More Manga For The Nook Please!

When I bought my Nook eBook reader, I already knew that I wasn’t going to find much in the way of comics and manga to read on it. I bought it because I wanted to be able to carry a lot of novels and technical manuals without the enormous weight and bulk of physical books. Still it was my hope that as eBooks gained in popularity, I would eventually see more titles for my ereader of choice.

I think that time has finally come! Manga, Japanese graphic novels, have been available in digital form for a long time in the form of illegal translated scans, or “scanlations.” And it is not too difficult to format and load these on eBook readers like the Kindle or Nook. But those looking to get their manga fix legally have had few options. Though I should note that there is a lot of yaoi (homosexual romance stories) manga available for the Kindle in Amazon’s Kindle store. But this has somewhat limited appeal.

Recently, a number of publishers have started to offer popular manga titles online, readable in a web browser. These are either introductory chapters to new manga available for free, or entire volumes purchasable usually for less than the print version. While this doesn’t do anything for those wanting to read manga on the Nook, it makes sense given that the targeted market has been reading manga in their browsers on pirate web sites for years. A number of these pirate sites have been shut down over the last year, and now publishers are hoping that readers will embrace the legal alternatives they are providing.

Some Online Manga Sites

I think rising popularity of Apple’s iPad opened a door that is leading to greater manga availability for eBook readers as well. A growing list of manga titles, comics, and related magazines have appeared as iPad apps. The iPad has clearly popularized the tablet form factor. It’s $500 entry price forced down the prices of dedicated eBook readers like the Nook and Kindle which in turn increased their sales. Now a host of new tablets such as the Motorola Xoom and the Blackberry Playbook will soon hit the market.

Tablets are a natural fit for eBooks and color ones are especially good for comics, magazines, and manga. While manga are mostly black and white, the cover art and optional inserts are generally in color. So I don’t think it is a random coincidence that Digital Manga Inc. released Vampire Hunter D for the Nook around the time that the Nook Color became available. There are both black and white and color editions available. At only $250, the Android powered Nook Color has already seen good sales and may become the entry level tablet of choice for many.

I hope that we are seeing the beginning of more mainstream, popular manga titles for the Nook and other eBook readers. There’s no real technical cost to supporting a title on both tablets and readers. And with dedicated readers racing towards the $99 price point, it would be silly not to sell there. I think the next year is going to tell the tale. Manga looks pretty good on my Nook, so I hope I’ll see a lot more of it soon!

This entry was posted in eBooks and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

One Trackback