Collecting Individual Manga Volumes vs. Omnibus Editions

This past weekend I redeemed my Google Offer deal to buy some manga at my local comic book store. I forgot how good it feels to enter a comic book store, knowing what you want to get and then leaving the store with what you wanted.

As I browsed the shelves for the volumes I wanted, I saw the omnibus or big book versions of manga I have already collected or still need to collect. The omnibus that caught my attention was the Cardcaptor Sakura one. Not only did it have the first three volumes in one book, but it also included color art and I think a better translation of CCS than the Tokyopop versions did.

Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Edition

I have all the volumes of CCS and I have for a while now. Seeing the omnibus version made it tempting to want to buy this new re-release. The only problem that kept me from wanting to really purchase it was the size of the book. It’s huge and super thick. It reminded me of those thick paperback textbooks I used to carry around with me in high school and college. Buying one of these omnibus editions will make it even harder for me to find a place for it among my individual, regular sized manga volumes.

It also pissed me off to know that publishing companies now decided to do three volumes in one book in the last few years. Where were you when I was in the process of collecting and reading certain manga series? The price of the omnibus editions are quite expensive, but in the long run it’s a good investment. Spending $9.99 or $8.95 on one volume for each series over the span of several years would end up being much more costly compared with buying one big book with three volumes already included. The omnibus editions are probably more practical to get if you are collecting a long series. Even better if you are just starting to collect a new series and the series is published as an omnibus.

When you are in the middle of collecting a series and an omnibus edition is already released for it, there is the dilemma of deciding whether or not to continue collecting the individual volumes or continue the series in omnibus form. One series that comes to mind for me is Hot Gimmick. I have the first three volumes on my shelf, but haven’t gotten around to continuing with the series. There is now an omnibus edition of this series. Part of me wants to continue with the individual volumes for uniformity reasons and the other part of me knows that the individual volumes of Hot Gimmick might be harder to find with the release of the omnibus edition. These big versions of long series is kind of a pain for collectors who have already started collecting the individual volumes but had to put them on hold in favor of older series. Going back to it later to discover that the publisher is no longer printing the individual volumes is not so great. If you want to continue the series then you are most likely going to be forced into getting the big books.

I prefer to collect the individual volumes of series I started collecting from way back when. Not only will it keep my library of manga series looking the same and neatly stacked on top of each other, but I enjoy the new cover art you get with each volume. The omnibus editions don’t give you too much of the varied artwork you get for every one volume of a 24 volume long series for instance. The omnibus is three volumes in one so cover art will be limited, but collecting all volumes will be a shorter experience than collecting multiple volumes.

If I don’t already own a manga series I would like to read and the omnibus edition is available, then I would go for it. If I already have the individual volumes, I may just stick with those if I can.

What do my fellow manga readers think? Do you prefer collecting individual volumes of series you currently own or would you toss that aside if there is an omnibus edition?

26 thoughts on “Collecting Individual Manga Volumes vs. Omnibus Editions

  1. I love to collect omnibus editions. At the same time I still love to collect the individual volumes. There are a few series that I own both the omnibus and the original individual volumes.

    But as you say the problem is if you are halfway through a series, then what do you do? I guess it depends on how appealing the omnibus is and what would be the best value for money.
    The only problem that I have encountered with omnibuses is with Fullmetal Alchemist. Viz Media released the series in 3-in-1 editions and I purchased the first three omnibuses in 2011. But the 4th volume has yet to be released! I really want to complete the series with the omnibus editions. Does anyone know anything about volume 4 of this omnibus series?

    1. Thanks for commenting! I’m not sure about Fullmetal Alchemist. To be honest, I haven’t kept up with all the series publishers decide to do an omnibus for.

      I have noticed that another problem with omnibuses which I forgot to add in my post is the fact that omnibuses are a little slow in churning out the 3 in 1 volumes. Especially if they are doing it for series that have long had all their individual volumes out in the U.S. or wherever. I think that’s why in some ways I’d rather do a collection of individual volumes vs. omnibus. At least you don’t have to wait for the next big book volume to come out.

