Physical or digital mangas? Which one do you use?
Since we’re living in the digital age, many people don’t mind starting a digital manga collection.
The only thing lacking with that is the sense of touch, smell, and feel of that beautifully laminated and shiny cover of your favorite manga (an aspect I crave too often whenever I read digitally)!
Despite immersing ourselves in our gadgets every day, why not consider the 10 strong reasons below regarding why and how physical mangas are better than digital?
It might not change your mind, but I’m sure it’ll stir up something within you.
10. Lack of Digital Rights Management (DRM)
Digital Rights Management (DRM) means e-mangas being on “lockdown” because it’s encrypted with the buyer’s purchase account ID on a certain app or e-reader.
If you purchase a Demon Slayer e-manga from Amazon Kindle, you need either a Kindle app or a Kindle e-reader.
You cannot read that e-manga on either a Kobo app or a Kobo e-reader. You also cannot share unless you give somebody else access to your e-reader’s username and password!
Physical mangas aren’t restricted to DRM; hence, you can trade, share, and circulate them to others.
9. Unbounded from a Digital Subscription’s Restrictions
The beauty of owning physical volumes is that there are no subscriptions to restrict you from accessing your favorite manga volumes.
This is unlike reading digital mangas because fans are unbounded from the boundaries or limitations of digital subscriptions when reading physically.
Fans can buy as many physical manga volumes as they want from their local or online bookstores while accumulating redeemable Book Club points.
Also, in a digital subscription, there are thousands of e-mangas that are not currently available through e-readers and e-reader apps despite e-manga libraries increasing over time.
In other words, not every e-manga of an e-reader app is available to read with a subscription (which forces the e-reader app users to forfeit reading several popular/unpopular manga series because those kinds are digitally restricted).
8. Untethered from Digital Distractions
Physical manga collectors never have to worry about annoying notifications distracting them from their indulgent manga reading; they also do not have to worry about dying batteries (during a blackout), being disconnected from Wi-fi, nor the blue light wavelengths straining the corneas and pupils of the manga readers!
Physical books can be read anytime and anywhere; they don’t have to be used with electricity nor be charged up like your gadgets if you want to read!
This is one of the easiest and obvious advantages of owning physical mangas volumes: trading means buying or selling pre-owned mangas you no longer want on eBay, Amazon, RightStuf, Comic Shops; swapping them in r/mangaswap for other mangas you haven’t read yet; and sharing or gifting them to your family members or friends at school or work!
If they also choose to do so, owners can write on their mangas if they wish to add, revise, or correct the dialogues in their headcanons; they can also color the manga panels since the volumes belong to them!
The only disadvantage of trade-ability is that some manga volumes’ resale value depreciates as low as $2 overtime!
This is especially the case for mangas that haven’t gained popularity while they were still releasing or are decades old (examples: xxxHolic, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Gatekeepers, etc.)
For mangas that became popular because its original publishing house/distributor closed in the West (but its anime counterpart got a reboot anyway decades later) those mangas became rare!
The resale prices appreciated for those rare manga volumes because there are only a few volumes in circulation!
For example, the last volume of Fruits Basket’s TokyoPop edition (Vol. 23) jumped up through the roofs because TokyoPop closed.
Since there are limited print volumes of the Fruits Basket TokyoPop editions in circulation, Volume 23 (which is also the last volume of Fruits Basket’s TokyoPop edition series) is now reselling for $200 to $300 in Amazon and in other thrift online bookstores: Books-A-Million!, Thriftbooks, AbeBooks.
This holds true regardless of the manga’s condition: acceptable, good, or very good. Even the Fruits Basket: Collector’s Edition Volume 1‘s resale price is now $96 on Amazon!
The Fruits Basket Collector’s Edition is Yen Press’ republication of the series since 2016. These editions are larger than the standard manga size, contain additional colored pages, and revised but improved dialogues!
Unlike CLAMP’s CardCaptor Sakura, Fruits Basket is more popular; hence, the steep prices of its republications!
Fans pay less per physical volume, especially on old manga series that turn out to be inexpensive in the long run!
It’s also not a hassle to pay less than $4 for one physical volume, especially on old manga series that didn’t acquire popularity nor gain traction even AFTER the series ended for a decade already (provided that the collector is interested in such series).
