Where to Buy BL Manga

This is a list of shops around the world I’ve been to that have had a decent selection of BL manga. If you’re looking to buy volumes online, then I recommend the Book Depository, but if you’re like me, there’s sometimes nothing better than browsing through a shelf of books with nothing specific in mind. Bookshops also facilitate the discovery of stories and authors you wouldn’t otherwise come across — some of my favourite manga I only read because I saw them in a store and took a chance.

If you have some favourite shops of your own that sell more than a token array of BL manga or doujinshi, feel free to recommend them in the comments!

Do please note that I can only update this page when I (re)visit the stores themselves, so some information may be outdated (check the “last visited” date on most listings).

Jump to country → Australia · USA · Japan · Taiwan
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

>Australia

Minotaur

Where: 121 Elizabeth Street Melbourne CBD, website

Minotaur is a pop culture nerd’s wet dream. The basement store sell novels, manga, art books, action figures, posters, DVDs, toys and limited edition imports for many popular science fiction and fantasy fandoms. They also have a huge selection of English-language manga, including one tall shelf of BL (English-language only). They usually stock new releases in a timely fashion, though expect to pay a few dollars more for a volume than you might online. Personally I don’t mind doing so when it means I’m also supporting a local one-of-a-kind store.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

>USA

Kinokuniya 

Where: 525 S Weller Street, Seattle, website with map

Last visited: December 2010

Kinokuniya is, of course, a global Japanese-owned bookchain, and naturally all of its branches stock manga in some form or another. Not all stock BL though, but the store in Seattle I visited certainly did. They had two low shelves of English-language yaoi, though they were already sold out of some of the more popular and recent titles. To my surprise, they also sell a goodly selection of Chinese-language manga (despite clearly marked Taiwanese export restrictions), though no Chinese BL. I’ve forgotten if they also sold Japanese-language yaoi, though I have a feeling they didn’t.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

>Japan

Junku-do (ジュンク堂書店)

Where:Naha, Okinawa, website with map

Last visited: January, 2012

As expected of a warehouse-sized multistorey bookstore purportedly selling over a million books, Junku-do has half a floor devoted to manga. The BL manga shelves span the width of the building, and the BL novels section is directly opposite and just as well-stocked. In addition to tankoubon, there were also a selection of magazines and anthologies. Even better were the BL displays elsewhere in the building, including one featuring Nakamura Asumiko’s work. They also have a small Shounen-heavy selection of English language manga.

K-Books (Osaka branch)

Where: Osaka, website with map

Last visited: January 2011

If you’re looking for secondhand BL manga and novels in Osaka, this is the place. They had such a huge selection that I didn’t even get time to check out the store’s higher floors (though my travelling companions informed me it was mostly hentai anyway). If your nearest Book Off doesn’t stock BL or only has a small selection, K-Books is a much better alternative for pre-owned manga in excellent condition.

Mandarake (Shibuya branch)

Where: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, website with map

Last visited: March, 2013

Mandarake hardly needs any extra advertisement from me, but if you’re looking for ceiling-high, library-like stacks of Japanese BL and doujinshi both old and new, look no further. Mandarake is especially good if you’re looking to buy whole series, as I was able to find a few supposedly out of print tankoubon that had been missing from my collection. On the way in you should considering picking up a supermarket basket if you’re planning to buy up big. Mandarake also sells anime merchandise, CDs, and a goodly selection of hentai (though I never went into that section).

Book Off

Where: Shibuya, Tokyo, website with map (BL is on 3F)

Last visited: October, 2012

Book Off is a national chain of second hand media shops (in addition to books, they also sell DVDs and games etc), but not all of the hundreds of branches sell BL. Last time I was there though, the enormous Book Off near Shibuya Station certainly did. If you don’t mind buying good condition second hand manga or are looking for out of print items, Book Off is extremely economical. If I ever live in Japan for any length of time, I will be using my pittance of an entertainment budget at the nearest BL-selling Book Off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

>Taiwan

Kannmiya (甘味屋)

Where: 2nd Floor above the Subway directly outside Xi Men Metro Station Exit 2, Taipei, website

Last visited: April 2013

I originally found this store by trawling through a Chinese-language forum, and I do not exaggerate when I say that this is the ultimate mecca for Chinese-language BL manga and novels. Although the shop is obscure and tiny, it has compactor upon compactor of all the latest and relatively recent Chinese-language yaoi in Taiwan, including those distributed by tiny publishers I’d never even heard of. The proprietoress (or perhaps the owner? She certainly seems to live on the other side of her desk) can also order you in things. In addition to manga, she stocks BL novels, a small selection of translated doujinshi, and some second-hand BL too (I picked up some fascinating 90s yaoi this way). Kannmiya is also cheaper than buying at a larger store and provides you with plastic covers for your purchases.