      1. That’s true especially the Dark Horse Clamp omnibuses, it’s taking quite a long time to release all of Cardcaptor Sakura. All though they are definitely worth the wait, they are gorgeous books ^_^

      2. I’m still tempted to get CCS omnibuses even though I already have all the volumes. I was reluctant to collect Sailor Moon again after already having the Tokyopop versions, but after flipping through it and seeing the better translations I decided it was worth collecting again. 😀

  2. That’s true, especially the Dark Horse Clamp omnibuses, it’s taking quite a long time to release all of Cardcaptor Sakura. Although they are definitely worth the wait, they are gorgeous books ^_^
    Tracking down the out of print Tokyopop volumes can be tricky and also expensive so the Dark Horse editions are great.

  3. The rereleased Sailor Moon is great. Unfortunately I missed out on the Tokyopop editions so I’m so happy that it got re-liscensed. The translations are very good and the addtion of colour pages is always a nice bonus!

    1. Yeah, I loved that they decided to add the color pages! You really get to appreciate the artwork of the mangaka fully. Black and white just doesn’t do some of the artwork justice sometimes.

  4. Although omnibus editions are indeed cheaper than single volumes, I still prefer the single-volume books. They look pretty when on display and they are easier to read because they are smaller/thinner than omnibus editions.
    Regarding Cardcaptor Sakura, however, I wasn’t able to get copies of the single-volume editions of Tokyopop (which are already out of print), so I’m thanking Dark Horse for releasing new CCS: complete with colored pages, pretty book cover, nice quality of paper, and good translation.
    I sound like I’m encouraging you to buy the CCS omnibus editions (haha 🙂 ), but really, the books are worthy additions to any Cardcaptor Sakura collection.

    1. Haha! I think I may just cave like I did with Kodansha’s Sailor Moon re-release. If the translations are ten times better than Tokyopop’s CCS translations and they have color art, I may be sold! I just may need to buy them later though. 😉

  5. I nearly had a heart attack when you said you found the omnibus version of Cardcaptor Sakura! I also own the entire series and I thought the omnibus would contain ALL of that! Just the thought of it alone is seriously daunting!
    In terms of buying the omnibus versions or the singles, I definitely prefer the singles all the way. Even with taking the cost efficiency into consideration, I just can’t get past the sheer bulk of the omnibus versions. The only exception I have made so far is with Clover by CLAMP. When I first saw that series, it was $12.95 per volume and there were only 4 volumes. The art is phenomenal in that series and the story, while not their best, is pretty good too, but for that price, I was not willing to buy it and then maybe two years ago I saw the omnibus version of it for the equivalent of a little over $20! I’m pretty sure the cashier was horrified by the manic look in my eye when I passed it to him that day!

    1. Haha! Well, the omnibus versions are definitely a steal when you think about how much money you’ll be saving in the long run.

      I was thinking of giving other CLAMP titles a try. One of the ones I was considering getting into was Chobits. I think there is an omnibus version for that too. Luckily I don’t already own Chobits so I may invest on the omnibus ones.

  6. The only reason I’ve ever been tempted by omnibus editions is because they often have more attractive covers than the individual release. However, I’ve heard that many 3-in-1’s have the problem of pages falling out, so that’s turned me off from collecting them. Also, even though omnibus manga may seem like a good deal, I’ve often found that by the time the omnibus edition of a series has been released, I can probably save more money by buying the original editions in used lots on ebay or

    1. I always tend to like the individual covers more than the omnibus ones…at least from what I’ve seen so far.

      I still kind of don’t want to go too crazy with collecting the omnibus editions of manga until I have more shelf space or something. The individuals work better for me.

  7. I basically feel the same way as you about this. I won’t touch an omnibus edition if I already started collecting the single volumes (because I like having a consistent collection), but if I haven’t and the series is fairly long, I’m willing to pick up the omnibus editions. 🙂 Two exceptions so far are Sailor Moon, which I plan to rebuy because the new editions are worth it and CCS, which I have 3 volume of the first TP editions (the tiny mixx line ones) and 1 volume of the second TP editions. Since I already have two different editions, I decided to just ditch both and get all the omnibus ones instead.

