2000 points e-book campaign for honto newcomers

I found this awesome campaign when I checked out honto’s web site today! For anyone who hasn’t purchased an e-book through honto yet, they are running the following campaign this week only:

banner_2000points_m

  • Spend 300 – 499 yen and get 300 points
  • Spend 500 – 999 yen and get 500 points
  • Spend at least 1000 yen and get a whopping 2000 points!

2000 points is unheard of! When I first bought from honto, I think I got 500 points for spending at least 1000 yen and I thought that was a great deal, lol. Points are the same as cash when you use them, so 2000 points is like getting 2000 yen to spend. Please note that most points usually expire the end of the following month, so if you are awarded points in September, you normally have until the end of October to use them or lose them. Here’s an example of how honto’s points and coupons work:
honto order

This is my e-book order today:

  • Total price before coupons/points: 2236 yen for 7 books
  • 30% off coupon for comics: (640 yen)
  • Points used: (432 yen)
  • Final total price: 1164 yen
  • Points earned for order: 100 points

As you can see, I’m only paying around half (1164 yen) of the total price of 2236 yen and I also earned 100 points to use by the end of September. 🙂

Registering at honto is a little tricky, so you can read how to sign up here: Without Restraints. As for reading the e-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, I believe 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.

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Wow… 50% Off Coupon at honto

honto is really pushing the digital books coupons lately… or maybe it’s because I buy so many of them, lol 😉 Anyway, I used a 30% off coupon on digital comics the other day, and today I received a 50% off coupon on all digital comics, books, and magazines! Yay! It’s only good for four days though, through 11:59 PM on June 28th, Japan time.

Check out this coupon!

Check out this coupon!

So, hurry and check your email, if you are a regular honto customer… you don’t want to miss out on this special deal! 50% off is a rare thing.

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! 🙂

Manga order from honto

honto order July 2012Received my first order from honto without any problems, yay! It arrived on Friday, about 5.5 weeks since it shipped. That’s close to the average time it seems to take to ship the order from Japan to my place (using surface mail, the slowest and cheapest method). Previous orders from bk1 took around 6 weeks and one order took 2 months. According to the Japan postal service website, surface mail to the U.S. can take anywhere from 1 – 3 months, so I’m happy with 6 weeks.

I ordered 8 books and the cost of the shipping was 1080 yen, which is around $14… very reasonable for 8 books. If the exchange rate was different, I would probably switch to a faster method, but I just don’t want to pay that much for shipping right now. I like the way honto packs the books, too. Very neat with padding around all sides, so the books aren’t damaged during transit.

Here’s my stash of books that I received: Strobe Edge (vol 9 & 10), Aoharaido (vol 1), Chitose, etc. (vol 4), Love So Life (vol 9), Ishakoi (vol 3), Hakuouki anthology, and Hakuouki light novel (vol 1). Now I need to find more time to read, lol.

bk1-honto registration for international customers

I posted earlier that new overseas (not Japan) shoppers can’t purchase items from the merged bk1-honto site, but it looks like you can. Yay! The step-by-step registration process is detailed here. Happy shopping! 🙂

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.

bk1 – honto site is up!

The newly combined bk1-honto site is up and running as of today. I signed in with my bk1 user info and everything transferred over fine… order history, bk1 points earned, save for later. The new store shows the same overseas shipping options as bk1 did, so it looks like I can continue to order from them using the cheapest method, yay! The shipping costs aren’t listed for the two cheapest options yet, so I hope they update it soon. I plan to place my first order in early June.

The e-bookstore portion seems to offer a decent variety of books, magazines, and manga. Their manga prices are the same as ebookjapan, but there is a one year time limit for reading. Also, their selection of e-manga is about the same as ebookjapan, so I’m going to stick with ebookjapan for e-manga for now.

Update: I’ve been browsing through the e-manga area and they actually offer a lot of different josei manga compared to ebookjapan. However, I couldn’t download a sample and after going through the Help section, I discovered that the e-bookstore is only available in Japan.

Changes to bk1 site

I received an email last week about upcoming changes to the bk1 site. The online bookstore is going to merge with another site, honto, in May. The honto online store currently offers electronic books, manga, and magazines (similar to ebookjapan). I haven’t purchased any e-manga from honto, probably because they don’t seem to offer anything different from ebookjapan… the manga prices are pretty much the same but there’s a time limit of 365 days to view the manga. From what I can tell, it looks like the newly merged store which will still use the name, honto, will offer both electronic and paper versions and they will still ship overseas. Right now I’m kind of feeling meh about the whole thing… I know that change is usually a good thing, but I’ve been really happy with the service from bk1. Hopefully the merged store will be just as reliable and easy to order from. I’m thinking of putting my May order in early through bk1 to squeeze in one more order before the change, and then wait until early June to start ordering from honto. btw, I received another order (my fifth one, lol) from bk1 yesterday, yay! Strobe Edge (2 volumes), Tora to Ookami (2 volumes), Love So Life (2 volumes) , Tonari no Koigataki, and Vampire Knight Fan Book. 🙂