them when they got them back from the printers.”

        If this is true, then it gives me a whole ‘nother reason to hate TP, or at least the graceless way they handled the shutdown.

        My general modus operandi is to buy volumes of OOP series I want as I come across reasonably-priced copies, but not read them until I have them all; I’ve had too many experiences reading to volume X of something, and then waiting frustrating months to get my hands on volume X+1 so I can keep going. My other principle is to buy as much as I can afford of stuff that looks worthwhile when it’s still new, since I’ve also been burned on the “oh, such-and-such just came out, I can wait a couple months to get that” state of mind, and then when I get around to trying to buy whatever it is, it’s OOP and $$$.

        On the plus side, I live in an area with an excellent public library system that has all kinds of odd old things, so I can read through most series to see if I want to spend the time and money hunting down my own copies.

        • Well, the thing is that by the time these books came around, they were trying to get rid of all their merchandise so they didn’t have to pay for a warehouse. (After all, if you’re shutting down a publisher, you wouldn’t keep the publisher’s warehouse around.) So I wouldn’t hate them more for it, it was just what they needed to do to shut down.

          If I have the first volume of a series, I’ll go ahead and start reading, but I understand why some people wouldn’t. It’s just my reward for persisting and finding that volume so I can actually start loving the series. This method is all about patience, really.

  8. NotSoFluent says:

    Interesting discussion. Personally, when it comes to OOP series, I either:

    1) Stalk eBay for the most difficult volumes to find, or 2) Fish through Alibris for in-print copies for below the retail price. I’d like to try your strategy of picking up volumes once you see them regardless of number though. I might just try that for Monster, as I’ve attempted twice to bid on complete sets on eBay and have failed twice already. 🙁 My LCS does have four volumes of Monster, so I should look to grab them to get at least some of it out of the way.

    I’ve found that many of the series I’ve been wanting to buy (but held off) are slowly disappearing for retail stores. I have half of Maison Ikkoku already (with most of the OOP volumes, thanks to lucky chances on eBay), and it’s still painstaking how hard it is to find volumes.

    I admit, it’s a bit rewarding, working harder than usual to complete a series you love.

    • Thanks!
      I’ve purchased manga through eBay before, but I honestly enjoy shopping for books at a physical location more. EBay is great for when you just can’t find it in stores though. Never tried Alibris before though.
      You should definitely get those volumes of Monster. Sometimes it’s easier to do than buy a complete set.

      But I agree. It’s rewarding to work so hard to finish series this way. Much more rewarding than just buying them as they come out, actually.

  9. insaneben says:

    Apologies for the late post.
    Personally, I find it more rewarding when you find an OOP volume at a physical store (and at retail) than online. It’s like wandering into a dump and finding buried treasure (er… not that the store I went to was a dump, mind you).

    Speaking of OOP books, I’ve been fortunate enough to have stumbled on a few titles back in the day. One example would be “Lunar Legend Tsukihime”, which was published in English by DR Master (formerly Comics One- anyone remember them?… Anyone?). They cranked out five volumes (which are relatively easy to find) before sneaking in a sixth volume back in February 2009 before pulling out of the manga market one month later. How and why I ordered it the day it was released I’ll never know (since I typically wait for reviews to come in before I dive in), but I later discovered that only a handful of copies were printed, and earlier this year, one copy of volume 6 went for three times the cover price on eBay (this, for a series that wasn’t very popular to begin with [and would most likely never see another volume], from a publisher most people were unaware of).

    Point being- sometimes, even the least-likely of series (even incomplete ones) can attract some seriously-hardcore bids on eBay. Now, if only copies of “Ninin Ga Shinobuden” and “Mamoru The Shadow Protector” would go for slightly-above retail on eBay…

    • I have to agree! Finding books in retail locations (especially unknowing comic book stores) is more rewarding! I also like the dealers rooms and swap meets at cons because most of the time, things are at least slightly discounted (and the swap meet sellers are especially ignorant of the value of their wares.)
      Finding something online is fine when you’re feeling a bit desperate, but I don’t feel like bidding over a book and competing for it. Not to mention the fact that I cannot and do not want to overbid on a book. My wallet doesn’t go that far.

      I think I remember Tsukihime, mainly that I watched the anime and not liking it at all. But to each their own and it’s awesome that you got a manga that is now considered valuable. :3

  10. animemiz says:

    There’s only one or two oop titles I really would like to read Emma being one of them. I actually do look online for titles, and that’s how I collected Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne that way… but I don’t necessary go out of my way to collect oop titles.. I do see some oop titles at Bookoff.

    • It’s nice to go back to titles that you missed though. Sometimes you discover stuff that you become enamored with that you wouldn’t have liked when they were first published. For example, I like Eagle a lot now, but I wouldn’t have read it as a 14 year-old.

    • It’s nice to go back to titles that you missed though. Sometimes you discover stuff that you become enamored with that you wouldn’t have liked when they were first published. For example, I like Eagle a lot now, but I wouldn’t have read it as a 14 year-old.

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