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YOU'RE being cheated

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YOU'RE being cheated

Postby Disco » Tue 04.14.2009 10:08 pm

I've noticed the price of Manga varies GREATLY between America and Japan. I recently went to Kinokuniya Bookstore in Little Tokyo, and purchased FullMetal Alchemist 1. I was surprised to see that it only costed 6.05. I was even MORE surprised when I saw the price for Japan (390円[$3.91~]). Upon returning to my house, I pulled out my FMA 1 in english. The price I paid for THAT was $9.99 (plus tax). It doesn't even have a cover, when the japanese one does, and costs less! I'm not a frequent manga buyer, but I still find this to be odd, unfair, and flat-out extortion. Thoughts on this :?:
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Re: YOU'RE being cheated

Postby becki_kanou » Tue 04.14.2009 10:12 pm

Imports always cost more than domestic goods. It's outrageous to buy English language books here in Japan too.
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Re: YOU'RE being cheated

Postby Harisenbon » Tue 04.14.2009 10:32 pm

It's not extortion.
It costs alot of money to send something from one country to another.
Also, you have to consider that you're buying a niche market (Japanese language books) inside of another niche market (Comics).
Just be glad you weren't collecting japanese stuff back when I started. I once bought an art book (2000円) for 90USD.

Also, as to why the english version costs more than the JP version, you have to consider that people put a lot of time and effort into both translating, advertising and publishing the comic in your country.
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Re: YOU'RE being cheated

Postby richvh » Tue 04.14.2009 11:43 pm

The American edition has to pay royalties to the Japanese copyright holder and pay for the translation as well. Plus the cost of publishing just seems to be higher in the US; when was the last time you saw a paperback for under $4.00? (Outside of a used book store.)
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Re: YOU'RE being cheated

Postby nukemarine » Wed 04.15.2009 1:43 am

Then there's the greed factor: People are willing to pay 10 bucks for a 4 dollar comic, so they'll sell it for 10 bucks. Manga are widely sold in Japan (competition) whereas here it's a niche market (lots of money, no option of where to spend it).

Yeah, you can claim it's marketing, royalties, translations, printing, etc. I doubt much of that is applying above getting a good profit for the distribution company. Once competition starts prices will drop.
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Re: YOU'RE being cheated

Postby Harisenbon » Wed 04.15.2009 8:44 pm

nukemarine wrote:Then there's the greed factor: People are willing to pay 10 bucks for a 4 dollar comic, so they'll sell it for 10 bucks. Manga are widely sold in Japan (competition) whereas here it's a niche market (lots of money, no option of where to spend it).


Actually, I think that's less greed and more economics (although greed can definitely factor in).

Let's say it costs me $100,000 to make a comic book, market it, ship it, everything.
In Japan, I have a dedicated market of casual comic readers, and I can expect to sell 100,000 copies.
That means I can sell the comic for $1 and I know I will at least break even.

Now in america, it's a niche market. (If the book is in Japanese, it's niche of a niche) I can expect to maybe sell 10,000 copies. Thus, to break even I need to sell my book for $10.
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Re: YOU'RE being cheated

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 04.15.2009 8:51 pm

In other words, basic supply and demand economics
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Re: YOU'RE being cheated

Postby maboroshi638 » Wed 03.07.2012 1:08 pm

I really do not understand why English Manga, in general, are so expensive. :think:
I am from Germany and when I buy Manga in Germany in German, they cost around 5 Euro (incl. taxes). That's approx. $6.50. I think the most expensive Manga I once bought was 6.50 Euros ($8.50). But fair enough, it was a special edition.
I would believe that the imported Manga in the USA go through the same processes before they end up in the shops; i. e. imported, translated, edited, advertised etc...
However, I do need to add that America is not the only English speaking country that sell overpriced Manga. I now live in Ireland. And the other day, I saw a Manga in the shops for a staggering 10 Euros ($13). I think that's daylight robbery. :shock:
I felt like saying to the guys in the shop that I only wanted to buy the Manga not the rights to the story. :wink: :lol:
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Re: YOU'RE being cheated

Postby Infidel » Fri 03.09.2012 11:20 pm

Meh, necroposting almost, if this weren't on the frontpage still.. But.

