Manga: Print vs. Digital

Robot 6 recently published an article citing comments from former manga distributor Tokyopop over manga readers preferences in reading manga. A vast majority voted that print copies are still their chosen format. Common responses state that readers prefer the feeling of books in their hand, and the lack of visual quality on digital services (although this has been attributed to the vast number of bootleg sites out there).

Looking at this response, it is kind of understandable. Manga publishers still have a ways to go in digital distribution. As a fan myself, I have noted  such problems as regional lockouts, unusual subscription services and restrictive catalogues. This has been improving quite substantially, but I wonder if the original stigma may still be there. Manga readers also tend to have a history of being collectors, and having a well stocked library can be a point of pride, so physical editions are still important to some people. Finally, a lot of message boards have a lot of teenage fans commenting about certain online and digital methods not being suitable for them as they have no credit card. Coupled with the fact that any decent digital reader will be costly, this can mount up to a lot of problems.

In short, I don’t think manga readers will continue to reject the digital world, but I think as it becomes more approachable, there will be a shift in opinion.


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