Should you buy Digital or Physical Manga? (2023)

People like reading digital manga because it’s accessible. But when I see the beautiful front, back, and spine covers of manga, I can’t avoid the appeal of the physical volumes!

Despite only having two choices, it’s hard to pick one. That’s because many factors come into play such as portability, prices, and storage space!

Therefore, allow me to enlighten your load a little bit so you can wisely choose the medium that best suits you!


SPOILERS AHEAD!This page contains spoilers from Manga.


What’s the best way to support a manga creator?

Is it worth it to buy new manga volumes?

About Mangas

Should you buy Digital or Physical Manga?

Only you can answer this yourself as many factors must be considered. However, the primary factors I can think of right now are these:

  • Budget
  • Preferences
  • Availability
  • Portability
  • Lifestyle
  • Storage space
  • Release frequency
Should you buy Digital or Physical Manga? (1)

For this section, I’ll discuss budget and preferences first. The other sections will discuss the remaining factors.

If you’re living paycheck by paycheck, you must consider whether it’s wise to purchase your favorite physical manga. Budget is the key factor.

Do you have enough money to collect all volumes? What is the maximum budget you set for yourself to spend every month on your favorite manga series?

Although these are simple questions to write on paper, it’s hard to enact them. You’ve worked hard for your money and must not throw it away on a manga series that you only “slightly love”.

Speaking of love, that’s where preference comes into play. Some avid manga collectors stick to one and only one mantra: they only buy the series that they truly love and adore with their whole hearts!

People are immersed in a certain series if they always come back to it time after time. At this point, they would realize that it’d be best to invest in the physical volumes.

Since they keep coming back to the series just to re-read their favorite chapters repetitively, then, it’s reasonable to say that owning the physical copies is a good idea!

Should you buy Digital or Physical Manga? (2)

They’d simply grab their volumes and flip to their favorite chapters with ease instead of opening any digital copies of a certain series on their gadgets (which always requires batteries and Wi-Fi to function so you can read your favorite manga online).

1. Which is better to read: physical manga or digital manga?

In this section, I’ll be discussing three factors to answer this question: availability, portability, and lifestyle.

The availability of your digital manga depends on your Wi-Fi and on the gadget you’re using. For example: sometimes, you need to be connected via Wi-Fi to read some digital manga on the web.

But, if you download the e-reader apps on your device or have a Kindle reader on your own, you can read them offline.

In the first example (when you can only read manga on the web or can only read them whenever there’s Wi-Fi), the question of availability comes into play.

Is the digital manga you intend to purchase readable in the gadget that you own? Will the manga be available to read at your convenience on your gadgets? Will it work properly and without glitches?

Before buying any digital manga from Kindle Amazon, make sure the Kindle app you installed on your phone, tablet, or desktop is functioning smoothly.

Should you buy Digital or Physical Manga? (3)

If, for example, I am not able to access the Google Play Store app because I don’t have a Google account, then, that means, I cannot download the Amazon Kindle app from that store.

That also means that I cannot read any digital manga I purchased via “Kindle Amazon with 1-Click” on any gadgets.

Meanwhile, a manga is “portable” if you can carry it anywhere you want and can access it with ease! Physical manga volumes are easily portable because you can grab them and read them even when you’re commuting!

With digital manga, that depends on the e-readers that you installed on your gadgets. You must consider the type of applications you downloaded on your gadgets: will they consume a lot of digital storage space or only a few?

The last factor I’m going to discuss in this section is lifestyle. If you’re the type of person who often moves from place to place, that’d mean hauling your manga with you as long as you don’t wish to sell them.

If you travel often, it’s reasonable why you must bring your favorite manga with you. You don’t wanna leave them behind because you have an attachment to them. Thus, you must take them wherever you’ll be moving.

Should you buy Digital or Physical Manga? (4)

On the other hand, if you don’t have an attachment to the physical volumes, there’s an alternative: trade or sell them.

Not only will it help you lighten your load (as you must un-haul and haul your manga constantly with you wherever you go); but the proceeds you collected from selling your manga (the ones that are not your favorite) will help fund your moving costs!

What’s the best way to support a manga creator?

The best way to support a manga creator is by purchasing their works either digitally or physically.

And, for that to happen, you must consider physical or digital storage space. How small or large will your bookshelf be if you intend to collect physical manga?

Will you have enough space in your bedroom, living room, study room, etc. to put all the physical manga you purchased?

This is the same question for digital manga, except that you’ll be counting in megabytes or kilobytes. For example, an average 200-paged digital volume consumes approximately 140 MB (megabytes) in a mobile Kobo app and 150 megabytes in a desktop Kobo app.

Should you buy Digital or Physical Manga? (5)

You might think 140-150 MB is sufficient. But wait ‘til your collection grows in size cause you’re collecting 50+ digital volumes!

To increase your digital storage space, you must pay monthly or annual subscription fees so you can maintain sufficient storage for your digital manga.

You can either purchase storage space on One Drive, Google Drive, or Apple Drive. In this way, your Kobo or Kindle app will be able to contain your favorite digital manga!

Is it worth it to buy new manga volumes?

This answer only applies to physical manga: it is worth it to buy new manga volumes provided that the ones you’re buying are your favorites and that you have the allowance and the storage space for them.

And I say “favorite” because it’s okay if you buy pre-owned or second-hand manga volumes on series that you only slightly like (or ones that you’re not too much in love with).

My answers above cannot apply to digital manga because digital ones always seem “new” as their pages never fade or don’t turn yellow.

Another thing to consider when purchasing new manga volumes is the series’ release frequency. If you prefer physical manga, you might wait a year or two before you’ll be able to catch up to this year’s latest chapters.

Should you buy Digital or Physical Manga? (6)

For example, My Hero Academia’s Volume 29 is the latest volume occupying the Teen Manga shelves on local bookstores. But its latest chapters are only available digitally.

And if we’re gonna estimate the volume number of its latest digital chapters today (at the time of writing this blog), it’d be Volume 33! That tells me I’m way behind if I’m only caught up to the series’ physical volume release (which is Volume 29)!

In essence, release frequency is a factor buyers must consider.

If it’s their favorite series that they’re collecting via physical volumes, it’s no problem provided that they have the budget allowance and that they can obtain new ones cheaply in e-commerce or brick-and-mortar bookstores.

About Mangas

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.

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  • TagsAttack on Titan, Digital Manga, My Hero Academia, One Piece, Physical Manga
  • Post Time9:58 am
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