There are five Sailor Moon illustrations collections and one Sailor Moon Materials Collection that were published by Kodansha in the 1990s, and a Sailor Moon Illustration Collection: Vol. Infinity that was self-published in limited quantities by Takeuchi Naoko and sold only in Japan.
The Sailor Moon artbooks cost 2200 Yen when in print, and U.S. online sellers typically priced them between $35 USD to $55 USD. If you are very lucky you may find some second-hand on places like Ebay. Reseller Ratings has reviews of many online stores.
There were also licensed Chinese editions of the five artbooks, which were softcover unlike the hardcover Japanese editions. The Chinese books can be identified by the use of the simplified Chinese characters for Bishoujo Senshi (美少女战士) on the cover, while the Japanese editions feature the characters for Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon (美少女戦士セーラームーン). Note the differences between the fourth characters below: Japanese kanji (left) differs from the Chinese hanzi (right). The character by itself means war, but here it forms part of the compound word “soldier”. (Thanks to David Jao for this tip.)
From what I’ve been told, there is no difference in the contents of the licensed Chinese artbooks, aside from the liner notes being in Chinese and the paper being a little stiffer.
There are also bootleg artbooks from Taiwan and Korea which you should avoid as the quality is very poor. Here is an example of a bootleg artbook. Many look far more authentic than that one. Once again, note the rendering of the fourth character in traditional Chinese (戰) – it differs from both the Japanese (戦) and simplified Chinese (战). Taiwan (and Hong Kong) use traditional Chinese, and this is another effective way to spot a Taiwanese bootleg.
A detailed guide on spotting fakes has been written by Sailor Moon fan named Alexander.
See also The Pirate Anime FAQ, a guide to unlicensed anime and manga related goods.
This page was last updated September 2011.