Best Online Store for Manga (and other reading material)

Here’s the tl;dr version:

  • Best online store for paper and digital manga: honto
  • Several shipping options available.
  • Site offers plenty of coupons, discounts, and points which cuts down the cost of your order, more for digital books but they do offer promotions for paper books as well.
  • Helpful advice for registering at honto: Without Restraints
  • Digital readers are available for PC, iPhone/iPad, and Android devices; however you need to register at iTunes Japan or Google Play Japan to install their digital reader.

Here’s my detailed post for anyone interested in the long version:

This is obviously just my personal opinion, but I highly recommend honto for buying both print and digital versions of manga, light novels, magazines, and other books. I’ve been a customer for almost three years now and have placed over 40 orders (printed materials)… yes, that’s slightly over one order per month, lol. It’s always a good day when my order arrives each month. 😉 Out of the 40+ orders that I’ve placed, only one got mixed up in the mail and I got a full refund when it was returned to honto.

My most recent honto order.

The honto site has an extensive variety of manga, light novels, and magazines, both print and digital. Not everything is available digitally, but it seems like the trend towards digital is starting to catch on. Several shoujo and josei manga magazines, including Dessert, Bessatsu Friend, Be Love, Aria, and Kiss are now available in digital, yay! The digital version of Nakayoshi starts in June.

There are several different shipping options available, so you are able to weigh the shipping cost vs. the delivery time and decide which option works best for you. I started off with the cheapest option, shipping by boat, but I now use SAL instead. It’s about double the shipping cost, but a lot faster than by boat, which took around 6 – 8 weeks to arrive. On average, I pay around 1200 – 1400 yen to ship 6 – 7 manga/light novels and my order usually arrives in 10 – 14 days (I live in the United States).

I buy a lot of digital books as well… latest count is 539 books, lol. Well, some of them are free, promo versions, so the count is probably closer to 450. Besides saving on shipping costs, the digital books are usually cheaper than the same paper version and honto has so many discounts, coupons, and points tied to digital orders which can really bring the price down. For instance, several months ago, they ran a 99 yen special on light novels (digital), so I ended up buying over 20 books for the cost of less than $18. Right now, they are running a Golden Week special, where you can earn 20x the points each day from May 1 – 7 (different category of books is selected every day). If you purchased books on at least three different days, you will get another coupon for 50x the points to use later in the month. Normally, it’s 1 point for every 100 yen, so 50x the points adds up! 🙂 You can use the points you earn as “cash”… if your total order is 2500 yen and you have 800 points, you can deduct that from the total amount to equal 1700 yen. So what are you waiting for? lol

I heard that it can be tricky to register at honto, because you need a Japan address. I was a former bk1 customer, so when bk1 and honto merged, my account info carried over. Fortunately, there is a very helpful guide on how to sign up at honto, which can be found here: Without Restraints.

As for reading the digital books, there are readers available for PC, iPhone/iPad, and Android devices. Installing the PC version is a no-brainer, just download from their site and follow the installation instructions. Unfortunately for iPhone/iPad and Android devices, the digital reader is only available for download in their Japan stores. However, there are ways around that! For iPhone/iPad, you need to set up an iTunes Japan account… you can do that by signing up with a different email address from your regular iTunes account. I forgot the exact instructions, but if you Google how to set up another iTunes account, there is plenty of helpful advice available. For Android devices, I downloaded the TunnelBear app (easy-to-use VPN client) to access the Google Play Japan store.

Happy reading! 🙂

L-DK Chapter 41 Spoilers

Here is the summary spoiler for L-DK Chapter 41. To read it, please click and highlight the text below. This summary comes from a wonderful Japanese blog that I read… here’s the link to the original Japanese spoiler: Chapter 41. The blog owner’s posts are so fun to read with a lot of details and comments. 🙂