(That being said, the lady owner runs a bit hot and cold whenever I’m there — sometimes she’s extremely friendly, other times she asks me condescendingly in Mandarin whether I understand what she’s saying. You’d think the fact I’ve bought literally over a hundred tankoubon from her would clue her into the fact that I have more than a rudimentary understanding of the language.)

(Yes, I’m conflicted).

Animate (安利美特)

Where: 2 locations in Taipei, Japanese website with maps (scroll down)

Last visited: March 2013

Animate is, of course, a very well known manga and anime merchandise chain even outside its native Japan. While I generally don’t think the Japanese branches are anything to write home about, the two stores in Taiwan are remarkable simply because there are so few similar retailers in Taiwan. As you’d expect of a store whose parent company owns the BL publisher Libre, both Animate branches in Taiwan sell a large range of BL — they also get the new releases faster than they’re technically supposed to be available. Even better, in the Xi Men store they also have a small range of BL merchandise (Viewfinder billfold ahoy!) A major annoyance about buying from Animate in Taiwan, though, is that they insist upon proof of age whenever you buy 18+ items. Yes, even if you send your grey-haired 60-year-old mother to buy them for you, they’ll still check her passport and birthdate. I know this because I sent my mother on my behalf. Repeatedly.

Pacific Sogo (太平洋 Sogo)

Where: 10th Floor, 246 Dun Hua South Road Section 1, Taipei, website with transport instructions

Last visited: January 2012

Pacific Sogos are as prevalent in Taiwan as Walmarts are in the US. OK, maybe not quite that prevalent. But for reasons known only to the department store’s managers, this particular branch of Sogo (and not the other one diagonally across the road) has a bookshop on the 10th floor. This particular store is basically a Japanese bookshop transplanted across the brief expanse of ocean separating Nihon from Taiwan. So Japanese is it, that none of the books within even bear local price tags in Taiwan Dollars. For all I know they accept yen as payment. Anyway, they do stock some Chinese books, but all of the manga, game guides and art books are the Japanese editions, which holds true for the decent multi-shelf array of BL. So if you’re after yaoi in the original language and for some inexplicable reason are in Taipei instead of Tokyo, this is where to go.

Kinokuniya (紀伊國屋書店)

Where: Kinokuniya Hanshin Arena Store Kaohsiung, webpage with address

Last visited: March 2013

I have a very soft spot for the Breeze Centre (微風店 )Kinokuniya in Taipei because it is literally where my full blown BL obsession was first sated, but I actually more strongly recommend the Hanshin Arena branch in Kaohsiung. Although they only have one chest-high shelf of BL, I’ve had tremendous luck in picking up some manga I hadn’t seen elsewhere. They also sell BL novels (only popular and recent releases), and art books! I discovered and subsequently bought an imported Yamane Ayano art book there unexpectedly during my last visit.

(The photo on the left is at the Breeze Centre branch, but you get the idea).

Eslite (誠品書店)

Where: Xin Yi Store, Taipei, webpage with address in English

Last visited: December 2011

Eslite is a Taiwanese chain of bookstores that include Taiwan’s first 24-hour bookstore, which puts a new spin on staying up all night reading. Not all Eslite branches sell BL, or even manga, but the Xin Yi store has a half-shelf of yaoi. It’s not a particularly extensive range, but is nonetheless noteworthy because they stock some older titles long since bought or returned to the distributor in other stores. And going to an Eslite this big is an experience in itself.

Advertisements

39 comments on “Where to Buy BL Manga

  1. hilarypham says:

    are there any places in chicago? i’ve tried looking it up…

    • Ramona says:

      Sorry, I’ve never been to Chicago, so I have no idea :( However, if there are any large or specialty comics stores they might have a small selection. Good luck!

  2. fertry says:

    very helpful, thank you so much :D Since I am going to Tokyo next week for the first time ever in my life I’ll be able to find some stores which sell yaoi thanks to you :D
    (Honestly, until a few months ago I thought you could buy yaoi manga in every normal book/manga store XD)

    • Ramona says:

      You’re welcome, Fertry! And there are a surprising number of ‘normal’ bookstores in Japan where you can indeed buy BL, but the ones above are some of my favourites! Have a wonderful time in Tokyo ^^

      • fertry says:

        oh, so it won’t be that hard to find them :P And do you know any shops where I can buy yaoi mergandise? Don’t most of the shops in akihabara sell them? Or better: Is there any yaoi-shop or something like that somewhere in tokyo? :P I hope I am not bothering you, it’s just that I would wanna know before going there. No way that I am going to miss that stop!

