I know we've been on a bit of hiatus since May. This is because one of our key staff members is very busy with a full time job and has limited internet access. We may not be able to churn projects out as quickly as we have in the past, but we do hope to bring you more material in the future.
For the time being, I've put together a little guide on places to buy doujinshi. I've only been buying for a little over a year, so I don't profess to know everything there is to know about buying them. This is tailored to mention pointers that are specific to buying Death Note doujinshi, but of course these places have much more than that. Please keep in mind that this list is coming from the perspective of someone living in the US... I know I'm lucky that most places are willing to ship here.
Hope this list will be helpful to some of you!
JP Queen - Probably the best non-bidding site to buy from. Very highly recommended. It's based in Japan and ships to a very wide base of countries. It directs you to pay through Kagi.com, which is a site similar to Paypal (except you don't have to sign up for an account to use it). I'm just adding that in because I was nervous about using it at first. ^^; If you're not logged into JP Queen and you want to browse their inventory, remember that they keep the really smutty stuff at the end of the lists (they're the ones that are marked with a heart). You can also peruse the titles and samples of doujinshi that they once had in stock but have already sold (under "unavailable items"). They also have a nice feature where you have a 2 week deadline in which to pay for your order, and during that time you can add more things to your order. It's just an all around awesome site.
Happy Otaku Site - I have bought several times from them with success. Based in Japan. If you live outside of the US or Japan, I'd ask them first if they can ship to your country (a friend of mine found that they didn't sell to Spain. :/). They don't update their stock often, but when they do they are often good ones.
Ultimate Anime- I bought once from them about 4 months ago and it was a good experience. Based in the US. If you're in the US, the shipping prices are very reasonable (~$4 for up to 3 books, higher if more than 3). They claim to ship internationally. Arrived in very nice plastic sleeves and cardboard comic backers. They didn't update their stock very often for a while, but lately they've been getting better at that.
Mandarake - Famous Japanese bookstore. I personally haven't used them, but I've heard very good things from others.
Kitty Cafe - I haven't used them either. However, they have a few nice doujinshi up for sale and have good feedback. I may check back there in the future.
Ebay - Kind of a "duh," isn't it? I've had successful transactions with many sellers on here, but I personally recommend buying from akino_furusato (penn_irene here on LJ). She sells mostly Death Note doujinshi and puts listings up about every 2-3 weeks (you may have seen her advertise in a few DN communities here). I love buying from her. She's very professional about it and incredibly friendly! :)
Yahoo! Japan Auctions + auction proxy (such as Akibado, Rinkya, Celga, etc) - This has been my big kick lately. Since most sellers on YJA do not ship outside of Japan, auction proxy services can be used as a sort of middleman to complete the transaction with the seller and ship the items to your location.
I've been using Akibado, but I'm not sure if I'd recommend it.
EDIT: As of April '09, I would stongly recommend you NOT use Akibado. They've gotten much slower, rarely answer emails, and you'll be lucky if you see your items in the next 6 months. A friend of mine has been having the same experience. :/ I use Rinkya now, which has higher fees, but has excellent service. Plus they've had a sale on doujinshi for some months now.
I've found that Akibado has the lowest fees out of all the auction proxies I've looked into. However, they are INCREDIBLY slow about updating the status of and shipping your items. Items I've won on YJA in March still haven't come in yet according to my account information (even after emailing them about it). However, Akibado also has the nice service of shipping all your items in a bulk shipment; not all auction proxies do this and will send your items to you individually. If money is an issue for you and you don't mind waiting months for your items, then Akibado would be an okay choice. If you want your items sooner than that, definitely go with a different service; however, keep in mind that the fees will be higher.
- Using an auction proxy: Akibado
Here I'll explain a little about how to bid on Akibado. This info might be useful even if you choose a different service, since the three that I've listed seem to work somewhat similarly (but of course, check the specifics of your chosen service, just to be sure). In order to bid, you must first make "deposits" to Akibado's paypal; this money is what is ultimately used to pay for what you win. They have a feature where you can place bids by yourself in real time, which is incredibly useful. If you'd rather not do that, you can send them the URL of the item you want along with your maximum bid and they will take care of it for you. Always keep the cost of fees in mind while using a proxy, such as the base fee, final value fee, bank fee, domestic shipping fee, etc. Sometimes you will end up having to pay just as much in fees as the final bidding price for some items. And that isn't even including the final shipping fee. :/ They do ship your items to you in bulk however, whenever you ask them to do so. More information on Akibado's various fees can be found here.
Using Akibado was at first a bit intimidating to me and seemed complicated. They have some instructions on how to use it on their site but I found it to be a bit lacking. The site can be confusing and not so intuitive to use at first. It does get easier with time and practice.
- Using Yahoo! Japan Auctions
This is the fun part. :D
You can begin by browsing the categoy of DN doujinshi here. If you're a dj addict like me, you'll feel like L in a candy store. ;D If you're looking for a particular circle, I'd suggest using their name as a search term. Some listings will have their name in romaji, some in katakana and kanji. For example, at this moment I can't find anything by "Zerohaku" but can find several things by "ゼロ博"
LJ users - This can be tricky because it's sometimes hard to tell who you can trust. Some users have an entry for people to give feedback on transactions, which is incredibly helpful. I've personally received great stuff from tokyogetter and love_seat.
Conventions - Where I bought my first doujinshi (from Ultimate Anime's setup in the dealer's room at Otakon... it was "Dead Stock" by Balgus REC ♥). US conventions seem more likely to have doujinshi sellers than other countries from what I've heard (outside of Japan and other countries in Asia, of course). I've found that buying doujinshi at conventions is generally more expensive than buying online, even when considering the shipping cost. I still do it though, since I can't resist when I see them right in front of me. :P And if you see a good one that's hard to get online, then hot damn, go for it!
While browsing online looking for more places, I came across this list of doujinshi retailers. It looks helpful, I will have to check them out more.
If anyone else knows of any other good places and is willing to share, please do! :)
Suggestions for improvements or expansions to this guide are also appreciated. ^^