No one has mentioned the difference in print quality and other factors that are a bigger deal here. DJs are often printed on someone's laserjet in Japan and compiled that way. Even the Mainstream comics like Jump etc, are printed on pulp paper. The same comics when they come to the US are printed using much higer grade paper and ink, because in the US comics are collected, where in Japan the comics are recycled. Since they are printed on higher grade paper there are minimum runs and such to consider and complicate things.

Straight imports have to pay import duties and shipping costs. Then the comic vendor will base their profit percentage off the modified costs, not the original costs. So if a comic store is adding 40% for profit to the price. They will add 40% to the cost after import duties and shipping.

Then there is simple inflation based on standard of income. Prices are not absolute, they are relative. People look at prices in a "How long will I have to work to pay that off." perspective. For example, your average person won't want to pay more for a meal than they make with two hours of work. So one person might not be willing to pay $20 for eating out, where someone else might be willing to pay $200 for a meal. In Japan many of those comics are marketed to some kid to pay with his allowance. So they cost less so a kid could pay for it. In the US, the comics are marketed to Parents to buy for their kids, so they are priced accordingly.

Which brings us to established prices. The comic collectors have already established given prices for marvel and such comics, when manga come into the same market, they will be automatically increased to match existing price models on arrival if they would normally cost less. Simple economics, the seller always asks for the most that the buyer is willing to pay, and if the buyer is established as willing to pay a given amount already, then that will be the baseline for any products sold.
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Re: YOU'RE being cheated

Postby SomeCallMeChris » Sat 03.10.2012 1:53 am

Materials cost is a very small part of the cost of books, and also, -books- in Japan including manga are not printed on pulp paper - that's only the magazine format (Shonen Jump Shuukan, etc.) Still, American volumes are printed larger and on heavier paper, it's true (sort of... if you buy a volume of manga in the first 3-6 months after release, you often get something much like the American volumes. Later runs are done on smaller paper... unless it becomes a classic and comes back out in a more deluxe printing. I've even seen hardcover manga volumes.)

Anyway, there are licensing costs, translation costs, art modification costs, typesetting costs, relative audience sizes, tax laws, distribution networks and costs involved there, overhead costs for points of sale.... all of which vary from country to country. Materials costs are pretty close to each other even internationally so I don't think that's it.

There's also other pricing factors as just mentioned about what people are willing to pay. For some reason, the price of the same size book in Japan can vary from 350 yen to 1500 yen, according to the popularity of the content, whereas in America, all paperbacks of the same page count are within a narrow range regardless of content (or at least were some few years ago... I don't really read anything in English anymore.)

Anyway, I don't actually have 'the answer', I'm just saying it's a complicated picture and not as simple as 'just' price-gauging, though there may be price-gauging by any of the licensors, publishers, or distributors.

Don't yell at the folks in the bookstore though - at the retail level there's too much competition to price-gouge, so the price will reflect a certain percentage markup from what they paid, the percentage chosen to maintain a viable profit while not getting badly undercut by amazon. (Amazon of course will try to maintain as low a percentage profit per unit as they can in order to undercut everyone and sell vastly more copies than anyone else, and hasten the day they can become a complete bookstore monopoly instead of just the online bookstore monopoly.)
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Re: YOU'RE being cheated

Postby vonessa » Sun 10.28.2012 5:42 am

Seems like in this download stuff that doesn't belong to you for free world we live in now, some people forget that the reason businesses do business is to make money. They should sell the books for as much money as they can possibly get. Time, money, thought, energy all go into making products available to the consumer. If the consumer doesn't agree with the price, they are welcome to start their own "I'll price things low just to be nice" business. And good luck with that...
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