How Much Does Manga Cost?

21 December 2023Shopify API

Wondering how much does Manga cost? Well, check out below the price of manga, tips while buying it, and a lot more. Read further for more details. 

Manga has a special spot in my top 5 favorite things from Japan. So of course I have read a lot of manga because of my possession. I’m not going to lie but I may have spent slightly more than necessary on them. 

One of the biggest issues I have faced as a manga fan is not being able to find authentic manga. And if I do find it, I am never completely sure if it’s priced right or if I am being scammed. 

It took me a few years to figure it out but I would like to believe that I now have some knowledge about the pricing of manga. This article will give you (much-needed) knowledge on- how much manga costs so that you aren’t completely ripped off on your next manga purchase.

How Much Does Manga Cost in Japan?

Manga in Japan is surprisingly affordable compared to many other countries. A typical individual volume, called a "tankobon," will set you back just ¥400 to ¥500, which translates to roughly $3.50 to $4. These volumes pack in 8 to 12 chapters, each spanning 20 to 30 pages, giving you a hefty dose of your favorite story for a small price.

Even manga magazines are budget-friendly, costing ¥300 to ¥600 depending on their publishing frequency. This accessibility contributes significantly to the widespread love for manga in Japan, making it a cultural touchstone enjoyed by people of all ages.

While special editions or particularly popular series might cost a bit more, you'll generally find manga to be a delightful and budget-conscious way to dive into the world of Japanese comics.

Manga Price Comparison Across Countries

Country Average Volume Price (USD) Factors Influencing Price
Japan ¥400-¥500 (~$3.50-$4.00) Lower production & distribution costs, larger market
United States $7.00-$9.00 Importation, translation, smaller market size
United Kingdom £6.00-£8.00 Similar to US, potential VAT impact
Canada $8.50-$10.00 Similar to US, potential currency fluctuations
Australia A$12.00-A$15.00 Higher import costs, smaller market size

What Is The Cost of Manga Online?

The cost of reading manga online can vary greatly depending on the platform you choose and whether you prefer legal or illegal methods. Here's a breakdown of the different options:

Legal Platforms:

  • Subscription Services: Services like Shonen Jump, Crunchyroll Manga, and ComiXology offer unlimited reading of a vast library of manga for a monthly fee, typically ranging from $5 to $10. This is a cost-effective option if you're a voracious reader who enjoys a variety of genres.

  • Chapter-by-Chapter Purchase: Some platforms like Amazon Kindle and Google Play Books allow you to purchase individual chapters or volumes of manga. Prices vary depending on the series and publisher, but generally range from $0.99 to $4.99 per chapter. This is a good option if you only want to read specific titles or don't want to commit to a subscription.

One of my favorties websites to buy manga is Rightstuf. RightStuf is one of the websites that you can buy manga from. Customers can choose from a variety of genres and media like novels, art books, graphic novels, and more.

I love that this site almost always has a sale going on or special discounts on their products. The manga here is so much more affordable than most other sites. However, this is applicable if you are eligible for free or minimal shipping costs. 

One of the setbacks of buying from this website is that in case you have to return your purchase, you have to bear the return shipping costs, even in the case of damaged products. 

Another thing I didn’t appreciate is that they charge you immediately for preorders. So while it is a good thing that you can preorder on this website, it can be risky to make immediate payments for the same. 

Out of personal experience, I would suggest that you order from RightStuf only if you are purchasing single volumes. 

Here, offers start at as low as $9. Prices vary depending on things like the manga’s popularity and rarity. If you find a particular manga too expensive at the moment, I guarantee you that you will find it at a discounted price during sales.

How Much Does Manga Cost

Amazon is probably one of the most popular places to purchase manga online. I find Amazon to be hassle-free. They have the fastest shipping time and the cost is quite reasonable as well. In some cases, like in the case of a membership or season sales, you may even be exempted from paying a shipping cost. 

When pre-ordering manga, I always choose Amazon. The reason is that they don’t charge me immediately. Instead, they charge me on the day of release. 

Returns on Amazon are easy as well. In case of replacements, Amazon provides them for free! 

My only bone to pick with Amazon is that a lot of the time books are damaged during shipping. I have received manga with damaged spines and creased covers due to poor shipping. However, their easy returns and free replacements make up for it.

