Caring for your manga

With the arrival of a new pile of books, certain steps must be taken before they can enter the flock!  So here’s a very short look at how I keep the manga hoard in line.

Ready to go: manga sorted by size, appropriate covers, microfiber cloth, and small flat surface (and DVDs to entertain lol)

Both random online people and real life friends who know nothing of manga often ask me how to manage to keep track of all my books and how I manage to find specific ones within the hoard.  Organization is key and it happens before the books even arrive!  Books are simply arranged specifically on shelves in order of genre -> author -> publisher -> series.  I update my inventory by ISBN on LibraryThing sometime after ordering and before they arrive.

Once they arrive, I cover them with plastic covers made specifically for manga.  These manga covers are easily removed and put back on when necessary and don’t stick to the book itself at all.  In the past, I’ve purchased these from a US anime store, Nikaku.  However, their supply has lagged lately, so I’ve switched to ComiComi, a store that offers several types of covers.  Japanese website/EMS shipping warning.  You can find covers elsewhere on the internet.  These are just two suppliers I’ve had either a good past or current business relationship with.

New books usually just need a quick wipe with a microfiber cloth before covering.  Used books require more care–a small amount of water and microfiber cloth removes most scuff marks.  If there’s a price sticker, it’s safe to use a small dab of adhesive remover and your fingernail.  No mess or mark will be left behind if you do it carefully (like a surgeon, no mad scratching!).  Apply a dab of water after using any adhesive remover, dry, and good as new!  I’ve had some sketchy used books come my way, but I’ve been able to get them looking good again.  The covers make upkeep very simple–no worrying about finger prints or scuffs on the covers themselves, easier to clean, and helps with the occasional accident.  I haven’t lost a man yet!  A few plastic covers have gone in the line of duty though…

They are now ready to join their brethren!  I have a specific shelf for “new arrivals.”  lol.. I’ll stop while I’m ahead (??).

25 responses to “Caring for your manga

  1. Hmm so those plastic covers come in different sizes? Since they’re different sizes for manga too. Okay, my method seems more pain-in-the-ass now -_- because I buy a roll of plastic and cut them, according to each size. I should take snapshots of how specific it is… it’s laughable.

    Is that an SNES I’m seeing? Heh😄

    • Wow, that sounds hard and like it requires some skills!😄 I don’t have those skills and rely on these premade ones. I am curious to see your method..😄

      The premade ones come in several sizes: I have 180, 185, 214, and 300 mm sizes which fit all common sizes of manga and the last fits artbooks. I have maybe a dozen manga that are odd sizes and not covered.

      And yes, I LOVE my SNES! Actually, that’s my second one–the original died. I bust it out enough to warrant keeping it hooked up! I like how my slim PS2 and PS3 are like ninjas and blend with the shadows while my SNES and Wii are very loud, haha.

      • Soon, soon. The next time I go spying in Kino (in a few weeks time) I’ll probably bring home tnc / lamento / something else that catches my eye, so there will be something to wrap :d

        Okay now that you’ve mention it, I see them. Hahah talk about epic ninja skills.

      • Cool, I might revisit those oddly shaped ones that have no cover then.🙂

  2. Ooooh *___*

    Marvelous! I want those plastic manga covers!!!
    Where do you find those handsome covers??!! *w*
    (i did the same as Rynisyou… I cutted plastic roll and all… But it’s damn exhausting! ;A;)

    Maaan… Thanks for showing those interesting method! ;33 it’s really usefull! X3

    • No problem, thanks.🙂

      I order my covers from an anime store in California, http://www.nikaku.com. You can probably find the covers elsewhere on the internet, but I’ve been doing business with these guys for literally ~10 years. I just placed an order yesterday myself (usually an annual thing).

      Their website layout hasn’t been updated in those 10 years, so it’s a little clunky looking. But they’ve proven trustworthy and the book cover prices haven’t changed in those years either. One thing to note–they won’t tell you if something is out of stock until after you place the order. They won’t charge you, of course. Only happened once to me.. made me short in A4 covers. D:

  3. *w* i’m the one who should thanks you! :33

    (well actually, i’m in France, so i guess i’m going to order on the Internet! :3)

    oh, my, 10years?! you’re a passionate one! ^w^
    that’s impressive!

    o, okay, i’ll be carfull about the stock! :3
    Thanks again for those precious informations! :33

  4. oh… i’m sorry, i’m spamming you… ;A; (well actually, i wanted to send you an e-mail, but i didn’t find it… (besides, i don’t know how to enswer a wordpress comment, i’m really sorry about that! ;A;)

    hum… well it’s about that bookstore you told me about… °A°
    Actually, here in France, we have odd size mangas (like 190mm or a few more or less than 180mm like 178mm or 182mm…) so i was wondering if the 180mm size plastic cover was just good for yours of if there were a few extra plastic? °x°

    it’s a shame that French mangas have those weird size! TTATT;;;

    i, i’m sorry if i’m bothering you! ;A; s, so it’s okay if you don’t want to answer me, i’m really sorry ;A; hum… well… thanks again! ;__;

    • Ha, that’s okay🙂 I wasn’t sure if I was going to put my main email up, but I made a gmail account with the username “mangahabit.” So you can send one there if you’d like.

