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Adam Corn Jan 13, 2014

rein wrote:

Like hell they didn't!  GameMusic.com sold me a bootleg FFVI soundtrack for $42.99 back in 1998.  I still have the bootleg and receipt to prove it.

Haha well I meant for single-disc CDs.  I feel your pain though. wink

rein Jan 13, 2014

Well, it isn't as though I'm still bitter about it 15 years later.  Nope, not bitter.

TerraEpon Jan 13, 2014

I ordered from Tokyopop a lot, but they always charged more than they advertised (which is actually illegal unless they ask if it's ok...which they didn't). Still I got some good stuff from them, including OGC5 which I flipped for like $75 profit.

Animenation, heh. Not only did they not have a lot of things in stock, they didn't tell you when stuff shipped. I think I must have called them multiple times and kept checking the door /just in case/ a UPS package came, for like months, for a couple things. It was crazy.

GoldfishX Jan 13, 2014

TerraEpon wrote:

Animenation, heh. Not only did they not have a lot of things in stock, they didn't tell you when stuff shipped. I think I must have called them multiple times and kept checking the door /just in case/ a UPS package came, for like months, for a couple things. It was crazy.

I did have one positive experience with them though. I placed an order for Super Mario RPG OSV in late summer 2000. The thing arrived on Christmas Eve. I remember it was a long day at work (retail...on Christmas Eve) and came home to a mint condition copy. It was like getting a gift early...that I had bought myself. This was like right before it became impossible to find. I miss that soundtrack...

Adam Corn Feb 20, 2014

It's been a while since we had a discussion about everyone's preferred retailers for import (essentially Japanese) game music CDs, and with the market changing so much these past several years it's a great time for a refresh.

Please list any retailers you feel satisfied enough with from recent dealings to recommend to others, in order of preference.  As always, comments (about pricing, availability, service) are welcome and encouraged.

James O Feb 20, 2014

1. CD Japan - great service, they have a points system, great choice of shipping options, but they don't generally have sales on new things or discount their retail prices. Plus their special request service, while a premium, is a great service for other stores that don't ship outside of Japan (like the japanese Square Enix e-STORE).

2. Amazon Japan - They used to have only the very expensive shipping but lately their shipping rates have come down.  Discounted items available for pre-order very early - CD Japan usually takes awhile to get something into their system for pre-order.

3. Buyee.jp - Great for automatic personal use of shopping on Yahoo! Japan auctions.  it's a luxury but great service.

4. Otaku.com - OK for stuff that may be older (if they have it in stock at all), but with only one (slow) shipping option, it takes a very long time to get stuff.  Prices vary greatly.

TerraEpon Feb 20, 2014

I don't think I've ordered anywhere but CDJapan, Play Asia, or YesAsia (which last I checked has free shipping for over $50) in years. Of course Amazon Japan is good too, but their shipping cost kills it.

jb Feb 20, 2014

1. CDJapan - Almost exclusively for the last 7 or 8 years. Points system, while not really a significant source of savings, is a nice bonus. Customer support has always been good in the rare event I've ever needed to contact them. The artist and series subscriptions help me keep up-to-date on new releases by favorite artists and such. And in the last few years, their special request shopping service has been fantastic for acquiring anything I need from specialty stores or JP exclusive items.

2. amazon.co.jp - I was using this mostly in college and shortly thereafter and stopped around 2006/7 due to their insane shipping prices, their switch from DHL to FedEx and their shipping policy of breaking big orders into multiple shipments based around release date. Around then I moved from a weekly ordering system to monthly/bi-monthly ordering system to save on shipping and that's about when i moved to CDJ. CDJ also supported paypal and at the time they weren't charging a huge currency conversion fee like my banks do but that's since changed. I still use this now and again for some one-off items I can't get from CDJ but they're few and far between.

3. Jerold - He might not count as a true retailer but the service he's provided this community for the past 10-15 years is immeasurable. His prices are competitive with most middleman services and he's been around for longer than most have existed. I use him maybe once or twice a year and it is always an absolute pleasure. Even if his prices are more expensive id rather support his little grassroots type effort than some company just as an appreciative nod more than saving a couple bucks.

4. PlayAsia - I've used them a few times to order some things that just weren't immediately available at CDJ and things I didn't feel like paying extra on the special request service for. No complaints about them

5. Otaku.com - I know some people have had problems with Alex's service but I never have. His website and auctions are never my first choice destination but sometimes if I'm looking for something hard to find or oop or sole recently exhausted LE, I'll check it out. There is quite a bit of markup and that's the only detractor but once a year or so isn't so bad.

6. Tower.co.jp - Used once or twice in college with some success. Was a bit difficult registering and getting set up as a US account but once I did it was a pretty easy transaction. I think the only thing i remember ordering from them were two Hisaishi Chinese albums that no one else was carrying (Qing din dai seng or something)

7. Marketplace forums - Pretty paramount for starting my collection back when I first started. Strohmie, Carl, Quasi,
etal. all helped me start my collection

8. Kinokuniya & Book-Off - I live in Jersey so it's close enough to take a trip to visit these retail stores. Kinokuniya tends to be pretty pricey and not really have much but recent releases. Book-Off used to be a gold mine but for the last two years has been mostly a waste of time. I stop by whenever I'm in NYC which is roughly 3-6 times a year these days.

James O Feb 20, 2014

jb wrote:

3. Jerold

I would have included him too, but I think more of him like just a guy rather than a retailer out fit.  your points are still valid tho. he's a solid dude, gotten me plenty of stuff over the years and drained my wallet of many monies.