        • Ramona says:

          I think you will find that many more ordinary bookstores in Tokyo will stock erotic or pornographic content than in other countries, but it can be very hit and miss. That’s why you should definitely focus on bookstores with a dedicated selection of BL like Mandarake, Kinokuniya, Animate etc. As for merchandise, that also varies from store to store (even if they are part of the same “brand”). Maybe do some extra online research or ask around when you get there (and then come back and tell us!). Sorry I can’t help more.

  3. fertry says:

    Mandarake, Kinokuniya, Animate… okay noted! I will try looking at these shops first since asking isn’t really an opinion for me. My japanese is really reallllyyy bad. And how do you even call such a store?! Should I ask something like: ボーイズラブやはどこですか。XD Well, I will keep my eyes open and be sure to tell you if I find any good stores selling that kinda stuff.

  4. Tham Le says:

    Do they sell yaoi in normal bookstores in taiwan? I m going to visit Taiwan in the next few weeks (I don’t know Chinese btw) so I really wanna know. Thanks. So happy to find out ur site. The info is very helpful. :)

    • Ramona says:

      Although it’s quite easy to find general manga and manga rental shops all around Taiwan, the stores I’ve listed above have the largest selections of yaoi available — most general bookstores do not stock it or will only stock a few popular volumes. And unfortunately none of them sell BL/yaoi in English, so you have to be able to read either Japanese or (traditional) Chinese. If you don’t know about it already, I recommend the website Book Depository for English manga, and they ship internationally for free. You can also use Books.com.tw within Taiwan and have your purchases sent to the nearest 7-11 convenience store to your hotel. Good luck and I hope you enjoy your time in Taiwan!

  5. Vicky says:

    Hello, love your blog here! I’ll be going to Japan (Tokyo and Osaka) soon and I plan to go to several bookstores there. I’d like to know which bookstores should I go first for cheap manga? I don’t mind second hand copies. Also I assume Japanese bookstores put bl manga in one big section and not all over the store, correct? Ahh I’m so nervous. Thank you.

    • Ramona says:

      Hi Vicky! If you don’t mind second hand manga, I really recommend visiting any of the larger Book Off or K-books chains in Tokyo and Osaka. They will have decent BL sections and not only will the manga be in excellent condition, often prices are less than half of what you’d pay at Kinokuniya, for example. Good luck!

      • Vicky says:

        Ah thank you for your prompt response! ^.^ I have another question, how do you look for certain mangaka in a big bookstore? Say Yamane Ayano-sensei? How is it organized? I live in NYC and Kinokuniya and Book Off here have only one bookshelf worth of BL manga. Thank you so much for your help ! :)

        • Ramona says:

          Unlike bookstores in the West, Japanese titles aren’t organised alphabetically, but by publisher. So find out the name of the publisher for whichever manga-ka you’re after (in Yamane-sensei’s case it’s Libre Shuppan, though she’s so popular her titles often have pride of place anyway). If you speak Japanese don’t hesitate to ask the bookstore’s staff members too (or ask a friend to on your behalf) — if you can’t see what you’re looking for, it may be out of print (though that’s what secondhand stores will help with, of course!)

          • Ramona says:

            Oh, I should also clarify: Libre Shuppan is Yamane Ayano’s publisher, but the imprint (and the logo that appears on the spine of her manga) is Be x Boy or BBC. And you’re right in figuring that books are sorted according to form and genre first. Hope this helps!

  6. Vicky says:

    Thank you soo much for your invaluable help!!! *___* You the best! Thanks!! :)

  7. Mike says:

    UK: The downstairs of Mitsukoshi (actually quite a swanky department store in Japan proper) in London is a bookshop with a small BL section, though they’re all in Japanese and pretty expensive (the same as what you’d pay for a translated English book, anyway). Mitsukoshi is next to the Japan Centre, just off Piccadilly Circus.

    The twice-yearly MCM convention in London often has a few Yaoi stalls, a prominent (and loud) one that sells Doujins is hideously overpriced (about 10 times the Japanese prices, seriously), but there’s others. One seller usually has a decent selection of June Manga books, which are never very explicit, but ARE in English!

    • Ramona says:

      Wow, thanks for all the info! :) And yes, Mitsukoshi has quite a presence in Taiwan as well, though I didn’t realise they had a branch in the UK too.

