Print manga or digital manga? It’s the same old debate that’s been going on for quite a long time now, and it seems to this day the former has still got more support as a legal reading medium. I, too, personally prefer print books over digital ones. Still, that is not to say one is better than the other.

Let us examine the pros and cons of each type.

B3

Print manga:

Your traditional reading, nothing new about it.

Plus:

+ You own an actual copy, and nothing can beat that feeling of having a real book in your hands. It’s just… irreplaceable.

+ Actual books certainly make your collection enviable. Isn’t having a bookshelf full of manga volumes in your house something worth drooling for? Whenever I look at my manga bookshelf, honestly, I just want to hug it.

Nothing beats this!

+ It’s actually fun to go to the bookstore and get the book yourself. I mean, that feeling when you look at the manga on the shelves at the store, run through them all, then pick one (or more,) while there may be some other manga fans around, it’s a warm feeling.

+ You can bring your books and read them anywhere, in any corner. Wifi and internet are not needed.

Minus:

– Actual books take up space. If you buy print manga regularly, at some point, you will find yourself running out of space in your room, and dealing with it is quite a pain. Sure, you always have the option to sell or discard those books, but isn’t it heart-breaking to part with your own collection?

– Those very books may be a bit heavy to carry around, and usually you can’t bring along more than 4 or 5 books.

– I know I’m kinda contradicting what I’ve said, but… it takes some time and effort to go to the bookstore. Sometimes a volume isn’t available in a bookstore, and you have to get to another one. All that travelling can be tiring.

– Real books can become worn and ragged for various reasons: long-time use, shelving, poor preservation, etc.

– Print manga can be expensive. The other day I bought a book for $CDN14.99, and it wasn’t even that thick…

Digital manga:

Though it’s been around for quite some time now, it’s still fairly new compared to print manga.

Plus:

+ Digital volumes are cheaper than print ones. Let’s take, say, Shokugeki no Soma, as an example: The print version retails for $US9.99 ($CDN 12.99), while the digital one is only $US6.99 on Viz store. That’s a lot cheaper!

B1

+ You don’t have to go anywhere to buy manga. As long as there’s internet, every transaction is done quickly and neatly in the palm of your hand with a few touches of the finger. That saves you all the time and effort of travelling, doesn’t it?

+ Enjoy high-quality manga on your device. Looking at the official digital releases can give you eyegasm. That’s all I can say about it. Some releases even have special functions. For instance, the manga on Crunchyroll have the reading guide function, which guides you through the manga panel by panel, it’s like watching a slow-motion animation. There you go, an interesting way to ready manga with a totally different feel!

+ Digital manga don’t take up real-life space. That’s right, you don’t have to sweat over running out of space to store your manga volumes anymore, because the world of manga is right inside your small device. With services like Amazon Kindle providing cloud storage, you don’t even have to worry about virtual space, either.

+ Digital manga aren’t heavy (as long as your device isn’t.) Wherever there’s wifi, your entire digital colletion is right with you. Pick as many as you’d like, read as much as you’d like (until the battery dies…)

+ Digital manga are always in perfect condition. There’s never a worn book. Hooray!

Minus:

– The wonderful feeling of holding a real book isn’t there. That’s for certain.

– The same goes for having a real book collection to be proud of.

– Digital release platforms aren’t that developed yet, and it may not be sufficient to satisfy your hobby. Viz Media is powerful enough to publish both print and digital manga simultaneously, but not all companies are as strong as it is. The likes of Seven Seas Entertainment and Yen Press still have very limited digital collections.

– If only there were a platform that would “unify” all manga releases… The publishers put their digital manga on various platforms, like Amazon Kindle, Nook, or their own online stores. While it’s become easier to get access to those digital versions, a platform may not carry all the releases. It’s kinda inconvenient having to navigate across different platforms to find your own collection.

– Unless you store your manga on your devide (which takes up storage,) if there’s no internet, there’s no manga.

Both media have positive and negative things about them, but in any case, they are there to cater to your manga needs. It depends on what you view as needs that you pick one over the other. You can even pick both (like, 50% print, 50% digital.)

Some say manga reading is changing, and digital manga are gradually replacing print ones. That may be true, but considering the state of digital manga publishing right now, I say it may take a while for it to substantially overtake print manga.

For now, embrace your real books in one arm, and hug your tablet with the other!

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About Kuro Ansokubi

Anime and manga fan. Collects manga volumes. Occasionally writes music. Loves the romance-comedy combo.

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