“ Category: Comic „
So, you go to your favourite manga reading place and see a notice up. "Blah Blah Blah is not available as it is licensed." Now, you may very much want to read it, but feel a bit leery of buying before reading at least a sample. Or maybe you don't have room for a lot of books, or cash to buy them.Or perhaps, you see a pirated version online, but don't want to cheat your favourite mangaka whose work it is. Well, if the manga is published by Digital Manga Publishing, you are in luck. Why? They understand these problems, and offer us Emanga.com.
~~~What is Emanga?~~~
Well, quite simply, it is a place to read manga online. The manga and novels presented here are licensed by publishing house Digital Manga Publishers and a few partners, such as Harlequin. Some titles are offered as short previews only, others you can preview and rent. As all the manga is stored by the website, you have nothing to download at all. You simply click a button marked either Preview or Rent, and a new reading window opens up in your browser. Rented titles are available for several days, so you don't have to read it all in one sitting. While you read, you can be smug that you saved a bit of cash and rewarded your favourite mangaka and their publishing staff for all their hard effort.
~~~~Okay, how much?~~~~
It varies. Most of the manga and novels rent for 200 points, with one rental occurrence giving you 72 hours access, and a second rental of the same title gives you unlimited access to that title. Second rental costs are currently 200 points for manga and 100 points for the novels. There are a few mature titles that are more expensive, being 300 - 600 points. You DO have to sign up for an account to rent titles, though not for previews, but it takes only a few moments. They do require you to use a credit or debit card to purchase points, as well as register your birth date.
Points are sold in blocks. The Starter package offers 500 points for $5.50. The prices get cheaper per point the more you buy, with 1000 going for $10, 2120 points for $20, and 5500 points for $50. These are US dollars, as DMP is a manga publisher based in California. You may only buy points and read the manga if your birth date reveals you are at least 13 and the mature titles may only be rented if over the age of 18.
~~~~Get Free Rentals~~~~
Follow Digital Manga Publishing on Twitter, and you will see that they do regular Emanga give aways. These usually coincide with brand new releases, so you get a chance to read these in full before anyone else. The Twitter message will give a codeword with an email address to send it to, and within a few hours, you get notified that the title is in your reading list queue on Emanga. DMP publish a wide range of titles, so offers in the past have been everything from chick lit type romances in the shoujo genre, to Boy's Love titles, to more gritty titles such as Vampire Hunter D.
~~~~Other Special Offers~~~
Following on Twitter also gives users heads up on half price or lower special rental offers. For example, this week end they are having a vampire themed special event, so Vampire Hunter D, Yashakiden and Pathos titles may be rented for much lower than the usual cost, being only 100 points each. In addition, they occasionally run draws where people renting a certain title will be put in a draw to receive a free reading copy of other titles. So those points you pay for can actually go a lot farther than you would think, if you manage them wisely.
I'll let the site explain their position on holding information:
"Any personal information (email address, home address, etc.) we obtain from visitors/customers WILL NOT be sold or shared with any third party. All information gathered is used for internal purposes only."
They DO send out emails to users if they need to discuss the account for any reason and to announce new titles, but you can opt out of mailings easily and only have contact from them if it concerns the actual operation of your account or a contest you have entered (such as a drawing or a manga give away event). So, no spam will follow on from using the site.
~~~~How's the quality?~~~~
It is excellent. These are not mere scans like you might find of pirated manga or scanlated editions. These are high resolution digital editions of the actual print books. The background is easy on the eyes, with a "paperlike" effect. One can zoom in and out to enlarge a page, or make it smaller, and navigation is simple using either the buttons provided or the up and down arrows n the keyboard. The images are crisp and enlarging it to the largest available viewing size means you do have to scroll a bit using to view the entire page, but images and text do not pixellate in the slightest. This means that even vision impaired persons who require over sized print books can also enjoy reading high quality manga offerings online. The site also features a one click bookmarking function with the books, so that if you stop mid-read, you can bookmark the page you are on and it will remember your page for you.
~~~~Can I download titles to my hard drive or portable device?~~~
All titles rented, even if kept under the unlimited option, remain at Emanga. So you have to log on to the internet and log into your account to read it. If you want to read on the Kindle or the I phone using the Kindle application or the PSP though it is quite possible to do so, just not through Emanga.com. Kindle versions can be purchased via Amazon and recently DMP made a foray into releasing titles for the PSP with the release of Vampire Hunter D vol 1 for the PSP (it sells for about $2 via the Playstation store). If you have wireless access and a laptop, portability of the books available via Emanga is not an issue, but having the other options available means that you can own these and take them ANYWHERE on your chosen interface. So you'll just have to weigh up which option you prefer.
Reading graphic novels does not have to be an expensive hobby, nor does one have to resort to pirated goods to get an online manga fix. Emanga is a welcome addition to the online manga community, providing low cost, and occasionally free, high quality virtual editions of manga and light novels from their own library of licenses and selected partners, which can only benefit consumers and the people who create the works equally.