When you buy light novel and manga raws, do you prefer buying them as physical books, or ebooks?



  • When buying light novel and manga raws, do you prefer physical copies, or ebooks? Physical copies have obviously a much better quality than ebooks, but ebooks are not so expensive and don’t take much space and if you just want to read the books (if you can), that would be enough, wouldn’t you agree?
    I’m a bit in conflict, because there are two novel series whose raws I totally want to have (also the manga), but they both have so many volumes and are really expensive, so I’m thinking that I better should buy the ebooks, but the quality is utter bullshit and in the novels I often have the feeling, something is missing, like the afterword for example...


  • Premium Member

    I'll be lazy and copy my response from your raw thread:

    I no longer buy any paper books and am slowly getting rid of the stacks of boxes full of books that I already own.

    I understand the collecting impulse, but I've rejected it as using up too much space :)

    ... and add that for JNC books the Premium digital editions sometimes include extra content, and it's very good short story content in the case of Realist Hero.


  • Premium Member

    In general I go for physicals for the reselling potential. I find I can have a net cost a lot lower than buying ebooks which have no resale value that way. For some series, if I have a backlog or no time to read anything at the moment, I'll keep an eye out for good deals on used copies of individual volumes and slowly piece together a set that way. Sometimes I can then sell that set once I'm done with it for more than I paid for it in total, although selling fees will even it out.

    If I had more money and space I'd probably go with physicals too and then just not resell any series I liked. I like physical books and that way I could lend out series to any friends I might make with similar interests.

    JNC mixes things up with the premium bonuses and prepubs, though; if I liked something enough to buy it after reading the prepubs I'd probably go with the ebook because of the premium bonuses, although I'd also like to buy physicals sometime if I had the money and space to do both.



  • Physical copy simply for collection reasons and also resell value in case I'm running out of space plus no longer interested with said series



  • I tend to buy physical copies of new releases because:

    • They don't have a simultaneous e-book release, or
    • They are a series I started buying physical versions of and want to be consistent, or
    • I don't want to feel like I'm getting raked over the coals on shipping so I pad out my order for one of the above with anything else that looks interesting

    But when it comes to old books, unless I happen to be in Japan and can hit up a BookOff, e-book is the way to go most of the time. E-books can go on sale for below MSRP while non-used physical books cannot, and the older something is the harder it is to even get a physical copy.



  • Digital only.
    Takes too much space.


  • Premium Member

    currently digital only,

    still have around 120+ books from just about 10-15 series and even just that gets annoying to move around if needed and would need a very very large bookcase or room if i kept going physical.
    those books were gotten before i found JNC and saw just how much easier it is to get Digital so if id kept buying physical the past 2-3 years id likely have 300+ LNs from even more series by now.

    Digital at the very least offers the possibility to read books anywhere whereas Physical you cant really be carrying around all the time.

    as a note, if JNC did full physical instead of digital, thats already 160-180 or so books id need space for.



  • Raw manga & LN?

    If it's solely for collection purpose. Then whichever suits you.

    But if you plan to study Japanese and read it later eventually then absolutely go for digital.

    • for digital you can find ways to strip DRM> get epub files > read in web browser with dictionary pop-up add on whenever you hover over Japanese text. It's a must.

    • of course, you don't need dictionary pop up add on if your Japanese is really really good. And by that, I meant the already got JLPT1, studied over 4 years+, and knew over 20000 passive vocabulary level of good. In that case physical is fine.



  • I was a "physical only" kind of person, but my bookshelves are kind of overflowing...

    Also, since I'm moving to Japan this summer, I didn't want to have to think about the extra weight carrying books. So I recently bought a e-reader second-hand, and am now trying to transfer over to that instead.

