Many people are still adjusting to reading manga digitally, and while I agree that there is nothing like the feel of a good paperback in your hand, I appreciate many of the perks that the digital age has brought about. Like living in an 800 sq ft apartment and not having to worry about where to put another bookshelf. So this page is for those of you who are interested in our digital manga titles but are unsure of which platform is best for you.
Two words: downloadable pdf. Instead of getting locked into a file format or specific device, you can download a standard pdf file and read it on whatever you like. More details can be found in this post, but right now, this is my #1 choice for buying digital manga! <3
Digital Manga Guild titles are available first and foremost on eManga.com. This is DMP's personal storefront, and they have a very slick reader for streaming the titles. Note that I said streaming - you do not actually download these books to your computer. The quality is very good and is pretty much limited by your monitor resolution. The online reader is designed for manga, and so navigation and page orientation are all intuitive.
Books are purchased with points, which are roughly 100 points to $1. You can buy a 2000 point card for $16 on akadot.com, which means a 695 point DMG book will actually cost $5.50. That's not bad. If you prefer to read on your computer and don't mind streaming, then this is the way to go for both value and quality.
Amazon Kindle and BN Nook
I've posted a couple times about DMG titles for the Kindle and for the Nook, but I'll summarize things briefly here:
- Each e-reader uses a different file format. Right now, the Kindle format has more compression, so zooming in reveals lots of artifacts. Nook has a better format and higher quality. Older Kindle models (like mine) might struggle with the small text.
- Format quality aside, the basic e-ink, touch e-ink, and tablet models are fairly comparable in both families. E-ink readers look like good ol' fashioned paper and ink with no backlight. The tablets have LCD screens.
- Both Kindle and Nook have iPad apps, though the dimensions of the Kindle/Nook screen are different from the iPad screen, which means there is a lot of white space around the margins.
- Both have desktop apps for reading on your computer. The Kindle is not particularly friendly for right-to-left reading, and Nook doesn't offer a two-page view.
- Books are downloaded to your reader or tablet or computer.
- Recently, Amazon has rejected a super-explicit DMG title, and it is unclear as of now if other titles will be pulled. Barnes and Noble has not (as of now) had a problem with DMP titles.
DMP Apps for Tablets and iPhone
In addition to e-reader apps for the iPad, DMP also made their own app for iPads and Android tablets. I can only speak for the iPad version, which I found to be really high quality. The downloaded files are big (~100 MB) and worth every byte since the pages perfectly fit the dimensions of the screen and there's little to no compression. Small texts are easy to read, and you can zoom in on the tiniest of details. The downsides include slightly higher prices ($8.99 compared to $7.95 on Kindle and Nook) and delayed releases (right now, the app content is only updated once a month or so, but that might change in the future as DMP hires more staff). If you don't mind paying the extra dollar, this is definitely the best option for tablet readers.
The iPhone app looks great on a 4S and is surprisingly legible. The interface is smooth and intuitive, and it's very easy to zoom in, push the page around with your finger, and then swipe to the next page. The downside is that the iPhone and iPad apps are not linked, so if you buy a book for one, it is not transferable to the other (at least as far as I can tell).
Sadly, but not surprisingly, Apple has removed many explicit DMP titles from the iTunes apps. If you have been using this method to read on your iPad, I suggest trying the Nook app for these explicit titles. It is still good quality, though not quite as streamlined as the DMP app. Android users still have the full DMP library.
I didn't even realize this was an option until azurelucy sent me some screenshots. You can root this e-reader (which is similar to the Kindle Touch or Nook Touch) and then run Android apps on it (like Aldiko). If I ever decide to get an e-ink device, I'm going to look into this more...
Summary of the Summaries
I've already mentioned my preference for DriveThruComics and downloading a pdf, so this section is for the rest of the options. Barnes and Noble's Nook is like a good, solid all-in-one printer/scanner/fax (jack of all trades, master of none). It has very good quality images and is available on just about everything you can imagine. If you have a preference for reading on your computer or reading on a tablet, then DMP's readers are the way to go (either on eManga or the iTunes and Android apps) since they are specifically tailored for an excellent manga reading experience.
Detailed Posts on the Topics
DMP's iPhone app and Nook for Mac
Screenshots of eManga and Kindle for Mac
Pictures of Kindle, Nook, and DMP's tablet app
Also check out the tags in the sidebar to see more posts about these readers and tablets.
I'm curious to hear what other people think of the digital reading options currently available. Also, I'm always on the lookout for more pics to add to the lineup!