      There’s only about 5 mm extra plastic in those 180 mm covers for the “B6” sized manga, so it won’t fit anything 190 mm tall. Sorry! I’d ask a local comic shop–they can be useful!

      And it’s no problem at all asking.😉

      • oh? you’re on gmail?! cool! :33 i guess i’m going to send you some message if you think i’m spamming your blog too much… °x°;;

        oh, is that so? ;A;
        (hum… well i guess i still have somes who do fit the 180mm and 185mm sizes… it should be quite usefull! :3)
        well see, the 190mm size is because of those “manhwas” that never do the same as the japanese one!😄;;;

        oh! Thanks you! well you don’t need to do that much, actually, i think i’ll do like before and use the plastic roll!😄;; i don’t want to bother you!

        thank you so much ;w;

      • Haha, it’s okay–I don’t think you’re spamming.😄

        I have a few oddly shaped manga like that which I should make custom covers for. I’ll have to try it out–I’ve always used these plastic ones.

        And it’s no problem🙂

  5. Looking at this post makes me think I should really invest in plastic covers for my doujinshi + manga collection – as some of my books are getting light scratches 8(

    Hm, I wonder if you can trim the A5 covers to fit the odd 190mm sized English books?

    • I hate light scratches on shiny covers, so I’m a big supporter of the plastic covers. I think it’s worth the little extra money to protect your book investment and ordered another huge pile from a new-to-me supplier myself (just edited the post above with info for a trusted Japanese manga cover supplier). I have 10+ year old books that are very smooth thanks to these covers! If only it helped with paper oxidation. :O

      With an extra ~20 cm, it’s going to be a bit rough. The plastic is fused/sealed on both ends, so trimming won’t really work. Instead of trimming, I’d recommend tucking/folder one side of the cover over and fixing that with some tape. I’ve done that once or twice.. still awkward. I’d personally hunt for a better book cover size somewhere if I needed it on a regular basis. Or if you’re going to trim, you might as well fashion a custom cover like rynisyou mentions in the first comment here. I’ve not tried that myself.

      • Ohhh, I see. I’ll check out that link now ^^
        And I wish somehow paper oxidation could be stopped, lol. I think everyone likes their paper to be pretty and white😄

        I wouldn’t have any clue how to start with doing my own covers to be honest, since I’ve always assumed they were for the hardcover books. ;;

      • Seems that you can also get yellow paper when you buy brand new books… Last week, I got a 2009 printing of Gakuen Alice volume 14 from BK1, and the top of the volume already shows some yellowing. It looks fine inside, though.

        Have you tried using mylar? It’s supposed to be good, but I’ve never tried myself.

      • Gakuen Alice huh.. my worst yellowed books all come from Hakusensha. They must use really cheap paper. Even then, that’s still really new to show yellowing. I wonder under what warehouse conditions it was stored. I’ve only had that happen on things at least a few years old!

        Just the mere presence of either light or oxygen will promote yellowing. Since I only use covers and not bags or some crazy contraption to remove and store in an oxygen free environment, it’s an unavoidable problem. I’m sure mylar would make great covers, but oxygen will still get to it. The covers only protect from everyday wear. Even then, I’m actually quite pleased with my last batch of covers so far.

  6. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for this post! It’s remarkably hard to find stuff about these covers on the web… and where to buy them. I tend to buy them at Animate when I’m in Japan, but they are so hard to find State-side! And a lot of forum posts are snarky about them and totally not helpful! I’m also glad to see Nikaku’s still in business, I haven’t ordered from them since like 1994. Anyway, your blog is super neat, I’m really glad I stumbled upon it. I’ll be sure to read more.😀

    • I’m glad it was useful.🙂 I had a hard time finding info about covers myself, which motivated me to make a little blurb about it here. Nikaku served me well for years, but I’m not sure they are restocking their covers/merchandise. They were out of the standard shoujo/shounen manga size for my last two orders (spaced months apart), so I made the switch to ComiComi recently. If you don’t order a ridiculous amount like I did, the shipping shouldn’t be too terrible.

      Thanks, I hope you find something entertaining around here then. :3 I always like to hear from other raw manga readers!

  7. hi, just wondering if rakuten requires you to have a japanese address…
    i need to buy a couple hundred covers for my collection and every store only seems to be domestic
    =(

  8. Hello! Wonder if you still check here. Hope yes! I am trying to buy manga covers from http://item.rakuten.co.jp/chuoshoten/c/0000002129/ and I was wondering what size you choose please? Most of my manga are VIZ, Tokyopop ..USA manga and I till now my guess was A5? Do you make adjustments? I see your manga on top are Japanese type B5.

    • I get notifications on any comments, but it might take me a week to getting around to answering them.

      I have a lot of B6 size manga (shown in the far right stacks in the top photo). I just tried it and the B6 covers fit my SuBLime releases, but not Tokyopop. Tokyopop is too tall. You can’t adjust height on these. The width/thickness of the book has a good range–His Favorite from SuBLime is thin, but works. The Tokyopop size is also too short for A5, so it’s not really suited for the covers made for Japanese manga that I’m familiar with.

  9. Hello! I saw your recommendation for comi comi, the rakuten kept telling me that the postal code is invalid… how do I make it work? I live in the US. thank you!

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