Monday, November 29, 2010

Selling your Used English Manga

You're cleaning your room and you find manga that had been lying around for some time. You haven't touched that manga after who knows when and you know that if you keep it it'll just continue sitting somewhere catching dust. A thought comes across your mind: "what if I could sell the manga and other anime-related stuff I have but don't need or want anymore?"

That's a great idea, but if you're living in a metropolis like the Greater Toronto Area, another 100 or more people are already doing that. In the past 4 years, I learned selling old anime and manga related treasures isn't as easy as it seems. You want to get the most out of selling your stuff, but a lot of people are looking for the lowest price possible-- unless it's a rare item that you're selling.

In this post, I will be discussing the steps to and what I've learned about selling used English manga in the Greater Toronto Area. Here is an outline of the steps I will be discussing:
  1. Finding a network
  2. Know the condition of your manga
  3. Setting a price
  4. Sell it

Step 1.

The first thing you should do is to find a network where you can advertise for used items. Examples of such networks are: shops that buy used stuff, classifieds in newspapers, eBay, personal websites, social networks, online classified communities, or community garage sales. I prefer to use online classified advertisement communities such as Craigslist and Kijiji because you just need to post an ad and set up a meeting with anyone who responds to the ad. Most of the people I've met offline were kind, but you still have to be careful about meeting someone you don't know offline.

Step 2.

The condition of your manga is very important when setting a price for it. When I buy used manga, I don't mind the spine being bent a bit on the edge, light fingerprints, and light-yellow pages, but other people may. If your manga has liquid damage to it (i.e. water or coffee) or has a ripped cover, it's better to set the selling price really low because there's a chance that someone else is selling the same manga in a better condition. Oxidation causes most manga pages to turn yellow. To avoid this, keep manga in a closed space like drawers and shelves. I like to put my manga in a dark place away from sunlight and heat because I'm afraid sunlight would cause the covers to lose colour and the pages yellow. I am not sure if sunlight is capable of turning pages yellow though.

Step 3.

This step is setting the price of your items. Please be aware that I use Canadian currency. If you want to sell your used English manga for $10 each, those books better be in new condition, wrapped in plastic, look untouched, and is expensive in stores. You'd have to be lucky or find someone desperate for manga to sell used manga at that price. Not even volumes of rare manga like the first published english-translated Sailor Moon series could be sold for $10 each in a casual manner. An omnibus manga is a compilation of volumes from a manga series. I am not familiar with the chances of selling a used one for $10, but it seems reasonable enough if the book isn't damaged. Considering that an omnibus is a package that carries more than one volume, you could even try to sell it for $12 or $15.

The standard price for used manga is $5 each. It's not guaranteed that it will be sold, but you'll have a better chance of selling it than at the price of $10. If you're selling a manga series, $5 per book would work best for series that have 1 to 8 volumes. For series with more than 6 volumes, it is better to sell them for less than $4 each. I have to admit though, you're more likely to sell a manga series at the price of $3 or less per volume.

Here is an image with suggested prices and my thoughts on the prices according to what I've learned about selling used English manga:

Suggested Used English Manga Prices per Volume
Remember: $5 is the standard price. That is where I am 75% sure that the manga will be sold. If the price is at $1 per volume, it is 99% that the book would be sold. At $12 per volume, it is 5% that the manga will be sold.

I remember trying to sell volumes 1 to 27 of Bleach for $100 ($3.70/volume) on Kijiji for half a year. I lowered the price to $60 ($2.22/volume), but I still didn't get a reply to my offer until I lowered the price to $50 ($1.85/volume). Even though the books were in new condition and I included a picture to my advertisement to prove their condition, I had to lower the price because there were other people selling more than 20 volumes of Bleach at a unit price similar to my earlier offers. I also wanted to guarantee that I will sell the series because I didn't want it lying around any longer. I think the reason why no one replied to my offer of $100 was because it was $100. The number of digits and the overall price probably seemed unpleasant to people.

As a used English manga buyer, I tend to buy smaller series because I like to avoid spending over $60 for a used manga series. I have met vendors that sold their manga where the more you buy, the less it is per unit. Vendors that do that seem to sell their manga much quicker than set prices.

Step 4.

When someone has taken an interest in your manga, lose all attachment to it. If the person asks for a lower price, sell it to them for that price (if it's reasonable). They may have found that price somewhere else and the chances of another person interested in buying may not come by if you know you're selling a series that many other people are selling. Don't expect to make a lot of money out of selling your used English manga!

Comments and opinions on this guide (if you would call it a guide) are greatly appreciated. I read through it a few times and it feels like a shared personal experience that is not at least 90% realistic.

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