    1. I managed to get the old versions of Sailor Moon and CCS in its entirety. But since publishers seem to want to re-release stuff that was once under the Tokyopop name with color drawings and a better translation of the manga on hand, I think in time I may just buy the omnibus editions of CCS. The only problem is where to stick them in my room. >.<

  8. Omnibuses take up less space, I think. I currently own the Azumanga Daioh omnibus, and I can’t imagine having x amount of volumes clogging up my desk (which is where I keep it when I want to take a study break). Also, if the said omnibus is discounted (mine was) you save even MORE money! For me, as long as it’s supporting the creator, it doesn’t matter what form it comes in…unless that omnibus is excessively heavy.

    1. I can’t imagine trying to cart around an omnibus as reading material on the train. I already hate carrying around big books if I don’t need to.

      1. True that. Although an omnibus would be useful on a LONG train ride…like going from Vancouver to Edmonton on a non-high speed rail train. Haha.
        That being said, if I want something portable, I generally use Japanese tankoban so I can study AND have fun at the same time! 😀

  9. I’m starting to run in the same problem with Attack on Titan. I love reading the individual manga volumes, but I hate bringing them anywhere with me because the covers manage to get messed up during the trip, so I wind up leaving them at home in the safety of my bookshelf. Now that they’ve started releasing omnibus of Attack on Titan, I’m really tempted to purchase them and have those be the books I travel with. It’s difficult to decide!

    1. I’m the same. I like to keep my books, especially manga, in perfect condition. If I don’t want the covers on my books to get messed up in transit, I tend to leave them at home too and read them when I’m at home.

      Personally, if I do decide to get an omnibus, I kind of feel like I may not want to bring those with me on a trip. The books are pretty thick in volume and it’ll be a pain to carry, as it may add weight to your bag. Unless you aren’t carrying much, then it might be fine. I have yet to jump on the omnibus wagon since I’m still stuck collecting individual volumes of older series. The woes of a manga collector!

  10. I used to dislike omnibus manga a lot considering they were cheaply made. However I see the cost effective side to it. I started reading Skip Beat! finally and picked up all the omnibus currently out and it’s definitely saved me a lot of money. The quality is admittedly cheaper but for someone who takes care of their things, I don’t think it’s too much of a problem. And like you said, if it’s a longer series, it’s best to be smart with ur $.

    That said it’s tempting to find out what happens next (and since I don’t read scans) I am rlly eyeing those new single skip beat manga since the next omnibus comes out next year…

    I have the entire Tsubasa RC in single volumes and I love them. I wouldn’t trade them for the 3-in-1 bcuz of the cover art, the uniformity and it’s nice to look at on a shelf.

    But for Monster The Perfect Edition, I’d much rather have that than all those single volumes. I say if it helps save u money and it’s a long series, get the omnibus. I don’t regret it at all and I’ve been able to afford other series bcuz of the few dollars it’s saved me.

    1. I actually haven’t collected manga in a really long time. Most has to do with time and money. Considering how old this post is now, I still haven’t bought any omnibus editions of manga I don’t have and are a long series. I still believe it is the cheapest way to go to get more for your buck. The only downside is you won’t get to appreciate the beautiful cover art only the individual volumes provide.

      1. Definitely!!! It’s so hard not to want to buy the singles because of the covers. I understand you’re not collecting them anymore, but if you ever get the chance, I think you’d really appreciate Orange The Complete Collection. There’s going to be two of these omnibus and the first is already out. It’s a realisitc shojo about a girl who receives a letter from her future self in order to prevent the suicide of one of her class mates. It’s really touching.

  11. I know this is an old post (over 8 years old!), but I want to put in my 2 cents: I’ve only ever bought single volumes because that’s what I’ve been able to buy when I can, but from borrowing omnibuses at libraries, I can tell how cost-effective they are, but also know how hard they are to hold. I don’t buy things by cover – just whatever’s on sale or available that I know I liked before (due to libraries, digital samples, liking the anime etc.).
    I’ve been tempted by the Sailor Moon Eternal Edition before because the only way I’ve read the series in manga form so far was illegally, years before I found out my local library decided to get the Kodansha volumes…but they are so expensive…

    1. I agree that getting the omnibuses will probably save you more money in the long run than buying the individual volumes. I think if I were to invest in an omnibus, I’d probably do it for a series I haven’t already collected the single volumes for. I like the uniformity in my collections, and suddenly getting the omnibus for a series I’ve mostly done single volume purchases for would break that uniformity. ^^;

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