This is a post-sized version of my convention panel with the same general thrust (PDF), and meditating on it I realised that perhaps not everyone wants to survive an 84 page PDF to get some pointers on how to read Digital Manga for cheap.
I spend a lot of money (insert $3600 Candles dril tweet here) on Digital Manga, and as part of this I try to get the biggest bang for my buck. Typically I use Comixology and BookWalker as my first ports of call, but added on to that I have some other habits and tactics which i’m going to share here.
In the interests of brevity, here are some bullet points!
- Crunchyroll has buckets of manga available if you have a subscription
Seriously, take advantage of this if you have a subscription. CR have been terrible about promoting this wonderful add-on and there are some great titles on there.
- **Jump on any Manga Humble Bundles**
Kodansha have done a number of Humble bundles at this point and they are absurdly good value. For those who may not know already, a Humble Bundle is a set of products with various tiers of rewards depending on how much you pay, which were initially used to sell independent videogames.
Kodansha are running one right now which can get you an absurd amount of manga for less than £15. Even if you are only slightly interested in the titles on offer, the value of this bundle is ridiculous.
- **Keep a close eye on Comixology’s Sales page**
On any given week there is usually a sale going on, so check this page on the regular. For some reason Comixology doesn’t shout about Manga sales in their e-mail newsletter, which confuses me no end. The range and the discount level varies for these sales, but it’s a good place to find them. Note that often sales that are advertised here can also be in effect on other storefronts as well, so some price comparison can help here as well. I often use BookWalker in these cases.
- Use your BookWalker Coin Balance
BookWalker gives you “coins” whenever you buy manga on its storefront, which are like loyalty points each worth 1yen each. While not massive on their own, even if you only buy the odd volume this can add up to a respectable amount of credit to put towards other purchases, especially after a sale or other large purchase.
In addition, BookWalker has semi-frequent pseudo-sales where you get increased amounts of coins, which typically combine with other offers they have ongoing so you can get both a discount and credit on future purchases.
*Note that these coins can expire! Make sure you use them!*
- **Subscribe to Weekly Shonen Jump**
If you are interested in any of the series in WSJ, even just one, an annual subscription is an absurdly good return on investment. You get so much manga!
The site also has a collection of free series and chapters!
- Yen Press titles are cheaper on Kobo compared to other storefronts
Volume 1’s are usually around £1 and subsequent volumes are £3.50, with Omnibus volumes varying in price. This is across the board and does not appear to be a time-limited discount. It’s damn good value for series as good as Laid Back Camp et al.
- **Shop around! Prices and availability can range between storefronts!**
This is a more general extension of the above point - a quick search of other storefonts can be in order to make sure you are getting the best deal. Even with Amazon and Comixology, even though both are now owned by the same company, can have appreciable pricing differences!
Please note that all of these suggestions are written from a UK-centric point of view. Availability may differ in your territory. I’ll try and update this post as things change. If I have missed anything please do not hesitate to contact me!