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! 🙂

Library Wars (Toshokan Sensou) e-manga

I saw on ebookjapan’s website that they have Library Wars now! Yay! Only volumes 1 – 3 are available for now. I’m excited even though I bought the English-version, lol. Although, if the volumes come out faster than the English licensed ones, I might have to switch back to the Japanese version… headache and all (I got a headache from reading the first volume in Japanese and having to look up all the unknown words and kanji). They also have Ayakashi Hisen now (volumes 1 – 2). I already bought volumes 1 – 3 via Sokuyumi though, so I will just stick with that. It’s nice to see a lot of manga being added to ebookjapan. It was a little slow for awhile, but their offerings seemed to have increased again. They release their new e-manga every Friday.

More random stuff and Aoharaido – Ch 17 spoiler

I found out more info about the new bk1 – honto combined site… the new online store will ship outside of Japan, but only to customers who previously ordered from bk1. Apparently they are not accepting new international customers. Wow, that’s a bit surprising. I hope that will change in the future and they will open it up to new customers, and not the other way where they eventually stop shipping overseas completely. Will keep a lookout for any updates.

Kiss Yori mo Hayaku is ending in the August issue of LaLa, out on June 24. Tanaka-sensei tweeted about it the other day.

Received the Japanese raws for Aoharaido – Chapter 17… squee! lol. And yes, the gender of Kou’s friend is ambiguous… Kou refers to that person as his classmate (doukyuusei) and that person (soitsu and aitsu). Soitsu and aitsu are very informal terms and Kou did say that he and that person got pretty close after spending time at the hospital together (the person’s father was in the hospital during the same time as Kou’s mother). Hopefully we find out soon if Kou’s friend is a girl or boy… Sakisaka-sensei doesn’t normally keep us in suspense for too long. If the friend is a girl, then I can see the manga going on for awhile… Strobe Edge was 10 volumes and Aoharaido volume 4 just came out in April. Maybe Kou and Futaba will finally go together to that festival as a couple on their third attempt… that will be at least another 10-11 months of angst, lol. On a side note, I’m starting to like Touma-kun more… he’s so aware of his feelings for Futaba, unlike Kou who’s unsure and not very honest.

Hana to Yume manga on ebookjapan

I just saw on the ebookjapan site that they now have several Hana to Yume titles, yay! I’m glad that they’re releasing more e-manga. Here are some of the series that have been added:

  • Kiss Yori mo Hayaku
  • Hanazakari no Kimitachi e
  • Ouran Koukou Host Club
  • Kaichou wa Maid-sama
  • Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou

Another option for buying e-manga

I buy my e-manga from ebookjapan and have been very happy with them… lots of manga and great customer service. But I started noticing that they’re not getting recent works from a few of the publishers… not sure if it’s because the publishers have started offering e-manga on their own?

I’ve been wanting to buy some of the manga from Sho-Comi, so I registered at the Sokuyomi site. It took awhile to figure out how to make a purchase, but I finally did it! I will post an explanation under the Stores section soon. The prices are cheaper than ebookjapan’s prices but there’s a time limit of 180 days to read the manga and they only offer the ability to read via Android and PC viewers. In contrast, there is no time limit for manga purchased at ebookjapan and they can be read on more devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, PC). Still I’m happy that to have found another way to purchase e-manga. 🙂