    (e-books are much more wallet-friendly too)



  • @santi-brathana I like to physically be able to draw a line for all my new vocabs, and since I'm going to transfer it over to flashcards (physical) later on, why not just do everything on paper (minus checking the word)



  • @lixaxy said in When you buy light novel and manga raws, do you prefer buying them as physical books, or ebooks?:

    (e-books are much more wallet-friendly too)

    Lol, wait until you discover Japanese used book stores.



  • @hosikuzu Yeah, I know. It's outrageous how cheap it is in those stores. That's actually the main reason my bookshelves are overflowing. I've even have to stow away most of it in a drawer under my bed, because the shelf couldn't take the weight.

    But when I mean that e-books are cheaper, I refered to English light novels. For eg. a volume from J-Novel Club costs around 13-14$ in physical form, but only 7$ in digital. Other labels don't have as big of a price gap, but it still exists.


  • Premium Member

    @lixaxy said in When you buy light novel and manga raws, do you prefer buying them as physical books, or ebooks?:

    @santi-brathana I like to physically be able to draw a line for all my new vocabs, and since I'm going to transfer it over to flashcards (physical) later on, why not just do everything on paper (minus checking the word)

    If you're moving to Japan, you'll find out pretty quickly that digital is A LOT easier to read on the trains. My first time, I hadn't became accustomed to digital, and wouldn't have considered it. Nothing like trying to turn a page when you can't move your arms, or having to hold the book so close to your face that you can't focus your eyes.

    As for flashcards, and writing, as you get more and more vocabulary built up, you'll find that written flashcards are difficult to sort through for older words/phrases you want to review. Unless you REALLY stay on top of it, you'll eventually find that words that you "know you knew" are recognizable when heard, but difficult to recall when you need to say them. I would advise using one of the digital flashcard programs as the trend seems to be toward SRS and you'll continue to have to recall the words/phrases/kanji for the long term without having to constantly review words like あの when trying to review the kanji for 一生懸命英.

    As for writing, there is no better kanji review than writing out the characters/words. The action itself will help you remember them. However, writing them only once to go on a flashcard isn't going to help much beyond a couple of days. Repetition is going to be more important for long term retention as you're going have to recall the order of the characters, and in a lot of cases which character is associated with which word in the case of those which sound more similar.

    I realize that I've written this as though you're a beginner, but it's kind of what I've gotten used to when trying to explain anything about the language. No harm intended. However, I thought the insight may be useful as it sounds like you're still developing a personalized pattern for studying the language.


  • Premium Member

    Forgot to add my own opinion on the original question. It depends. If looking for something I'm going to read when traveling/commuting, or if I only want to try a series, I'll go with digital. However, I'm still a fan of the look of shelves with my collection displayed. If it's a series which I'm already hooked on, I prefer to have physical copies with the volumes displayed.

    There's also a question of availability. Especially for series which have already been completed, physical copies aren't always readily available. If in Tokyo, a trip to Mandarake will turn up a lot of series, but not necessarily complete, and may take time to collect missing volumes. One of the reasons I check Book Off collections regularly for manga. A lot of series/volumes are difficult to find in physical format, but digital isn't limited by volumes in inventory.


  • Premium Member

    @santi-brathana said in When you buy light novel and manga raws, do you prefer buying them as physical books, or ebooks?:

    Raw manga & LN?

    If it's solely for collection purpose. Then whichever suits you.

    But if you plan to study Japanese and read it later eventually then absolutely go for digital.

    • for digital you can find ways to strip DRM> get epub files > read in web browser with dictionary pop-up add on whenever you hover over Japanese text. It's a must.

    • of course, you don't need dictionary pop up add on if your Japanese is really really good. And by that, I meant the already got JLPT1, studied over 4 years+, and knew over 20000 passive vocabulary level of good. In that case physical is fine.

    yeah, if it's a Japanese novel then I'll go digital for that reason. still physical for the manga like for everything in English since you can't use the lookup feature then that's the main advantage of digital to me.

