Using eBook Readers for Manga
Date: 2010 October 24th Sunday [14:52] | Posted By: Joe
eReaders have started to move from that realm of expensive gadget, to a more affordable and practical solution to lugging books around. The benefit of such a tiny device able to hold thousands of books versus having to actually carry many books around is clear. They're great for printed text, but what about manga? Are eReaders suitable for reading manga on?
Looking at Amazon's kindle store searching for manga (UK / US) returns over 700 results. At first glance this sounds good, but when you actually start looking at what's returned the quality of titles won't be to everyone's taste.
There's nothing from any of the major manga publishers. Del Ray, Tokyo Pop, Viz, Yen Press and all their imprints aren't present on any of the eBook stores. They're well represented on comiXology on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, but not on any eReaders.
After hunting around some more on the Kindle store eventually we did find something manga like - Scott Pilgrim. However only the final volume was available on the Kindle.
Below is the print edition of Scott Pilgrim Volume 6 (Click for hi-res version)
Below is the Kindle edition of Scott Pilgrim Volume 6 (Click for hi-res version)
At first glance it looks good. Notice that the small text isn't really that readable. There is no zoom feature for this book, so we can't really zoom in to look at the detail of the artwork. Moving our eyes closer to the page didn't really work either, the text was still fuzzy.
Notice the details on Scott's handheld is a lot clearer on the print edition than the Kindle version.
The screen tones don't look right either on for the Kindle edition of Scott Pilgrim, it seems that they've just scanned it in. The bottom panels are cut off where the page ends. Which makes sense for the printed edition, but it doesn't work on the Kindle edition with a large margin around the edges.
The other issue with eBooks is lending them. If you own a paper based book and want to share it the logistics behind it are simple, you give it to your friend and you can't read it while they have it. If you've finished with the book you can also sell it. Currently you can't do this with most eBooks, or there are also issues with DRM and device locking. They're not really designed with sharing in mind.
In conclusion eBook readers such as the Amazon Kindle are excellent for reading novels and some manga. However we would not recommend the current generation of eBook readers to just read manga with detailed artwork or extra small print. The resolution is not yet high enough. Unless the panels have been adapted for the eBook reader, they don't yet compare to the printed page. They are primarily designed to read text on and they do that job excellently.
US readers can also access manga on-line using the following sites -
JManga, VIZ Manga and Sigikki.
GEN Manga offer manga to download on PDF. You can also read our interview with GEN Manga.