I’ve often had the question on my YouTube channel of “how many manga do you own” and “how did you collect so many”. Here is a little history of how I’ve collected such a huge collection of manga, with tips on how you could do the same… (Think before you decide to collect a huge collection. A huge collection is fun, but isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be!)
ONE: Start Early, and Be Consistent.
I started collecting manga in 2003, and in 15 years, have amassed a collection of over 5000+ volumes. That means that I’ve collected nearly a volume of manga every day! Every. Single. Day. That’s a ton of manga! I’ve had a few ups and downs in collecting, but manga has been something that I’ve regularly invested in. I couldn’t have done this in a few purchases, it’s taken a LONG time to get here, and consistent shopping is really the only reason my collection is now bursting at the seams.
TWO: Collect With a Friend.
I’ve been collecting with my sister since day 1. This was one of the major things that we bonded over when I moved away after university (and she still lived at home). So technically, of the 5000+ volumes of manga in the collection, half of them are actually hers. She has slightly different tastes than me, so we have been good at keeping to collecting our own series. Because it’s two people collecting together, we’ve been able to collect so many more than if we were doing it alone.
THREE: Don’t Have Discriminating Tastes.
It’s basic math. If you subtract from your collection it will take you longer to accumulate more manga. We don’t subtract from our collection. This isn’t the recommended way to collect, but it’s the way that we do it. Even if we don’t like it, we keep it in the collection. It’s a major reason why the collection has gotten so massive!
FOUR: Don’t Read Scans.
You shouldn’t read them anyways, because they are BAD for the industry. But, when we started collecting, scans weren’t a thing. I didn’t have a chance in the early days to be tempted by scans. And if scans aren’t an option, the only way to read manga is to either buy it or borrow it. If you want to grow your collection, you need to buy the books you’re reading! I did later discover scans (in recent years, even) which I was a bit naive about how detrimental they were… but while I was reading them, I didn’t have a desire to buy them… my collection barely grew at all during the 2-3 years that I was reading scans. Now that I’m back to avoiding scans, my collection has been growing by leaps-and-bounds.
FIVE: Get a Job.
The more expendable income you have, the more you can buy manga. I discovered manga as an adult, and I’ve always made manga a priority in my budget. In the early days I was more foolish with my money, and I did take on debt thanks to my interest in manga, but now with a very manga-specific budget I’m able to collect nearly as much as I want without going further into debt! Manga is NOT worth going into debt over!!
SIX: Reorganize Your Financial Priorities.
If you can’t afford the manga you want, maybe you’re spending too much in other areas. I’ve made tough choices, and gotten rid of expensive hobbies (like giving up paid-for TV services, and collecting 80s toys) completely because I wanted more money to dedicate to manga.
SEVEN: Buy Used.
It’s one of the main ways I’ve been able to add so many manga, so quickly. Used is a great way to find good titles, for a good deal. I’ll often pick up titles for more than 50% off the cover price. But, I do caution you that if you’re not careful, you could actually end up spending more on used than new. I have a motto to NEVER pay more than cover price. Sometimes it means waiting a decade for a volume I really want, but I’ve found some amazing deals on titles I REALLY wanted this way! It pays to be patient!