As the manga and light novel markets continue to grow with more titles available to purchase than ever before, it can be difficult to know where to go to purchase the books you crave. Especially when availability is split between digital and physical copies! To help you on your journey we’ve created this guide, taking a look at some of the places you can go to buy your favourite series.
Directly from publishers
In the last few years a lot of new manga and light novel publishers have surfaced, many of which sell their titles digitally, physically or both through their own storefronts. J-Novel Club sells their books digitally DRM free (provided you’re a subscriber to their service). Kaiten Books also sell DRM free digital copies of their titles, while Sol Press offer both digital (DRM free) and physical copies of their books through their store, as do Tentai Books.
When it comes to buying digitally my go-to place is BookWalker. Not only does the site have some exclusive licenses (Why the Hell Are You Here, Teacher?!, TenPuru -No One Can Live on Loneliness) but they also have a great reward program. For every book you buy you’ll be given a certain percentage of ‘coins’ back, which can be redeemed against future purchases. The platform often holds special promotions giving buyers increased coins back and if that wasn’t enough they regularly hold sales, discounting popular series to cheap prices.
The other nice thing about BookWalker, in particular, is the fact you also have access to their Japanese catalogue by swapping to the Japanese storefront. This is an easy way to purchase Japanese manga and light novels and keep them all under the same account if that’s something you care about. Purchased books can be read on the website or through the iOS and Android apps. The only negatives here is that content is locked to BookWalker’s platform and files can’t be removed from it and also that you can’t buy Viz Media titles digitally here, which is a shame.
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Comic Shop
If you’re big on buying physical manga or light novels, then one of the best ways to do this is through a local comic store either someone independent or a small chain like Travelling Man or Forbidden Planet. Not only are you supporting a small store you also have the benefit of being able to browse through the shelves and find a book that grabs you. If they don’t have what you want in stock, most places are happy to order in titles just for you, too. Not everywhere is lucky enough to have this option, but if you do it’s certainly worth considering the next time you’re out to buy a physical copy of something.
Another big digital storefront is Kobo, who have the benefit of offering Viz Media titles digitally. They also have some of the cheapest prices around. Like Amazon, Kobo sells their own eReaders but even if you don’t own one you can read their titles via their apps on other devices. The company also offers a membership for £6 a year which gives users more points per purchase, a 10% discount on eBooks and exclusive sales and offers.
For many, I’m sure the first place that comes to mind when you think about buying books is Amazon. In the UK Amazon is incredibly slow when it comes to dispatching physical manga or light novels, so I don’t recommend them. However, if you have a Kindle you’re sure to be buying your digital copies through them. Recently Amazon has been removing several manga and light novels (including hit series No Game, No Life) from their store for reasons yet unknown, so before you leap building a digital library there that’s something to keep in mind.
When it comes to physical books, Amazon owns Book Depository who offer free shipping worldwide and often sell their books at a discount. While it can take 3-4 days for books to dispatch and then a further 4-5 days for your items to arrive, they do have stock of the latest releases faster than Amazon.
If you’re just looking to buy manga then Amazon-owned ComiXology is a fairly good marketplace. Like Kobo and Amazon themselves, you can find Viz Media titles digitally here and they even have a couple of Kodansha exclusives.
An alternative to Book Depository when it comes to physical books is Wordery. Like Book Depository they regularly offer discounts on their titles and have free shipping. The downside is that their selection of titles is smaller and it can be difficult to get older titles (and sometimes latest releases) through them, but they are certainly worth taking a look at if you’re searching for something in particular.
This might seem like an obvious choice given Waterstones is the UK’s largest bookstore chain, but their selection can vary a lot store to store. Some stores have a large section of manga and light novels and some have a tiny bookshelf in the corner of a store. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in-stores then another option is their website, which has a surprisingly large collection of titles on sale.
We hope these recommendations have helped in your quest to read more manga and light novels, be it digitally or in physical book form. This list by no means covers every retailer and platform out there, so if you have any other suggestions then let us know in the comments!
Note: Some of the retailer links in this article are affiliate links. You can click here for more information on Anime UK News’ affiliate policy.