And now, for no real reason other than I felt like writing about it and the subject kind of came up in the comments following Danielle Leigh’s latest Manga Before Flowers column, a brief look at what I buy where:
At the local comic shop: My most regular purchases at the local comic shop are books that I suspect won’t show up in a chain bookstore (manga that’s rated for mature audiences or books from smaller publishes that don’t seem to have quite achieved bookstore saturation). Most of my comic shop purchases are the result of pre-orders, just because the local shop is primarily focused on super-hero comics so I generally can’t wander in and find something to my taste. They’re very accommodating in terms of pre-orders and re-orders, which compensates for limited use as a place to browse.
At the bookstore: My purchases at Borders, Barnes & Noble, and so on are fairly random. I tend to either buy really mainstream shônen or shôjo titles, because I know they’ll be readily available and I can use my discount card. Sometimes I’ll special-order a particular book from the local Barnes & Noble if I really like it and want to trick them into ordering additional shelf copies. I’ll also buy other books from publishers like Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, and so on, usually based on word of mouth (or blog).
Online: I almost always use Amazon, as I like the discount and the free shipping. Amazon is kind of the “everything else” dumping ground… books I wasn’t sufficiently certain I’d enjoy but was later persuaded to look into via word of mouth (or blog), manga over the $10 point (but never under, because why pay full price when I can get it for 10% off at a brick-and-mortar shop?), stuff that I’d categorize as expensive (like One Thousand Years of Manga) and “when all else fails” books that I can’t find at a comic shop or a chain bookstore. (Yay! Amazon carries Shirtlifter!) Online shopping is convenient and often cheaper, but it still ends up being my court of last resort more often than not.