XLord007 Feb 20, 2014

1. CD Japan - Been using them on and off for a very long time, but since they started their special request service, I use them for pretty much everything. Great service, great packaging, speedy shipments, and more. My only complaint is that the special request service only ships EMS and orders placed through it can't be combined with regular orders. I don't understand why I can't use FedEx with this option or why the orders can't be combined, but hopefully they get that straightened out someday.

2. Jerold - As others have said, Jerold is the man. If it's not in a standard shop and you want it, Jerold will find it for you. You have to be patient, but he always delivers in the end.

3. Amazon Japan - I've used Amazon Japan a couple times, but the ridiculous separate shipping of items turned me off. I understand that this has gotten better recently, but CD Japan is meeting my needs, so unless they piss me off, I see no reason to try AJ again.

GoldfishX Apr 17, 2014

Advanced trick for buying from Amazon Japan marketplace. Has been very fruitful for me recently.

Usually, items that are marked "Amazon" can be purchased by overseas buyers. The drawback is the shipping is skyhigh (I believe it's EMS) and most used items are not marked "Amazon". Usually, the marketplace is full of sellers that do not sell overseas. Hence, the need for middleman to nab these items.

However, some marketplace sellers WILL sell overseas. To find out which ones, search for the album you want (I usually do it by catalogue number) and navigate to the used marketplace listing for the item. Unless the album is stupidly rare, there are usually 10 or more copies sitting in the marketplace. Add 4-5 of the same item (but from different sellers) into your cart and attempt to check out. You will receive an error message for each one that will not ship overseas, so you can remove these from the cart. The ones that don't give the error message, you can simply check out and buy the item with your registered account. REMEMBER TO TAKE OUT THE DUPLICATE ITEMS FROM YOUR CART IF MULTIPLE SELLERS ARE WILLING TO SHIP OVERSEAS! The shipping is usually also less (I live in the US and I pay around $8 an item).

What is cool is some of the more common items that would fetch even $15-$20 on the US/European market are regularly had for 1-200 yen (yes, one crummy yen!). Amazon Japan is a pretty good indicator of prices that items fetch.

student41269 Apr 18, 2014

You can see in the Amazon listings themselves whether or not the seller will ship worldwide, without needing to attempt checkout - it's a mandatory field for any listing. If you don't read Japanese or otherwise use a translator for the page, just look for an '&' in the last line of the seller/availability/shipping details section, which indicates the item is available for 'overseas & domestic' shipping.

I have heard of there being exceptions to this indicator though, and maybe Goldfish's tip will help in those cases, but it's not something I've tried.

Ashley Winchester May 22, 2014

James O wrote:

4. Otaku.com - OK for stuff that may be older (if they have it in stock at all), but with only one (slow) shipping option, it takes a very long time to get stuff.  Prices vary greatly.

I'm confused. I've always considered Otaku's shipping to be fast... insanely fast. I get stuff pretty quick but to be honest it's almost seems to quick. I know it seems dumb to complain it's too quick but with other retailers being slower in my case I don't have a problem being patient.

GoldfishX May 22, 2014

1. Amazon Japan - Color me impressed! I've had a few orders with them and they came tightly packaged and shipping wasn't too outrageous. Now that I know how to order directly from marketplace sellers, I have been using them a lot more.

2. Marketplace forums - They rarely happen anymore (no, a bunch of entries with prices marked as "Negotiable" don't count), but much of my collection was built this way.

3. Jerold - The man! He comes through when it counts.

4. PlayAsia - Good solid retailer. I always get them mixed up with Yes Asia.

Adam Corn Jul 2, 2014

There weren't quite enough respondents to the favorite VGM retailers poll to warrant tallying the results, but I did move all the posts here, where they still should be useful. smile

LuxKiller65 Jul 3, 2014

GoldfishX wrote:

4. PlayAsia - Good solid retailer. I always get them mixed up with Yes Asia.

Funny I was thinking just yesterday, they are both based in Hong Kong. Maybe they are related?

LuxKiller65 Jan 25, 2015

Am I doing something wrong with otaku.com? They charge 9$ for shipping per album??? What is that. Order 10 CDs and you pay 90$ - seriously???

The_Paladin Jan 25, 2015

LuxKiller65 wrote:

Am I doing something wrong with otaku.com? They charge 9$ for shipping per album??? What is that. Order 10 CDs and you pay 90$ - seriously???

"orders feature discounted shipping at $9 for the first item and $9 per item after that" ...if the price is the same it's not really a discount then is it?

Site does say orders over 5 albums or over $90 have custom rates, but since I don't use them I'm not sure what those might be.

Crash Jan 25, 2015

For otaku,com, It used to be that 3+ albums had discounted shipping (essentially, you pay shipping for 2 albums), and 5+ albums had free shipping. Alex is pretty reasonable, and if you contact him directly and ask, you may be able to get a better deal on shipping.

GoldfishX Jan 25, 2015

Yeah, I just get a little nervous when I get to the checkout point and I see the inflated shipping charge. It's something they've had for years now, so I'm sure he has to be aware of it by now. It has probably cost him quite a few sales.

LuxKiller65 Jan 26, 2015

Thanks guys, I'll drop him a line.

It must have cost him a ton of deals for sure! Play-Asia and YesAsia may not be perfect, but they have very competitive shipping prices.

It's really too bad that Michael doesn't have a more "advanced" website with proper accounts and settings. He has a lot of items and would surely profit from an updated look and more functions.

Zorbfish Mar 29, 2015

Do I need a separate account to order from Amazon Japan or can I use my existing account?

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