  8. Renee says:

    Thank you so much, this is really really helpful!! ^^ By the way Ramona, I wanted to ask some questions since I’ll be going to Tokyo in a few months :) hope I’m not being annoying or anything! ^^ (I already noted Mandarake hehe :D)

    1) I wanted to confirm about something, you said in the previous comments that the BL books are sorted from their publisher. For example if I was searching for Nekota Yonezou’s or Yamane Ayano’s work (the best LOL) I should search for their publisher then? Now the question is, I can’t read Japanese so how can I found the sections???

    and most importantly, how could I found the one they made in the middle of those huge stacks of books with Hiragana and Katakana’s everywhere? There’s no alphabets right? XD XD *panicking over here*

    2) This is a bit embarrassing but I’m 16 right now… and it’s not a legal age… if I’m not wrong? Can underage actually buy BL stories in Japan? (I know this question is weird but I seriously wanted to know hehe X) I’ll buy them by myself without my parents knowing of course… oops I/m a bad person :p

    3) How much is the price of those BL books in Mandarake in average?

    Oh Thank You SO MUCH for reading my questions, and I hope you could help me ^3^ Thank you in advance! My dream is to buy a real BL books to support my favorite authors and I might be… buying a lot there :DDDD

    • Renee says:

      wait!! I forgot one more thing! <– shamelessly asking for some more weird question

      Which one do you recommend, besides the price, the book store which has more collections of the mangas? (I hate it if I want to buy all of the volumes and then you miss one of it.. LOL)

      and also, which one is easier to find? Mandarake or Book Off?

      Once again, thank you ^^ I really hope you'll reply me and help me, I'm really excited xD

    • Ramona says:

      Hi Renee!

      1) Do you know about Baka Manga (http://www.mangaupdates.com/)? It’s a great manga resource, and if you search the website for the manga you’re looking for, the entry should list the publisher’s name. Then when you’re in the store, check the spines of the manga for the publisher name/logo (they’re all grouped together). It might take a little while to recognise which logo belongs to which publisher, but once you know how, it makes searching a lot easier. And the only cure for making searching through lots of things written in kana is…to actually learn hiragana and katakana :P Some manga titles are in English, but that’s not the norm.

      2) I’ve never had to worry about buying anything underage, so I’m not certain of the current laws in Japan, but I have an inkling you’re supposed to be at least 18+. If you look like a foreigner and the store has a lax policy though, the cashier probably won’t bother you. I’m guessing Animate and Mandarake would be more strict about this kind of thing than Book Off, for example.

      3) Mandarake sells (mostly) secondhand doujinshi, but brand new manga. It depends on the specific manga and publisher, but most new manga are in the 500-800 yen range. Go to Book Off for the cheaper stuff if you’re on a budget.

      Mandarake and Book Off are chains, so you can find different branches in different places — check Google Maps. The stores I’ve recommended on this page are both in Shibuya though, and Book Off is probably easier to find because it’s above ground (they’re both within a short walking distance from each other, actually, so it’d be easy to do both in one day).

  9. Xenith says:

    Hello! I totally agree with you that Eslite is so limited on Chinese yaoi!! I have been to the one in Ximending Emei branch and was greatly disappointed! They only had 1 and a half rack of the whole shelf of 8-10 racks stocked with yaoi…

    • Ramona says:

      Believe it or not, that sounds like more than other Eslite branches have! And I guess the one in Ximending doesn’t have much incentive to stock a large selection of yaoi, not with Animate just around the corner.

  10. Imp says:

    Hello, thanks a lot for the info on Taipei bookstores. I’m going to Taipei soon and I’m just a novice at manga. I’d like to find some Japanese and/or Traditional Chinese BL/ML manga with 18禁 content. I still can’t quite make out the difference between Yaoi, BL, bara, seijin but I’m looking for something with straightforward gay sexual content )
    Can you direct me to some specific locations that sell that very sort of manga in Taipei? Can you also write the Chinese names for this sub-genre (what exactly should I look for?). Is it 耽美, BL漫畫 with 18禁 label or is there any other better name for it? And another thing, do they too sell the books wrapped so you can’t see what’s inside in Taiwan as they do in Japan? Thanks a lot in advance!

    • Ramona says:

      Haha, the express purpose of this list is to help people find “specific locations” for the very thing you’re looking for! But for a newbie who wants a decent selection, in Taipei I recommend Animate, Kannmiya (if you can find it) and Kinokuniya in the Breeze Center (微風廣場) — they all sell 18+ BL manga, and yep, they’re all wrapped in plastic if they’re new. Some of these stores have all of their manga lumped together without genre signs, so just look out for man-on-man action on the front covers ;) Otherwise asking someone at the counter for ‘BL漫畫’ should work.

