I am a person who really enjoys physical manga over digital manga. Maybe a bit too much. There’s just something magical about getting my hands on a brand new manga with those beautiful colourful covers. Running my hands along the printed pages and marvelling at them as they line my bookshelves. I think a lot of you are like me. There’s nothing wrong with reading manga on your tablet or phone but it’s just not the same.
Ok, so full disclosure, this list is mainly intended to convince me to read digital manga rather than any of you. I have been meaning to make the switch for a while now but I just can’t seem to shake the habit of collecting manga. So I’m writing down a list of all those good and wonderful reasons to switch to digital manga. Here we go!
A tiny phone or tablet can hold millions of titles. Countless libraries that can fit in your pocket. And you may think that doesn’t count for much but you’ll be surprised how quickly bookcases get filled once you get started. And even if you are willing and able to buy new furniture on a regular basis you need an actual place to put it.
I’m lucky enough to have a place that is more or less littered with bookcases so I still have some shelves I can give up for the cause. However, once I get filled up, I’m either going to have to move or build an extension. And that is quite a commitment.
This is tied with my previous point (and these are my weakest points by the way so don’t give up on this list), but there are times when you might want to read manga outside. Like on the bus or subway and yeah, you could just throw the manga in your bag, if you have the space for it. But well, you don’t always want to carry a bag.
But I do. I always carry a bag. A huge one at that. But I still hate risking my manga getting creased or the corners getting worn because it’s rumbling around with all my stuff. I bring my phone everywhere anyway and I keep it protected. The manga on there will never get damaged in any way!
3. Variety and Availability
This is a major reason to go digital and it should be enough all by itself. The fact is, there is more manga available in digital format. First of all, it means that thousands of volumes are at your fingertips at any given time, you don’t have to go out and buy them or wait weeks for them to get delivered. That is if you even find the physical manga. There are a few series that I really want to read but they had been out of print for a while I literally cannot find physical copies but I can get the full series digitally any time.
Moreover, there is so much manga out there but very little makes it to Quebec. This isn’t a big deal, the internet exists and I can order most things, as long as I know they exist. Browsing virtual manga makes it much easier to discover new titles or try things I would not have otherwise. Digital manga leads to much greater diversity in my reading habits.
I don’t know about where you are, but around here with taxes and all a single volume is usually between 12 and 20 bucks. So you know, something with 40 volumes or so will set you back between $500 and $800. That’s an impressive investment. Especially when you’re reading a dozen series at any given time. Digital copies are half price and Amazon often has free volumes 1 and 2 of popular manga for promotional purposes.
and just as an example, my digital shonen jump subscription gives me access to a huge archive of digital manga for 2 dollars a month. Technically, those mangas aren’t mine per se and if I cancel my subscription I will lose my access but in practice, it means that those 2 dollars give me more manga than I could afford. Crunchyroll also has a free library of manga with every subscription although the navigation isn’t all that great. In short, digital is so much cheaper than manga that it’s hardly worth comparing.
1. Early release
I’m an impatient girl s for me the number one reason that would push me to pick up the digital version over the physical one is publishing timelines. Digital releases are usually available a few months before the physical release and that’s when volumes are in place. For stuff I’m reading chapter by chapter in Jump, for example, there are series that are dozens of chapters in but have not yet been collected in volumes at all so I can read them occasionally years ahead if I go through digital.
In the end, when you are deeply involved in a manga and you get to the end of the last available chapter it’s torture no matter what. But if I can wait a week instead of a month, I’m gonna jump on it.
See all those great reasons? I really should be reading manga digitally. And I didn’t even get into sustainability and ecological reasons which are super important to me. What am I doing? Why did writing this post make me want to put in an order for a huge box of paper manga? What is wrong with me? Don’t answer that last one.
Instead, let me know if you read manga mostly digitally or paper and which do you prefer. Also why?