    @pleco_breeder said in When you buy light novel and manga raws, do you prefer buying them as physical books, or ebooks?:

    Forgot to add my own opinion on the original question. It depends. If looking for something I'm going to read when traveling/commuting, or if I only want to try a series, I'll go with digital. However, I'm still a fan of the look of shelves with my collection displayed. If it's a series which I'm already hooked on, I prefer to have physical copies with the volumes displayed.

    There's also a question of availability. Especially for series which have already been completed, physical copies aren't always readily available. If in Tokyo, a trip to Mandarake will turn up a lot of series, but not necessarily complete, and may take time to collect missing volumes. One of the reasons I check Book Off collections regularly for manga. A lot of series/volumes are difficult to find in physical format, but digital isn't limited by volumes in inventory.

    if you're in Japan and in a place you can have something mailed to you then you should check Amazon Japan. You can often get better deals on full sets than even Bookoff, and you're more likely to even find a full set that way.



  • @pleco_breeder Over the years I've tried a bunch of different methods for learning Japanese, and think I've found a way that is functional for me. Like you said, the best way to learn vocab is the SRS, which I've also based my system on, but manually. Doing it manually does make it harder to study on the go, but manually writing flashcards and then physically putting them aside makes me feel like I've progressed in another sense that for eg. Anki would.

    I also have a similar system for learning kanji, but also includes using the kanji in words, as well as writing them multiple times for every time I review them.

    I've been studying Japanese for almost 6 years, but I can still see my system lacking. Therefore, I'm really thankful for your input.



  • For convenience sake, Ebooks.

    But as a reader, there's something nostalgic about the feeling of a book in your hands. Not to the point which I would tear the pages out and eat them, but I do feel a sense of accomplishment when I can see my collection.


  • Premium Member

    If I'm buying raw volumes, I'm buying them as a collector so they're always physical. The only time I buy digital in fact is from J-NC directly cause I don't believe in DRM.


  • Premium Member

    @lixaxy Giving an amount of time isn't really a good indicator of level. I had been studying for about 5 years when I moved to Tokyo and realized very fast that my level was lacking because of the nuance of the vocabulary. If learning only from textbook or any form of guided format, most things are taught in a way which makes you understandable, but not using everyday language. I like to use the English word "work" for this example because Japanese have multiple words for the same English word. In textbook/guided Japanese, you'll usually see 働く for the verb form, and 仕事 for the noun form. Therefore, it is technically correct to say 仕事に行っている, but actual Japanese are more likely to say 出勤する. While either will be understood, and literally mean the same thing, guided lessons will ignore the latter.

    Before the move, I was often told by Japanese that they understood what I was saying, but "you talk like a preschool kid". It took moving to Japan and seeing actual Japanese spoken to realize what they were talking about. While this is technically still vocabulary, I think the real advantage to SRS is getting used to using the actual words in context repeatedly enough to get a feel for when to use which form. Vocabulary lists for things like JLPT N1 or EJU will get you to the point of being able to explain what's going on, as in the first sentence, but completely ignore most of the nuance words. In my case, it took a rather lengthy conversation of the word 解れない (which I just had to copy/paste the kanji from an online dictionary for because my IME doesn't want to recognize it) in order to understand this point. As an aside, the internet seems to have this one backwards, so I wouldn't trust google or tanoshiijapanese if you want to add it for vocab. Both listed it as unravel/fray, and it's actually the inability to do so.

    Conjugations mess up on the internet A LOT. Japanese to English learning sites are just as bad. Most of those learners are using a site called weblio for translation sentences/context, and a lot of those don't even make it to mentioning a sentence subject let alone get quantities or verb tenses correct.

    Once again, I hope this can be seen as helpful advice, but I can't stress understanding context enough if you really want t be able to read or speak at a reasonable level. My own level, even after having already studied for 5 years, took off rather quickly after realizing this. I'll also apologize to anyone reading this with interest for not including hiragana or romaji readings, but was short on time when I started the post.


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