  11. diemfu says:

    Hi! Thanks a lot for the list! I’m now living in Taiwan and your list has helped me a lot. Since you seem like an expert on this, and if it’s not too much trouble, I’d like to ask a couple questions.
    First is if you know of any manga rental stores that stock BL? I’ve found quite a lot of manga rental stores, but not many that have BL. (Of course, I’ve also only been searching in my area AKA Greater Taipei Area) Or if there are manga cafes that cater to BL fans.
    Second is if you know if any Taiwanese sites that sell Japanese language manga? I know there’s Amazon Japan, but if possible, I’d prefer to minimize shipping.
    Third is totally unrelated to stores, but about the yaoi scene in Taiwan. Are there a lot of events or meetups in Taipei? I’m alone and new in this country, so I’m wondering if there are places to go to meet people with similar interests in BL. I don’t really know where to start.
    Sorry about the long list of questions and thank you so much in advance!

    • Ramona says:

      Well, I usually like to read in private and rental prices are only a bit below what it would cost to buy new manga, so I rarely go to rental stores, I’m afraid :( That being said, I know one of the manga rental shops/cafes in Shida Night Market (師大夜市) stocks BL — last I was there they had quite a collection of interesting ’90s yaoi! If you read the manga in-store it’s cheaper too.

      The only Taiwanese website I’ve used to buy manga/novels before is Books.com.tw, but I’m not sure if they stock Japanese-language books (let alone manga). I’m pretty sure the Xi Men Ding Animate branch (and Kannmiya, up on the list) stock some Japanese BL though, which would definitely cancel out potential shipping fees ;)

      And I’ve never participated in the yaoi scene in Taiwan, unfortunately. The most I could suggest is to read through Chinese-language fansites and message boards, and keep up to date with Taiwanese publisher news — sometimes they manage to lure manga-ka over here for signings :) Sorry I can’t help more!

      • Ramona says:

        Oh, this just occurred to me: for the biggest range of Japanese-language yaoi in Taipei, go to the Pacific Sogo I’ve mentioned earlier on this page (easily accessible from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station on the Bannan line). Hopefully you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for without bringing Amazon.co.jp into things ;)

        • diemfu says:

          Sorry for the late reply. Yeah, I actually just visited the Sogo and Kinokuniya in Tianmu today and I’ve been to the one in Zhongxiao Fuxing. They do stock a lot of BL. But a lot of the times, I’m looking for a specific manga and they sometimes don’t stock it. But they can order it for me, so that’s great :)
          Thanks so much for all the info!

  12. richal tamayo says:

    Ow thanks:)).. ill be visiting taiwan this March and your blog really help me:).. ive always been a fan and I obtain my bl mangas online! :))).. im excited to browse each shelf in search of bl mangas I love! Thanks a lot! XD

  13. Richal tamayo says:

    Btw :) is there a chance that i would see english translated yaoi mangas? :).. I know a little chinese but i oftenly share my yaoi mangas to my friends, they don’ t know chinese.. Hehe:)) ill be in taiwan this thursday.. March 27.. Ill wait for your reply:) thanks

    • Ramona says:

      Unfortunately the only English-language manga I’ve ever seen in Taiwan have been a few volumes of the more popular shonen manga, with no BL in sight :S

  14. AvriL says:

    Anywhere in Singapore?
    I’m going to there this June, looking for somewhere to buy yaoi English T>T
    In my country, it’s hard to find yaoi :((
    I just can oder online but charge is expensive

    • Ramona says:

      I’ve never been to Singapore, so I can’t say for certain, but I think it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find much given that (male) homosexual acts are technically still illegal there. I’m no expert, though, so it’s probably worth doing more research :)

      • Samantha says:

        Last time Singapore, use to sell Yaoi comics, but now it’s been banned. Reason I don’t know. Now I have hard time finding it. Do you have any recommendations where I could buy online other than amazon?

  15. Onita says:

    … I was hoping to see if I could find any , but they ‘re all far away .. besides the Seattle one but still ! I guess I ‘ll just have to buy them online … -sigh – Thanks for the post by the way ! ^^

    • Ramona says:

      Please don’t treat this post as a comprehensive list of places you can buy BL (because it really, really isn’t). It’s really only a compendium of places I’ve personally been to, which is — as you can see — limited!

Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s