Hello and welcome to my guide. As the title suggested, I have compiled some tips that I find useful when I look for an anime DVD on eBay. Before you commit yourself in the bidding process, there are several things you need to look out for. Hopefully, this guide will help you choose the right anime at the right price.
Some of the points are specifically aimed at customers who want to buy anime DVDs, but some of them also apply to buying anything on eBay as well.
The difference between a home seller and an eBay store
I love to buy DVDs from home sellers. I define a home seller as someone who is selling DVDs from their private collection (as compared to a store selling their stocks). Most home sellers don't sell for profits. Some do, but an average home seller doesn't. They are selling because they don't want to watch the anime again, or because they need more space on their bookshelf. Whatever the reason, they just want to get rid of the DVDs.
The starting price of the DVDs are often relatively cheap (a lot of them starts at $0.99!), and the total cost usually doesn't exceed the RRP in stores. So straight away, there are savings to be made.
Having said that, I'm not saying eBay stores are bad. They are by no mean bad. There are bargains to be had. I'm just saying that on average, I save more by buying from a home seller than from an eBay store.
Browse through the category
Knowing what you want to buy certain helps. It's as simple as typing in the anime that you want to buy and off you go. When you don't have an anime in mind, you can always browse through the anime category. I do that for two reasons:
1. When I don't have any specific anime in mind, I just scroll through the listings to see if there are any bargains to be had.
2. Sometimes a seller might misspell a title, in which case, it won't pop up when you do a search. But they will come up when you do a browse. For example, you want to search for "Evangelion", if the seller misspells it as "Evangleion", or "Eavngelion", you won't find it if you just do a search. But if you browse, it will come up (assuming that the seller has put it in the correct category).
View seller's other items
Another way of looking for a bargain is to click on the "View seller's other items" inside the seller's information box on the right. Sometimes the seller might be selling multiple items at the same time. This is your chance to save on postage.
A picture says a thousand words (and possibly more)
The first thing I look at in a listing is the picture. Why? Because the picture tells me what it is that I'm buying and the general status of the DVD (or DVD cover). So head for the picture first.
One thing to note about the picture is that make sure that it is a picture of the actual DVD, not just some image of a DVD cover that was downloaded somewhere (like the Madman website). eBay stores is an exception for obvious reasons. In which case, buy from a reputable store.
Another major function of a picture is to spot a bootleg. Visit my "Spot the Pirates" guide on how to spot an anime bootleg on eBay.
Description is the next important thing. The following are the things that you should look for in the description.
Description of the item - What languages are available (most anime DVDs have English and Japanese)? What subtitles are available? Is it in Dolby Digital 5.1? DD 2.0? DTS? Does you equipment at home support the format (for example, DTS soundtrack needs a DVD player that can handle DTS)? Is your DVD player multi-region? This is very important especially if the DVD is not region 4.
Terms and Conditions - How do you pay for the item? That is important because you may not have access or want to use the method of payment that is available. For example, a seller may only accept Bank Deposit but you only use Money Order. I'd say 90% of sellers accept Bank Deposit as a payment method. Personally, I prefer this method as well.
How much is the postage? - Postage is very much part of the process. Every now and then, the seller will offer free shipping, but most of the time, it's you who's paying for shipping. So make sure you add the postage cost to your total. There is not point buying a DVD that sells for $1, but costs you $20 for shipping.
The other thing I look for before I bid for an item (or buy it) is the feedback. It is a very good indication on how the seller do business. Of course 100% positive feedback is desirable, but don't be put off if the seller has 1 or 2 negative comments against him/her. It might just be some disgruntled customers who complain about almost anything in life. Use common sense, if you are uncomfortable dealing with the seller, don't bid for the item.
'Talk' to the seller. If you are unsure about something, ask. When you've paid for the item, send an email to let the seller knows. This way, the seller can process your order faster.
Everything written in this guide is of my own opinion. These are the things that I look for when shopping for anime on eBay. Hopefully you will find this guide useful. Happy shopping, and don't out bid me for my next anime ^_^;.