A dōjin shop (同人ショップ, dōjin shoppu) is a store that specializes in dōjinshi, self-published works. They exist mainly in Japan. Dōjin shops can be both brick and mortar as well as online stores. Some sell only second-hand dōjinshi, but particularly larger chain stores also sell new dōjinshi. Many dōjin shops also handle other kinds of dōjin works, such as dōjin music or dōjin games, or commercially published popular media such as manga and anime.
Dōjin shops are either independent or part of a larger dōjin shop chain. Dōjin shop chain outlets can be found in many large cities in Japan. They often cluster together in areas that are seen as gathering places for pop culture fans, such as Tokyo's Akihabara and Ikebukuro neighborhoods, or the Nipponbashi area of Osaka. Outlets can be very large and often have multiple floors dedicated to dōjinshi for different audiences, or to new and second-hand dōjinshi.
Together with dōjinshi conventions, dōjin shops are the main distribution outlets for dōjinshi. Dōjin shops fill a need that dōjinshi conventions cannot meet: making dōjinshi accessible to buyers who, for whatever reason, cannot attend conventions. While some regular bookstores very occasionally carry some dōjinshi, dōjinshi are usually excluded from regular book distribution channels. This is partly because they are per definition self-published, but also because most dōjinshi are fanworks, meaning that they exist in a legal gray area of Japanese copyright law. Tolerance towards dōjinshi on the part of copyright holders means that dōjin shops can continue to operate.
Some dōjin shops also have online stores through which they sell print dōjinshi, and sometimes also downloadable digital dōjinshi, dōjin games, and so on. Stores that sell digital dōjin works are called "download stores". Some download stores operate purely online and do not have a physical store attached to them. The largest of these is DLsite.com. Additionally, some fan creators operate their own online shops.
The first dōjin shops emerged in the early 1980s and were located mostly in Tokyo. As dōjinshi creation became more popular in the middle of the 1980s because of the boom in such new genres as lolicon and especially yaoi, dōjin shops expanded as well and began to sell not just second-hand dōjinshi but also new dōjinshi on commission. Some developed into large chain stores that continued to expand throughout the 1990s, along with the rising number of participants in Comiket and other dōjinshi conventions. The commercial impact of dōjin shops grew considerably, as expressed in the growing number of outlets and growing sales. The proceeds of K-BOOKS, for instance, grew from 350 million yen in 1995 to 3 billion and 950 million yen in 2008. The proceeds of Toranoana grew from 390 million yen in 1994 to 14 billion and 850 million yen in 2006.
When it comes to sale of second-hand dōjinshi, dōjin shops function exactly like regular used bookstores. Customers bring dōjinshi to the store, which buys some or all of them and then sells them again to new customers. Whether a store will buy old dōjinshi, and at what price, depends on a number of factors mostly related to the marketability of the dōjinshi: rating, fame of the dōjinshi circle that authored the work, fandom popularity, printing method, use of color, paper size, the newness of the dōjinshi, and its content. Many dōjin shops have sections of dōjinshi made by creators who are also professional manga artist, or who created dōjinshi before they became professional manga artist.
Sale of new dōjinshi in dōjin shops works mostly on a system of consignment sale. Circles (individuals or groups who create dōjinshi) apply for the store to carry their works on its shelves. Depending again on the marketability of the dōjinshi, the store may agree or decline. If it agrees, the circle and the store conclude an agreement that the store will exhibit the dōjinshi for a set amount of time. Proceeds go to the circle after the store has taken a commission.
Some dōjin shop chains include: