When out of print goods become a treasure hunt

I was surveying my collection of incomplete manga recently and I noticed how I have quite a few series no longer being printed. Among the incomplete sets are series that used to be published by Tokyopop like Fruits Basket and Pita Ten. I realized how annoying it is to own an incomplete set of series. Even more so when it’s a series you had every intention of reading and collecting but never got the chance to. It’s worse knowing the publisher has either lost the rights to producing it or in Tokyopop’s case, a company has shuttered and stopped production of several series all together.

I enjoyed the several volumes of Fruits Basket I was able to read and have in my possession. It had an intriguing story with a wealth of interesting characters with back stories to explore. Collecting several series at once is not only time consuming but financially taxing. My logic was to collect the oldest and longest series to be published in the U.S. first before deciding to collect the “newer” series or series still coming out with volumes in the U.S. market. I ended up prioritizing titles like Fushigi Yugi, Ceres, and Boys Over Flowers as my main manga titles to collect on the off chance that all these series started going out of print. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought Tokyopop would become defunct.

Trying to find these out of print mangas becomes the equivalent of going on a treasure hunt. The same goes for halted manufacturing of anime DVDs. It becomes difficult at times to find the volumes you are missing and at an affordable price. I have bought slightly used books and DVDs on Amazon from the Marketplace sellers. For the most part you can find the used goods at a decent price. Other times you have those sellers who exploit the fact that a product is out of print or no longer being manufactured by raising the price sky high. As much as I want to collect things that are no longer being produced, I’m not willing to spend my entire life savings on it either. Seeking out of print goods for a good price is treasure hunting at its finest. You are lucky to find what you want without breaking the bank.

If it were a case of an entire series no longer being printed and I never got the chance to buy a single volume of it in the past, it doesn’t bother me half as much. Am I disappointed that I didn’t get to collect and read the series? Absolutely, but I’m not missing much if I don’t own it anyway. It’s much more irritating to be a manga/anime fan and knowing you have volumes or DVDs missing of a series in your personal collection.

This happened to me when I was buying the anime DVD set for Ceres: Celestial Legend late in the game. For some odd reason, the first season of the series was available as brand new and being sold directly from Amazon. I bought it when I had the money. Then I waited until I had enough money to get the second and final half of the series. When I went to look for it on Amazon, the second season was considered no longer being manufactured but available with other sellers. I don’t get why this became the case. Why continue manufacturing one DVD set and not the other when they are part of the same series? I hate when I discover that. In any case, I was lucky to find the other half of the series through the Marketplace at a reasonable price as used but in very good condition.

The euphoria of being able to hold an item considered rare is overwhelming. Bonus points if you didn’t spend a lot for it. Others may think you are silly for being happy to own a hard to find item, but as a fan it is your treasure. It’s like your reward for searching endlessly for something only to be victorious in the end and clutching the precious thing in your arms. I don’t know if I’ll be able to collect everything that is no longer in print or being manufactured, but I do my best. I suppose when you are an anime/manga collector there is the completionist in you that wants nothing missing from your collection.

Does anyone have the same problem like me? Do you find yourself acting as treasure/bargain hunter for those things you didn’t get to collect when they were still in print or being manufactured?

9 thoughts on “When out of print goods become a treasure hunt

  1. I’ve had to search for out of print titles many, many times. This happens a lot with anime in particular – I searched for eight months before I found a copy of Cardcaptor Sakura’s first boxset for a decent price, and then another six months for the second boxset. I didn’t get into Maison Ikkoku for a long while because I knew several of the DVD boxsets were rare, until I stumbled upon the first boxset at Book-Off and decided I would give it a try. I still haven’t been able to get the last box, unfortunately. 😦 As for manga, it’s funny how quickly certain volumes will go out of print – I got into Skip Beat! early last year and was lucky to be able to find an auction on ebay of the first ten volumes – volumes 3, 6 and 9 were going for high prices on amazon marketplace despite the fact that they had only been released about a year earlier. And I had to get a library copy of volume 19 of Boys Over Flowers, only to find it cheaper a few months later (sigh).

  2. I have 23 vol. of Skip Beat but after reading your post, I guess I have to buy the other releases. My problem with Skip Beat is that I’m getting bored with the story. I know ! That’s heresy ! LOL
    Also, I have 10 volumes of B.O.D.Y. . There are supposedly 15 volumes, but, yeah it was Tokyo Pop that published it… so now I’m stuck with an incomplete set, and those scanlation sites do not have the latest either, so I don’t know what happens. Doesn’t that suck, big time ?

    1. Actually, B.O.D.Y was released by Viz – they never said why they dropped the series but I’d guess it was either poor sales or it had something to do with Kodansha, the Japanese license-holder of the manga, pulling its license, which happened with a couple of other series. And as for Skip Beat!, even though several of the early volumes have gone out of print, it’s actually being re-released as 3-in-1 editions, so it’s not in as bad of a postition as, say, Boys Over Flowers or Basara.

  3. Yeah I have this problem a lot because I tend to try out new stuff all the time only to put it on hold and when I do have money for it, I find it’s out of print. My worst problem right now is probably Please Save My Earth volume 13. I can’t find that priced decently anywhere…once I saw a really battered copy for 30$ USD but I don’t want something that looks that bad even if it is more affordable. :/
    What’s the worst for me is I have two out of print manga that I’m just missing the last volume (Forbidden Dance and Pretear). It’s probably the most annoying thing.
    It also happens with games, albeit less often, but some Atlus games are super rare. I tend to buy Atlus games first because I know most of their games have a small production run.

    Ugh, this is definitely a big thorn in my side. ;___; And I’m saddened to see Skip Beat out of print already. That was another title I wanted to try but never got around to. 😦

    1. Looks like we all have our own personal experiences to draw upon when we want to collect something that is hard to find.

      It drives me absolutely nuts when a fairly new series already has a few of its volumes out of print. I can’t believe Skip Beat! is another manga series that has that issue.

      It’s so difficult to be a collector of things you like when you have to wait until you get the money to buy them. Once you get the money to buy them then you discover you can barely buy it now unless it’s through Ebay or a third party seller like Amazon Marketplace. 😦

  4. I’m still debating whether I want the Tokyopop versions of Sailor Moon. The first volume of Ranma 1/2 is almost impossible to find in paperback in good condition. That series really needs to be released in viz big.

    1. I never got around to reading Ranma 1/2 or even watching the anime. When I first heard about the series, it seemed interesting. Considering Ranma 1/2 is an older series, I can imagine it would be hard to find all the volumes to collect.

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