This guide is for those who want to buy the published Kubera books or other webtoon books. Currently, these books are in Korean only (no news as to whether they will ever come out in English). Originally, Rin made a guide for aladinusa.com , but the site only works for U.S. and Canadian residents. That site has also since been replaced by bandibookus.com .
Note: Please do not scan any of the book contents or otherwise put any of the book-only information online. The webtoon is available for all to read, but the author made that extra content specifically for those who've bought the books. Putting all that online would likely upset the author...
I. Which website to use
My guide will focus on Gmarket, which is the only site I've successfully ordered from. It was, in fact, acquired by Ebay, and has several advantages:
- It's in English!! There are some untranslated Korean content here and there, but you can order and read faqs in English.
- It ships to over 60 countries (using EMS - Express Mail Service). Before you register, please look at this page to make sure your country is listed.
- You can combine orders to reduce shipping costs.
- It accepts Paypal. Other sites require various forms of verification when you're paying with a credit card, and your bank isn't necessary eligible (mine wasn't...)
Gmarket is actually not a direct book sales website. Like Ebay, it gets its products from other vendors. In this case, it will basically order from those Korean-only book websites, then send the books to you. Even with this extra step, prices are the same as buying directly, but you may have to pay a local delivery fee (when I ordered the first 4 Kubera books, I had to pay an extra 2000 won, which is less than $2. Honestly, it was well worth the reduction in overall hassle).
U.S. and Canadian residents only?
If you're a U.S. or Canadian resident, Bandibook US or Interpark Global are probably the cheaper options (I don't live in that region, so I can't really help). The U.S.-Korea shipping cost is already included in the price of the book (I think?), so you just have to pay for delivery costs within the U.S./Canada. All prices are displayed in dollars, and a Kubera book is priced about $12, compared to about $9 on Korean websites (quite reasonable).
On the other hand, those sites are in Korean (yes, they target the U.S., but don't have an English version...). You can try to reproduce the steps in Rin's guide for the Bandibook US's predecessor, Aladin USA. If you have any Korean acquaintances, you could try bugging/begging them to help you.
Buying directly from book websites
The Kubera books first become available on book websites such as aladin, yes24, kyobobook, interpark and Bandi & Luni's. You can try registering and ordering directly from them. They're all in Korean by the way.
Let's just say that I wasted a whole day (not counting failed past attempts) trying to register and order from these sites at first, and didn't manage to order from any of them (even when I did get to the last part, it'd still not accept my credit card). So if you still want to try, well good luck. By the way, there are various guides online, but even the ones from 2011 are outdated by now. The forms and credit card payment steps have since changed, not necessarily for the better.
II. Decide what you want to buy.
The shipping fees can cost more than the book! Check here for an estimate of shipping costs. However, ordering several products at the same time can help you save on the shipping costs (because there is a base rate regardless of the package weight, and beyond the base rate the cost goes up slower). Also, Gmarket isn't limited to books, so if there's anything else you want to buy from Korea (manhwas, CDs, DVDs, whatever), consider ordering them at the same time. For reference: I bought 4 Kubera books, and they were about 2.1 kg total.
Here are some webtoon books you could order, and the Korean terms for them (books available as of August 2013. Korean language only):
- Kubera / 쿠베라: Books 1 to 4, covering the first 50 chapters
- Noblesse / 노블레스 : up to Season 4 released (3 books per Season)
- Cheese in the Trap / 치즈 인 더 트랩: up to Season 2 released (3 books per Season)
- The Breaker / 브레이커 : all available
- The Breaker: New Waves / 브레이커- 무림을 뒤흔드는 새로운 물결 : up to Book 7 available
- Tower of God: no printed books yet for some reason. No, not even in Korean.
You Can order books even if they don't state "Worldwide shipping", by the way. I'm not sure which chapters most of the books cover, since I only bought the Kubera books. By the way, some series such as The Breaker are cheaper, but that's because they're black and white...
What about other merchandise? Unfortunately, I didn't find any merchandise on that site (for Kubera, at least). Extra webtoon merchandise (T-shirts, mobile phone cases, mugs and others) seem to be sold mostly through Webtoon Shop. This is the link for Kubera's merchandise shop, for example. I can't help with that, sorry.