Chapter 41

Aoi doesn’t know what to say after Kaede finds the photo booth picture. Kaede pleads with Aoi not to say anything to Haru. Kaede feels that if Haru finds out, then she will close off her feelings again. Kaede also asks Aoi not to tell anyone else either until Haru has a chance to convey her feelings and move on. At school, it’s almost time for the mid-semester exams, so Kaede proposes that they have a study group at Yuudai’s house. Back at Aoi and Shuusei’s place, Aoi, thinking about Kaede’s words, isn’t her usual happy self and Shuusei seems concerned. However, they don’t talk about what’s bothering her and Shuusei goes off to take a bath. When he’s done, he sees Aoi sleeping on her side. Lying next to Aoi, Shuusei glances at her lips and neck. He wants to touch her and hold her, but the “no sexual relations under graduation” promise to her father keeps him in check. At Yuudai’s house, Aoi still seems unhappy. Suddenly, someone hugs her from behind, and it’s… Shouta, Yuudai’s younger brother. Apparently Shouta still likes Aoi (from Volume 2). While the guys are outside goofing around, the girls are discussing love. When Kaede blurts out, “Even though you guys went as far as kissing?”, regarding Haru and Shuusei’s relationship, Aoi is frozen in shock. Aoi leaves her seat, and Shouta goes to talk with her. He seems anxious about her relationship with Shuusei. Aoi ends up telling Shouta about their relationship, just as Shuusei appears. Shouta assures them that he won’t say anything but warns Shuusei that feelings could change if he doesn’t hold on to her securely. Shuusei, seeing Shouta hugging Aoi and hearing those words, gets jealous and tells Aoi to come over to him. Exhausted, Aoi is lying down, resting by herself. She wants to believe Shuusei when he told her that he and Haru are just friends, but Haru didn’t deny Kaede’s comment about the kiss. During the time when Aoi, Kaede, Yuudai, and another friend are sleeping, Haru and Shuusei are gone. So where did they go? And Shouta isn’t around either?

L-DK Chapter 40 Spoilers

Here is the summary spoiler for L-DK Chapter 40. To read it, please click and highlight the text below. This summary comes from a wonderful Japanese blog that I read… here’s the link to the original Japanese spoiler: Chapter 40. The blog owner’s posts are so fun to read with a lot of details and comments. 🙂

Chapter 40

Aoi and Shuusei return back to their apartment and Aoi is concerned about Shuusei and Haru. Shuusei asks Aoi if there’s something bothering her but she doesn’t answer so he starts tickling her. She finally tells him that she’s worried about Haru. Shuusei tells her that Haru is just a friend. He’s glad that Aoi has become friendly with Haru and the others and thinks that everyone being in the same class and having fun, including Aoi, will be a good thing. During lunchtime at school, Kaede tries to get Haru to admit that she still likes Shuusei in front of Aoi, but Haru won’t admit it. Back at the apartment, Aoi receives a call from Kaede. Apparently she’s on her way over to Aoi’s place and Haru is with her! Luckily, Shuusei is at his part-time job so he’s not there, but Aoi needs to send him a text and let him know. Kaede checks out the place and both she and Haru even see the “no sexual relations until graduation” sign, lol. Shuusei returns back home but Aoi is able to gesture at him to leave before he says anything. Hearing a noise in the entrance, Kaede and Haru go to investigate but Aoi and Shuusei somehow evade them and end up in the bathroom(?). He tells her that they probably don’t need to hide their relationship from Haru and Kaede but Aoi’s not sure because of Haru’s feelings towards Shuusei. Shuusei then starts kissing Aoi and when Kaede calls her name, Aoi has trouble answering, lol. Haru finally confesses to Aoi that she likes Shuusei and apologizes for lying about it. Aoi tries to tell Haru about her relationship with Shuusei, but Kaede interrupts them saying that Haru needs to go home because her brother is waiting. After Haru is gone, Kaede asks Aoi if she’s going out with Shuusei and if they’re living together.

Well, I’m definitely relieved that Aoi and Shuusei talked about her concerns and he reassured her! Still worried about Kaede and what she plans to do though…

L-DK Chapter 39 Spoilers

Here is the summary spoiler for L-DK Chapter 39. To read it, please click and highlight the text below. This summary is compiled from a couple of Japanese blogs that I read… they have a lot of detail and comments but no pictures.