Where to buy manga for cheap,

If you prefer to get your mangas from physical stores, Books-A-Million and Barnes and Noble are good choices. These stores are the most expensive place to buy manga. Websites like RightStuf are a major steal when compared to these physical stores. 

They don’t have many sales and often price manga at full cover price. However, they both have official websites that have sales once in a while like buy 2 and get 1 free.

They both also give customers with memberships extra discounts and free shipping. On the websites, manga starts at around $10 and can go up to a few hundred dollars in case of a complete series.

As expensive as shopping at these stores can get, it is often worth it since they get exclusive manga releases.

Another great option for affordable manga is to buy secondhand books. Stores like Half Price Books and 2nd & Charles are the best places to get your hands on rare or our choicest manga. Of course, you may have to compromise a little on the quality, but you are in for good deals. 

Why is Manga So Expensive?

Manga's price tag reflects its high-quality paper, intricate art, and translation costs. Plus, niche popularity and collector editions add a premium. But digital platforms and subscriptions offer budget-friendly ways to dive into this world of detailed stories and unique perspectives.

Here's a breakdown:

Production Costs

  • High-Quality Paper and Printing: Manga paper is known for its bright white color, smooth texture, and durability, all of which contribute to a premium reading experience but also drive up production cost
  • Detailed Artwork: Manga artists often pour immense time and effort into intricate artwork, with elaborate panel layouts, dynamic action sequences, and expressive character designs. This level of detail translates to higher labor costs.
  • Color Pages: While primarily black and white, many manga volumes include occasional color pages, further adding to the production budget.

Licensing and Distribution

  • Multiple Rights Holders: Creating and publishing manga involves a complex web of rights holders, including the artist, writer, publisher, and any original copyright holders for adapted works. Each party needs to be compensated, contributing to the final price.
  • Translation and Lettering: Translating manga accurately and adapting the nuances of humor and cultural references for a foreign audience requires skilled professionals, adding another layer of cost.

  • International Distribution: Importing and distributing manga internationally involves logistics, customs fees, and marketing expenses, pushing up the final price for readers outside Japan.

Market Factors

  • Niche Market: Compared to mainstream Western comics or novels, manga caters to a more niche audience. This smaller market size can lead to higher prices per unit to cover production and distribution costs.
  • Collector Culture: The passionate collector culture surrounding manga can also influence pricing. Limited editions, special box sets, and signed volumes often command premium prices due to their scarcity and desirability among collectors.

It's important to note that while manga may seem expensive at first glance, the value proposition can be quite high. The detailed artwork, engaging stories, and unique cultural perspective offered by manga often justify the cost for dedicated fans.

Additionally, the rise of digital platforms and subscription services has made manga more accessible and affordable than ever before.

Tips to Remember While Buying Manga 

We’ve already seen that manga can be rather heavy on the pocket. So here are a few tips to help you buy manga without burning a hole in your wallet. 

  • Make your purchase during special occasions like festivals and the end of the season. Most websites and stores have sales for special occasions that will save you a lot of money. 
  • Second-hand manga are not a bad investment. Most second-hand copies are in good condition and almost as good as new, but at more affordable prices.
  • Check your local bookstores. If you’re lucky, you may just come across rare manga at affordable prices.
  • Trading your manga with your friends is a great way of reading different manga without having to spend it on them. 
  • If you are interested in collecting manga, buy your manga in bulk as a complete series instead of individual volumes.

Manga Prices In Japan: FAQs

Is manga cheaper in Japan?

Manga in Japan is considerably cheaper than in most other countries due to several factors. Imagine snagging a brand new volume for just $3.50 to $4, compared to $7 or more elsewhere! This lower price reflects the larger market size, lower production costs, and lack of import or localization expenses. So, if you're ever in Japan, be sure to stock up on your favorite manga at bargain prices!

Is buying manga in Japanese worth it?

Besides the amazing storylines, manga is also known for the brilliant artwork that goes hand in hand with the story. If you are interested in art and studying manga, it is worth it.

It is a great learning experience and will give you a lot of exposure to different backgrounds, toning, paneling, and pretty much anything that goes into designing manga.

How do you know if a manga is fake?

If you are looking for a good-quality manga, keep an eye out for the graphics. An authentic manga has the best quality graphics because these are produced by the original publishers like Viz and Shueisha.

Also Read:

  1. Manga Vs Light Novel

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