Readers: What manga would draw you to a comic shop?

In response to the ICv2 article we linked to yesterday, comics retailer Todd Merrick says he has seen a small increase in manga sales in his store, and he hopes to build on that. Part of the problem for retailers is not knowing which manga to stock, so he’s sticking with the popular titles for now.

That actually raises an interesting question: You can buy Naruto anywhere, but Twin Spica is hard to find in a bookstore—I would make a special trip for that, but I can see the opposite point of view as well—retailers want to stock what sells. So let me throw this question to the readers: Which manga would entice you to do your shopping in a comic shop?

At Manga Worth Reading, Ed Sizemore rounds up the first day’s worth of contributions to the Jiro Taniguchi Manga Moveable Feast.


Kate Dacey on Benkei in New York (The Manga Critic)
Kristin on Bleach Official Character Book 2: Masked (Comic Attack)
Ken Haley on vol. 2 of Erementar Gerade (Sequential Ink)
Sean Gaffney on vol. 1 of Kodoku no Gourmet (A Case Suitable for Treatment)
Phillip Anthony on vol. 2 of Sailor Moon (Manga Bookshelf)
Lori Henderson on vols. 1-4 of Shiki Tsukai (Manga Xanadu)
Anna on vol. 27 of Skip Beat (Manga Report)
Snow Wildsmith on vol. 1 of Soulless (ICv2)

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  1. The kind of Manga that would draw me into a comic shop are some of the older Seven Seas titles stuff like Ballad of a Shinigami that retailers have out of stock and can only be bought as egtregiouslly over priced used copies that or old CMX Shojo titles but that’s just me

  2. Since my closest comic shop is three hours away, I don’t visit it often but buy mostly online.

    What I do like about shops is the browsing and the ability to actually see and touch the book before committing to it. So what I would go to the shop for is: stuff that I don’t know much about, first volumes of new series, expensive special editions that might or might not be worth the cost, the weird stuff. Basically anything that I wouldn’t buy without seeing it first. I also buy stuff on a whim at an actual store while my online shopping is mostly planned.

    Customer service is also a good draw. If the shopping experience is pleasant, I’m more likely to spend money. That sounds obvious but really isn’t, some stores seem to not want my patronage.

  3. I agree that pretty much anything Vertical or Tezuka (I mention this separately since DMP recently got Barbara) will get me in there. Also, IKKI stuff and Fantagraphics, Bride’s Story, the more “connoisseur” stuff so to speak. I really do want the stuff I can’t get at Barnes & Nobles. This also includes older, out of print stuff surely (CMX, Go Comi), though that might be harder for them to get at this point. Might not be a bad idea to have a yaoi section too, Borders used to carry a few of them at best. Special editions of stuff might be nice too (if they exist). Older shojo titles work well for me. Also, some of the lesser selling Shonen Jump titles (like Hikaru no Go) would be nice.
    I know that most comic book stores can special order stuff, but I want it right now, dammit! So while it’s a nice gesture, doesn’t work in the long run, if I have to wait, I’ll get it online. I also know it’s pretty well mandatory to carry FMA, One Piece, Naruto, etc but filling up the entire shelf with them is nothing short of annoying, makes me feel not as much space is going to more unique series (unique here meaning can’t be found in every B&N). If you want to keep more copies of a specific volume in the back I think that’s fine, but ordering 10 copies of the latest One Piece and shoving other stuff of the shelf or to the side is annoying to me, it somehow makes me feel like a selection is being pushed on me (even if I did go there to buy that).
    But then, after the selection is there, I still want a sale to buy some, maybe buy 3 get the 4th free or something, perhaps just on holiday weekends and free comic book day works fine, doesn’t need to be a constant sale.

  4. The type of manga that draws me to a comic store is all manga. There are comic stores in my city with quite comprehensive collections and I only go to those ones because I like to buy manga that match my mood.

  5. Ed Sizemore says

    To CJ’s list I woul add the Ponent Mon/Fanfare books and the omnibuses by Viz & Dark Horse.

  6. I agree with CJ on getting manga that you don’t find in B&N. I’m always peeking at the end of the shelves at the local B&N for something different besides the Naruto, Bleach, or One Piece, but can barely find anything more adventurous.

    I would think that the natural manga for comic book shops to stock would be from Dark Horse. I’m for more Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service or more Junji Ito horror, manga that skews older.

    But what would be more helpful is if comic shops treat manga the same way they treat comic books. I’m lucky in that my local comic shop is stocked to the gills with manga (lots of CMX and out of print titles), but they force me to dig through stacks and stacks of long boxes in which they keep them in. Display them neatly or organize the boxes better and I’ll be happy to buy the old manga from when VIZ didn’t believe that they should be flipped.

  7. I’m not even sure where a comic book shop is. No wait, that’s a lie. I just remembered where one is, but I have no interest in going there because there’s no place to park the car. *_*

    All that aside, even if there were a comic book store with a good location and ample parking, I rather doubt I’d visit the place for manga. That’s because I now buy everything online. I save a fair amount of money doing this, thus I can buy a little more manga as a result. Sure, I don’t get it as soon as it comes out, but most of the time, I’m not that worried about that.

  8. In my experience, the biggest difference between manga and comics is that manga is far more sequential than comics. I can hardly think of any big manga series that I would start reading anywhere but volume 1, yet most of the “big two” superhero comics — the center of ye olde comic book store — are designed with multiple entry points and stand-alone side stories. That makes it a lot easier to stock comic trades than manga volumes, because potentially any comic trade could be sold at any time but only the first and the latest manga volumes are going to sell on a regular basis (first to people trying out the series and latest to people following the series). On the other hand, I suppose that could be a plus: put out big displays of the first and last volumes, then keep the middles of the series in the less browse-friendly shelves.

    What I’d love to see in stores are the more impulse-buy sorts of manga, the short story collections or single books or 2-4 volume series — those are the things that, since they run so briefly, I’m much less likely to have heard ongoing buzz about. If I’m trekking out to a comic book store, I probably have a handful of ongoing books that I plan to pick up and an extra bit of budget for whatever shiny catches my eye. If I know that a store will reliably have the latest of the ongoing series — and if they don’t, I’m more likely to leave and go elsewhere than to get something else — then I’ll set aside a little more on a regular basis.

    Disclaimer: although I am an occasional visitor to my local comic book store, I get my comic book single issues digitally now; I don’t have a paper pull list. I buy trades as often online as locally. Brick and mortar stores are special occasions a few times a year.