Chapter 39

Picking up from the last chapter at Kaede’s house, it seems that she definitely suspects something is going on between Aoi and Shuusei and wonders what Haru should do. Haru hasn’t told Kaede that she likes Shuusei though. At Aoi and Shuusei’s apartment, Aoi is happily getting ready to go over to Haru’s house with Kaede. Shuusei seems happy, too, as he touches Aoi’s hair and keeps looking at her. When Aoi and Haru go to the store to pick up ingredients, Kaede makes a phone call. At the store, Aoi and Haru are checking out the sales and then Aoi and some older guy bump into each other. The guy touches Aoi’s butt and Aoi, with Haru’s help, gets back at him. Aoi and Haru laugh about it on the way back. When they arrive at the house, Shuusei and Yuudai are there. Kaede invited them over, maybe to see how Aoi will react? They look through Haru’s junior high yearbook and Kaede says that she wants to see Haru and Shuusei do a 1-on-1 basketball challenge. Haru and Shuusei seems to be having a good time with their game, while Aoi worries that Haru knows more about Shuusei’s past than she does. Kaede continues to observe Aoi. As Haru goes to steal the ball, she starts to fall down but Shuusei grabs and stops her. He then tells her that he feels bad about something that happened in the past.He’s glad they’re in the same class and can talk again. Standing together like that, Haru seems to notice her feelings towards Shuusei. Aoi, seeing Haru like that, also thinks that Haru likes Shuusei. Then, Kaede says/thinks, “Haru suits him…”

Just a few quick thoughts about this development… personally, I’m getting a little tired of all the problems that keep cropping up to prevent Aoi and Shuusei from really enjoying their relationship. I realize that their living situation can’t be discovered, but why can’t other people know that they are in a relationship? I don’t mind the “no sexual relations until graduation” promise because I feel that it is appropriate for the storyline and adds some tension to the relationship. But this new development is just kind of annoying. I’m tired of conniving girls. Hopefully, Watanabe-sensei doesn’t drag this on for too long and Shuusei doesn’t do anything to make Aoi feel more uneasy. No matter what happens though, I will follow this manga to the end… I’ve already bought all the volumes through number 9 and I’m helping with the translation, but I’m hoping for more happiness instead of angst.

L-DK Chapter 38 Spoilers

Here is the summary spoiler for L-DK Chapter 38. To read it, please click and highlight the text below. This summary is compiled from a couple of Japanese blogs that I read… they have a lot of detail and comments but no pictures.

Chapter 38

Shuusei is playing in the school’s softball tournament and is popular as always. Aoi is worried about it but can’t say anything at school. After school, Aoi goes to meet up with Shuusei at a train station away from their school. However, Kaede happens to show up because the studio where she works as a magazine model is nearby. Kaede seems to be suspicious of Aoi and Shuusei’s relationship. Aoi apparently says she doesn’t really care about Shuusei, so Shuusei turns into his doS mode and ends up going on a date with Kaede with Aoi following them. At a store, when it appears that Kaede is going to kiss him, a dressed up gal grabs him and runs out of the store. Outside, Aoi removes her disguise and tells Shuusei that she’s been really looking forward to going on a “seifuku date” (date while wearing their school uniforms) with him. Acknowledging her feelings, he drops the doS mode and caresses her cheek. Shuusei wants to go with Aoi to take pictures in a photo booth. Shuusei apparently doesn’t understand the meaning of “chu-puri” (taking a photo while kissing). He hugs her from behind and tells her that sometimes he gets uneasy, thinking that she could disappear suddenly, so he wants to create a lot of memories with her. After taking pictures, they go to the park. Aoi climbs up the jungle gym and he makes remarks about her underwear. Then he climbs up the jungle gym and hugs her, saying that a “seifuku date” is nice. He tells her that he likes it when she smiles and they kiss. At Kaede’s house, she is wondering about Aoi and Shuusei while looking at pictures of Haru…

L-DK Chapter 37 Spoilers

Here is the summary spoiler for L-DK Chapter 37. To read it, please click and highlight the text below. This summary is compiled from a couple of Japanese blogs that I read… they have a lot of detail and comments but no pictures.

