Manga: Physical Collection vs Digital Collection

man·ga / ˈmaNGɡə/
  1. a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, typically aimed at adults as well as children.

Manga collections, like the one pictured below, can add a pretty light and cute atmosphere to a room. Unlike novels, manga volumes tend to have white or black spines with colourful writing and maybe a cropped version of the cover image. Put them all together and you can have some pretty adorable displays built on sheer uniformity. The downside? You may not have enough room for them all.

Manga, especially popular titles, have the ability to run for years. If you think you’ve been following that seven book series where a book is published every year for a long time, try to imagine sticking with the same characters and premise for decades. This is the case for some well known manga such as Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece (1997 to present) or Gosho Aoyama’s Detective Conan (1994 to present). These series can easily accumulate over one hundred volumes of content for fans to peruse endlessly. But in a time where we, as a society, are becoming more environmentally aware and space conscious, is having a physical collection of manga worth it?

Enter the digital age; a time where people arguably store more of their memories and lives in terabytes of cloud storage rather than clunky photo albums. This brings the option of still holding on to every volume of your favourite series minus the tangibility. Digital media is the preferred method for some for the same reasons that people prefer ebooks to physical books: space, availability, and efficiency to name a few.

Personally, I prefer digital manga because of the space issue and they tend to be cheaper than print copies. The downside is that because manga as a medium is a combination of images and text, the files tend to be larger than that of a novel (think 100MB vs 1MB) and this can cause me to quickly use mobile data to download a new volume or force me into downloading a batch of volumes for whenever I have time, but taking up valuable space on my SD card. There’s also the issue of battery life and keeping my Kindle/phone charged in case I lose power (which happens more often than you’d think). And lastly, it’s very difficult for me to connect with a story via my Kindle. It started off without a problem but the more I read, the less sensitive I grew.

As with everything both media have their pros and cons and it’s one-hundred percent up to the preference of the reader. I’d love to hear from other manga readers — do you pursue print editions, digital editions, or both? If both, do you reserve print editions for your very favourite series?



7 thoughts on “Manga: Physical Collection vs Digital Collection

  1. Summer @ Xingsings says:

    For both manga and even non-graphic novels, I think I tend to prefer physical copies. However, I usually go with whatever is cheaper. And sometimes at my local bookstore the physical ones are the better choice (strange, I know!). However, you’re so right about actual space; I’m really running out of shelf room. 😅 I haven’t bought any electronic manga yet but I do plan to in the future since I’ve noticed the older series are considerably much cheaper!


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