Believe it or not, Right Stuf, one of North America's largest anime and manga specific retailers, started out as a business focused on the buying and selling of telescopes. It's thanks to the 1960s Astro Boy anime that the company turned its attention elsewhere. In 2012, Right Stuf celebrated its 25th anniversary as a publisher, distributor, and retailer not only of anime, but of manga and related merchandise as well. Since I discovered the existence of Right Stuf, it has quickly become one of the primary vendors I use to acquire new manga and anime. As one of my favorite retailers, I'd like to share a few tips on finding and buying manga through Right Stuf.
If you know exactly what you're looking for, the best way to search for manga on Right Stuf is by title. For newer manga you can also search by the thirteen digit ISBN (without hyphens) since it is what Right Stuf generally uses for the item code. For the most part, there is no author or creator search which I find disappointing. But to make up for it, Right Stuf has one of the most easily browsed catalogs that I've encountered online. Right Stuf also has one of the most complicated and comprehensive advanced searches that I know of, and I am a huge fan of it. The advanced search includes options for genre, publisher, age rating, year of creation, price range, and more. Just remember to check the boxes for any of the options you want to search.
One of the many options available in the advanced search is product availability. Each item page includes this information. If you need a particular item in a rush, you'll want to take note of its availability status. If something is listed as "In Stock and Available" you should be good to go since it will be able to be shipped immediately. Other possibilities which take longer to ship are "Pre-Order, Not Yet Shipping," "More Arriving Soon!," "We'll Get It for You!," and "Special Order." Each of these are still expected to be fulfilled within a certain period of time. (More information can be found here.) Product availability is updated on an hourly basis and will affect how quickly your complete order will be shipped.
Right Stuf has a ton of ways to save on manga. In addition to any current sales that are going on (and there's always a sale going on), the store has Daily Deals, Weekly Specials that are updated every Thursday, multiple Bargain Bins, and special Bargain Bundles that are only available through Right Stuf. Even if something isn't currently on sale, Right Stuf generally offers at least a 25% discount off of the cover price for manga. Out-of-print and hard-to-find materials are often in stock at Right Stuf even after they've long been gone from other retailer's inventories with absolutely no price gouging.
Larger sales, generally based on a particular publisher, usually overlap by one day. I like to place my orders on that day in order to take advantage of both sales at once. It makes it even easier to reach the $49 needed for free shipping within the U.S. (An order of $250 is currently necessary for free shipping to Canada.) Right Stuf also ships internationally and is currently investigating ways to offer better and cheaper shipping options to overseas customers. Currently, international orders require a credit card. Domestically, purchases can be made with a credit card, check, or money order.
There are several different methods I use to stay informed with what's going on at Right Stuf and what's on sale. If you're on Twitter, the Right Stuf account can be found at @animetoday and is updated regularly. Right Stuf also sends a weekly e-mail newsletter to those who sign up for it. There is even an option to receive press releases. But my favorite way of keeping track of Right Stuf is to regularly check the Recent Changes page. In addition to items with price changes, the page also lists newly added items and items that have been removed from the inventory. Following the newly added items allows me to stay on top of any preorders that I'm interested in. It's also a way to learn about licenses that I might have missed. If something is removed from the inventory, it's a good sign that it has gone very out of print and that you should find a copy sooner rather than later if you want one.
Another great way to save money is through the Got Anime? purchasing club. Right now, a yearly membership only costs $12. Once I started regularly purchasing manga and other goods from Right Stuf, a Got Anime? membership was one of the first things I bought. The membership provides an additional 10% off of almost everything that Right Stuf carries and stacks with other coupons and discounts. If you think you'll spend at least $120 at Right Stuf over the course of one year, a Got Anime? membership is a must. In addition to the 10% discount, you will also receive exclusive coupons, special promotions, and an extended period for returns should you need it.
The final thing I would like to mention about Right Stuf is its customer satisfaction team. Right Stuf has the absolute best customer service that I have ever worked with. The team members are prompt, courteous, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful. On different occasions I have contacted Right Stuf by phone, Twitter, e-mail, and through the online contact form and have been very satisfied with the service that I received each time. During business hours, live chat is also available. The team is more than happy to answer general questions about the store's inventory. They also take suggestions and requests, and go above and beyond to find solutions to any problems encountered with an order. Seriously, in my experience, the customer service at Right Stuf has been amazing.
Quick Tips for Finding Manga at Right Stuf
1) Pay attention to product availability when ordering.
2) Time purchases to take advantage of multiple sales and offers.
3) Keep an eye on the Recent Changes page and weekly newsletter.
4) If you buy enough, consider getting a Got Anime? membership.
5) Have a problem or question? Don't be afraid to contact customer service.