Chapter 37

It’s springtime, the start of a new school year! Aoi and Shuusei are in the same class for the first time. But Aoi’s friend, Moe, ends up in a different class. Aoi seems a little nervous about the changes. Shuusei still has a lot of fans at the school but there’s a girl named Haru who speaks candidly about him. Aoi, who doesn’t want their secret to be exposed, acts indifferently towards Shuusei and ends up making friends with Haru and another girl, Kaede. The other guys in the class seem to be jealous of Shuusei’s popularity, but Shuusei’s friend (Yuudai) shows up which helps alleviate the tense atmosphere. Apparently Shuusei gives Yuudai a big kiss in front of the whole class (really?). Yuudai proposes that they have a reunion and they go out bowling. Shuusei and Haru seem to know each other from being in the same basketball club in junior high. After bowling, they grab a bite to eat but somehow it ends up with Shuusei, Yuudai, Haru, and Kaede getting along well and Aoi feeling left out. So it turns out to be a depressing day for her… but then Shuusei sits down next to her and touches her hand under the table. He apologizes for not being able to talk to her easily. Yuudai almost catches them holding hands under the table, but Shuusei diverts his attention by mentioning a big breasted woman outside the window. Then Shuusei goes from shy to sadist mode and tells Aoi to please treat him well and he hopes that her breasts get bigger soon, lol. Aoi slaps Shuusei, taking everyone by surprise.

L-DK Drama CD

I finally listened to the L-DK drama CD over the weekend. It contains the audio for volume 1 of L-DK, along with a couple of extras (which I haven’t checked out yet, though). It’s my first time purchasing a drama CD and it was interesting, but I don’t think I will be buying any more for a couple of reasons… first, it’s kind of expensive, 1,980 yen, for just one volume (although the package did include the volume 8 book… which I already bought so now I have two volume 8s, lol… what am I going to do with the extra one?) and second, I prefer either reading the book or watching the anime, if available. I really haven’t had much use for audio books in the past… *shrug*

That aside, I did enjoy listening to the CD and it was kind of cool to envision the characters from the manga actually talking. The voice actor who plays Shuusei has a really nice voice… I especially liked it when he chuckles… very cute… ahem, I mean dreamy, lol. I was surprised at how fast the actors spoke, though. But since I followed along with the actual manga, it was easy to understand them… wow, I guess it’s been awhile since I heard Japanese being spoken naturally.

L-DK Chapter 36 Spoilers

Here is the summary spoiler for L-DK Chapter 36. To read it, please click and highlight the text below. This summary is compiled from a couple of Japanese blogs that I read… they have a lot of detail and comments but no pictures.

Chapter 36

After giving his approval, Aoi’s dad leaves their apartment. Aoi seems really happy and hugs Shuusei but Shuusei doesn’t respond… although later he hugs her from behind when she’s cooking. Their landlord stops by to ask them if they want to celebrate Wataru’s acceptance to the university (congrats!). It’s decided that they will all go to a hot springs spa, including Eri. At the spa, Wataru tells Aoi that he’s happy it worked out for her and Shuusei. However, it seems like Wataru wants to get a reaction out of Shuusei, so he gets a little close to Aoi and Shuusei is jealous. Later though, Wataru sees both Aoi and Shuusei together, smiling and looking happy, and it’s bittersweet for him… ohhh, poor Wataru. Of course the sleeping arrangements are girls in one room, guys in another, however Aoi and Shuusei end up in a room by themselves. Shuusei starts to slowly take off Aoi’s yukata (oh my!) but then stops. Even though they don’t continue Aoi still wants to kiss him, so he gives in. At the end, he goes back and sleeps with the other guys. The chapter ends with the bulletin board at school, showing the class roster… Aoi and Shuusei will be in the same class for their last year of high school!

L-DK Translation

I’m taking on the L-DK translation, yay! So excited!! I’ve been reading the manga on my own (bought volumes 1-7 and waiting for volume 8 to arrive), so I know the story pretty well. I even subscribed to Betsufure for a few months to read the current releases but stopped because it was too expensive. I’m a little behind on my reading… I think I left off on chapter 26 or 27, so I’m going to read the online translated chapters to get caught up with the story.