Examples of these are pre-owned mangas that came out in the 1980s and 1990s that are still low-priced today.
They may not be that popular, but if it piques the interest of the collector and if the mangas are still in good conditions, it might be worth a try to collect them physically!
Pacing is good up to a certain extent and can go two ways. First, it could result in the enjoyability of reading one manga volume (whether digital or physical) in one sitting.
Second, it could result in boredom because the multiple digital mangas you’ve downloaded on your gadgets’ e-reader are “too accessible” (hence, making little to no time to read).
Instead of enjoying your favorite series, digital reading could lead to a diminishing state where binge-reading manga feels more like a chore than a pastime or hobby.
On that note, if you don’t care about being up-to-date with several ongoing manga releases, then physical volumes might just be for your cause fans can consume the material at a steady pace!
Fans delightfully consume 10 average chapters or 200 pages in one volume of a weekly series! That is a treat to behold already because you’re not gonna wait for another week to read a single 18-to-21-paged manga chapter!
In the case of a previous monthly series like Berserk, many fans agree to own the physical volumes! In this way, fans can steadily consume 10 to 11 chapters in one sitting compared to agonizingly waiting for a single 40-to-50-paged manga chapter every month.
4. Release Frequency
The release frequency on popular physical mangas comes with a sense of anticipation; thus, making binge manga-reading special.
The physical volumes come out almost instantly (4 to 5 installments of the newest volumes of popular weekly Shōnen series are released per year); unfortunately, the unpopular ones move at a slower rate.
For example, the new volumes of a monthly Seinen series don’t get its new installments printed or distributed this year; rather, fans must wait until the following year at the earliest to get their hands on the physical installments of their Seinen series’ newest manga volumes.
Some mangas are easier to come by because their print releases are quicker than other genres: Shōjo (a genre for young girls) or Seinen (a genre for the youth: young women and young men) prints quicker than Josei (a genre for older teenage girls and adult women).
Some manga collectors prefer gazing at the large manga pages for longer durations; smelling the vinyl manga covers; smelling the manga paper scents; touching and feeling the softness of the matte manga covers; re-arranging your manga bookshelves and holding the manga volumes in thy hands even if the manga papers will undergo discoloration after several years!
The manga volumes become easily accessible (or easy to grab and put on a backpack just in case you’re traveling to school, work, or traveling for vacation)!
Buying physical mangas of your favorite series makes them special because you can organize and display them, unlike digital ones.
Also, nothing will beat the physical manga copies in your hands even if physical mangas become more expensive in the long run if you decide to collect over 100+ series!
2. Reduce Eye Strains
Some people hate reading mangas on their screens. That’s why, not reading their mangas on computers, mobiles, tablets, and iPads give their eyes the needed break they deserve!
Physical mangas are recommendable for people who don’t want to stare at their gadget screens all day. The physical volumes are also recommendable for people whose eyes are sensitive to their gadgets’ blue light wavelengths!
While it’s true that there are control settings that users can adjust to reduce the e-reader’s brightness as well as shorten the blue light wavelengths, it’s better to lessen these radiations’ exposures on our corneas and pupils if it means getting better sleep!
Sexy physical mangas take your organized bookshelves to next level!
A personal manga library is an accomplishment too! People love collecting manga volumes because they look nice on the shelf!
Covers and spines look appealing to manga collectors. For example, the lustrous laminations or “shine” of the manga covers, and the spines, are two physical manga aspects that are impossible to achieve on digital sets!
There is so much variety to the manga covers and spine arts which makes it feel as if you’re collecting jewels or little pieces of art!
In The Promised Neverland’s case, the physical volumes contain black-and-white inner cover illustrations which were not available on the digital versions!
It’s nice to own a physical copy because you can arrange everything how you like while watching your collections grow!
Also, seeing the shelf slowly fill up with series that fans personally enjoy is a treat! Fans with full shelves of mangas have their little libraries to come back to whenever they want. This is only escalated with the sheer joy of turning manga pages as time passes by!
Mangas are graphic novels, Japanese comics, or Japanese cartoons. Most of their art style was developed during 19th century Japan.
However, manga’s historical art has long been known since pre-history or ancient Japan. Around 2007, manga’s influence on American and international markets exponentially grew; henceforth, manga become a mainstreaming medium.