This is partly for my reference. Hopefully, this can help other people who shop for K-pop goods, too. I find online shops to be significantly cheaper than actual shops in America, even with the standard shipping fees. Shipping fees among all online shops are comparable as they seem to use the same methods. I generally receive items (Korea to East Coast USA) within 2 weeks of shipment. I’ve never had any lost packages with any of these shops & smaller packages have arrived faster.
Highly recommended as this shop often has specials. They also offer free shipping & tracking for orders over $38. Soompi is an English K-pop site that is based in California and was acquired by a Korean company. As such, they have a number of autographed albums available at any given time (Soompi Specials). These albums usually come bundled with some kind of extra goods (new photos, slogans, etc). Usually Specials cannot be ordered with other things because they get shipped out after they have been signed by the artists. As far as I can tell, Soompi orders do NOT come with posters unless specified.
This is a Korean-based, English language shop of CJ E&M. They offer free shipping over $25 and have better deals than Soompi. The mark ups for the CDs aren’t as high and the shop has several kinds of specials for autographed albums. “Signed CD” specials are limited in amount and are charged at the same price (or lower) as an unsigned CD. “Meet & Greet” CDs are also sold at low prices. Comments/Questions that are submitted with these orders are selected for the streaming online, hour-long “fanmeeting” Mwave holds. The user icons of each user are put in mosaics to track how many CDs were sold. As a perk of M&G, the artists choose a number of fans from the mosaics & those fans are gifted with some kind of freebie. All products, including gifts, are packaged carefully in bubble wrap. Although none of the CDs will come with promo posters, I highly recommend their autographed specials. The M&G items can only be beat by actually going to a fan event yourself. You will wait upwards of a month for your M&G specials so you best be patient. They only accept Paypal for those outside of Korea.
This is where I bought most of my J-pop CDs before I lived in Japan and I recommend this site for Japanese press of your favorite K-pop. This is a major online retailer in Japan and is very trustworthy. Shipping is, as expected, what many people worry about but they have many options to choose from and also accept Paypal along with credit. Any freebies will be mentioned in the product description, but order fast if you want first-press goods. This is where I will order any Japanese version singles (Amazon Japan is an alternative). I am an affiliate for this site.
I’ve purchased a lot from this site in the past due to ease of orders and free shipping over $25. Prices are higher on average than any other site on this list because they are based in China. Sometime in the past couple of years, they have offered signed K-pop albums. If you’re looking for first press, make sure to read the descriptions to assure availability. It seems that shipping time has increased over the years so this site is a last resort if other places don’t have stock or better prices.
SUPERJUNIORSHOP / KStarGoods
This was one of the first places I ever ordered k-pop from because their prices are consistently the cheapest of any online shop I’ve seen. The only problem with the shop is that they seem to have a problem with the inventory coding on their website. Even if the item is out of stock, you can add it to your shopping cart. The site/staff will not tell you if the items are OOS, so you will have to email them if your order takes longer than expected to ship. In the case there’s a problem with their emails, you can also comment on their Facebook page because there is a staffer who checks inquiries there. Frustrations regarding OOS items and delayed shipping aside, their customer service is very good. When my order had OOS items, I asked them to just send what was available and refund what wasn’t. In the case they forget to refund you, contact them again. I received a refund for the OOS item as well as a portion of the shipping fee. Items are shipped in bubble wrap. Any posters that come with CDs are an extra charge of $1.50 folded or $4 tubed (shipping is extra). I actually got freebies with my order (they will be related to what you bought) so that was really a pleasant surprise. This probably won’t be my first choice to purchase from in the future but they do have really great deals.
This site offers free posters for a limited time with their albums (shipping is a separate fee). For fans who collect posters (like I do), this is the way to go. They only come tubed. KpopMart also has sporadic site sales. A really impressive customer service thing is the fact that along with your shipment notice, they will send you photos of your packages. One will be the packages themselves, and another will be a closeup of the address/custom label.
I love this shop. They don’t have the cheapest prices but they have a very interesting mix of items on their site. Along with albums, they also sell clothing and make-up. I have also gotten samples with orders (sometimes, not always). They will also include their own fanmade cards with CD orders. Recently stocked albums have the option of adding a promo poster for a price.
What I really like this shop for is the fansite photo books. Most fansites only offer EMS shipping, so if I can’t find bulk orders, I hope that KpopTown will carry the fansite books. Sometimes, the price is cheaper than the base price that the fansites set them as. Aside from some idol shops in Shin-Okubo, this site is the only major seller that I’ve seen fanbooks as part of the stock. It appears that the site has removed all fansite books from their stock. I don’t know if this is temporary or a glitch but I’m glad I already ordered the books I wanted.