III. Registering on Gmarket
Registering on Gmarket is fairly straightforward: everything is in English. Just click Register at the top of the website. Mostly:
- Check the box to confirm that you have read the terms and conditions
- Enter an ID (username, not real name), password and G-account password, and password hint
- Answer "no" to the question "Do you have an Alien Registration number in Korea?"
- Fill in the remaining "Tell us about yourself" fields (Name, nationality, email, address, telephone, gender, date of birth. Choose "I don't want to subscribe" for the Shopping Letter)
- Click Submit.
You will then need to wait for a confirmation email (a few minutes at most), click "Complete Gmarket registration", and that's it (I think).
IV. Ordering items
Type the product you are looking for in the search bar. For Kubera, type 쿠베라, then click "BOOKS/CDS/DVDS" in the categories section to hide all those unrelated products.
Note: you don't Have to limit your search results to just those with "worldwide shipping." Gmarket can still ship the product to you.
Once you've done that, you will see the different books available as well as the vendor (Bandi & Luni's, Interpark etc.). In my case, I just ordered a Kubera 1~4 bundle that was available at the very end of the search results. Just go to each product you want and add them to your cart. There will be a pop-up each time asking you whether to continue or to go to the shopping cart.
Once you're done, go to your shopping cart and fill in any information. Be sure to choose your country from the drop-down to check the shipping costs first. Also, make sure that all the items are in the "Overseas" tab. If not, go to the "Domestic" tab and move everything to the "Foreign" tab. For future orders, Gmarket should automatically list all items under Overseas.
Once you're done, click "Place an order", fill in the various fields (name, address, telephone etc.), choose your payment method, and that's it.
- Gmarket will give you Welcome coupons. However, the Book coupon can only be used for books that have been out for more than 18 months, so I couldn't use it anyway...
- I think you just need to install the plugin that pops up if you're paying directly with a credit card.
- If you're using Paypal, like I did, then a pop-up will show up (but no plugin to install). This pop-up failed to display with Google Chrome in my case, so I switched to Internet Explorer, and then it worked fine. I haven't tried with Firefox.
- If you want to pay directly with a Credit Card, choose "Foreign Credit Card". It may have to go through a verification called 3D-Secure. In my case, my card wasn't eligible for that. If you can't use Paypal, and 3D-Secure isn't working for you, then choose "Others" for card type instead. I'm not sure if you need to register it or not...
Gmarket will charge for the following:
- The cost of the items
- The cost of local delivery (if any): most vendors say "free" delivery, but this is usually conditional (probably depending on order size). You'll probably end up paying 2,000~2,500 won in local delivery fees per vendor. However, they will usually only charge this fee once per vendor, so if you're buying multiple items, try to buy them all from the same vendor.
- The estimated shipping costs: Gmarket seems to estimate 1kg per book-type item for the shipping costs, so it will likely over-estimate it for something like a single book, but under-estimate it for a bundle of several books. How heavy is a book? I ordered the first 4 Kubera books, and the actual package weight turned out to be something like 2.1 kg (the books actually Are pretty heavy, they're printed on really thick paper...).
Actual vs estimated shipping costs: Gmarket will then weigh the items once it receives them in Korea.
- If the actual weight is less than the estimated weight, it will put the difference on your Gmarket account's cash balance.
- If you owe more than 5,000 won in extra shipping costs, it will send you an email to ask you to pay the difference.
- If you owe less than 5,000 won in extra shipping costs, it won't bother you, and deduct from your cash balance first instead (you can end up with a negative cash balance this way. Apparently you don't have to repay immediately, and can just offset it with future, overpaid extra shipment costs, or something. If you want to pay back immediately, you can't just use Paypal again, you have to specifically open an account and transfer the money in...).
Possible issues: After ordering the books, my account was actually partially blocked for a while, with an "고객님께서는 상품구매가 제한되어 있습니다. 문의사항은 고객센터로 연락하여주시기 바랍니다." error message popping up (basically stating that my purchases were being limited). I suspect it was either because I was using a VPN, so my IP was all over the place, and I wasn't using the same given names for my credit card and account name. Anyway, I sent them an inquiry, they apologized and asked for a photo of my passport, and they took care of it pretty quickly. Don't hesitate to send them inquiries if something goes wrong, they answer by the next day at the latest (in English of course).
V. Delivery process
To see the status of the delivery, mouseover "My Gmarket" and click "Overseas Order." Don't rely on the information displayed in "Shopping list." It will display the status of the item in Korea rather than overseas (i.e., if Gmarket received the product from the vendor, but hasn't sent it overseas yet, "Shopping list" will display "Delivery completed").
From here, you can also choose "Request Combined Shipment." That will save on shipping costs by sending all the items at the same time. You can only do that while Gmarket hasn't shipped the products overseas yet, so try to do it within a day or two of ordering.
The Delivery process will go through several steps.
- First, Gmarket will order the item from the vendor. During a period of 1~2 days, it will thus display "On Request" in the "Domestic Delivery Status" section. During this period, the vendor also confirms the payment and such. It stayed like that for about 1.5 days for me, so don't panic wondering if there were any issues with payment.
- Once Gmarket receives the item, it will change the Domestic Delivery Status to "Received" or something like that. If there are additional shipping fees to be paid, it may handle it by itself depending on the amount, or ask for you to settle the difference first. So, keep an eye on your order and your emails.
- Shipping: once the item has been sent off to shipping (it may take an extra day), the "Worldwide Shipping Status" field will display "Item Received." It means EMS (Express Mail Service) has received the item, not you! You can click "more" for more information. At this point a "Tracking" button will appear in the "More info" column, so you can check the status of your delivery. It asks you to install a plugin, but I think you don't actually need to.
- By the way, there is a delay in the tracking system, it may take a few hours to update. Also, various steps may take a day each (arrival at the airport, take-off, sorting upon arrival, etc.), so don't stress if the items stay in one place for some time.
At this point, you just have to wait for EMS to deliver your item. You can also look up the EMS tracking number with your local EMS service. Overall, delivery should take 3 to 10 business days, so all that's left is to wait (im)patiently.
VI. What about taxes?
Honestly I have no clue. D: In my case, I didn't have to pay any. If you've had experience with taxes, please share in this thread.
Appendix: What to expect from the Kubera books
The books are pretty heavy and actually bigger than I expected. They're in full color on thick glossy paper, and over 200 pages each! You're probably wondering about the difference between the books and the webtoon. Basically:
- The book contents are mostly the same as the webtoon, like over 95% same (not counting re-paneling, also the sequence of some scenes are slightly different), so don't get any wrong ideas. That said, wow, the art is super pretty on the paper. Nicer than reading online. Too bad it's not in English (waah!)
- However, there are a few extra frames and scenes per book. There aren't many of them, but they can be quite interesting (one extra image revealed Menaka's hair color, for example. It's blue by the way, those who have signed up to the Korean fancafe should have noticed from the fanarts by now). Most arcs also have a new, introductory artwork. Some books have an extra 'Haas diary entry' page somewhere in between (he's Leez' childhood friend).
- There are a few black and white pages at the end of each book, presenting background information such as character information (just basic stuff like name, race etc.), cities, races, descriptions of spells and transcendentals and other background information. Most of this information can be found on the blog, but some is exclusive to the books.
- Most books also come with a single character card, two for Book 4. However, only the first editions have the cards, so I got them for Books 2~4, but not for Book 1.
- Book 1: Chapters 1~11. Currygom presents the origins of the series, her workflow, and some basic background overview: the planet, cities, time, races, magic, and description of spells used so far.
- Book 2: Chapters 12~22. A few extra pages of Asha and Brilith in N11, hanging out in Eloth. There's extra information on Atera, a description of spell properties (attributes etc.), and descriptions of transcendentals used so far.
- Book 3: Chapters 23~35. There's a description of Rindhallow, more explanation of magic, and more descriptions of transcendentals used so far.
- Book 4: Chapters 36~50. There's a description of the Gods, including a new section on the Primeval Gods (with individual paragraphs for each), a list of Sura races with alliance/enemies and Kings, and overview of Sura generations (including power ranking with different stages, a description of growth phases), and other miscellaneous information.
(I call them "chapters", though Currygom refers to arcs as "chapters" (in English), and chapters as... whatever it is in Korean)
Well, that's it! Drop a comment if you have any questions or if you've succeeded.
Edited by Mizura, 29 August 2013 - 10:59 AM.