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How to Shop Otaku Part 1: E-books

Having been an otaku all my life and lived in Japan for a good year I kind of know my way around the net to get my hands on what I want.

And yes, knowing three languages help. But face it, even if you know Japanese, there are online shops in Japan that simply doesn't do foreigner's business. Most of them don't ship to oversea and some of them don't even accept foreign credit cards.

But nevertheless, there are still ways. And I hope to share some of them with you.


Part 1: E-Books

As my collection of manga grow, I'm buying up e-books more and more nowadays. I still love the feel of paper and whatnots but face it because manga takes up so much more pages to tell a story than say a novel, THEY TAKE UP SPACE.

If you know enough Japanese to navigate around and read Japanese manga, the following are a few places you can buy e-books even if you are oversea.

EbookJapan



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This site is by far the most user friendly ebook site I've ever used.

They have several interfaces for their reading app, and non of them are region locked. And believe me, THIS IS A BIG DEAL. According to its website it has over 200,000 volumes of ebooks on its site and has most but not all of the popular manga out there. And to the joy of fujoshis, it has a HUGE SELECTION of BL/yaoi manga/novels.

Getting an account is easy enough (if you know Japanese). They don't care much which part of the world you're from as long as your credit card works. Transactions are quite smooth and the reading app is good. You can link up to 5 devices on to one account. They don't fuzz about downloading multiple copies on to different devices, but I do find it kind of annoying that the accounts don't sync so I can't put down my novel on my Android phone and pick it up again on my tablet. But with its huge selection and seamless transaction and reading experience I really can't complain.

The prices are about the same as a regular paper manga and you get loyalty points every time you purchase (equals to about 1% of the price of the book). Once in a while they have huge sales that gives extra points worth up to 50% of the book. Complete sets also get extra points. And if you buy as often as I do they do add up. :P They also have a preview button on most of their products so you can have a glimpse into the first few pages of the book right in the browser.

Kindle Store



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Like its American counterpart, Kindle also has a large selection and the books are out faster sometimes even slightly cheaper than eBookJapan. As with all Kindles, the apps works on almost all devices. Except for an annoying feature: REGION SETTING. When you register for an Amazon account, you have to list Japan as you place of residence. That is simple enough, and if you read on an iPad, you won't have anymore trouble, really. Except when I tried to login to my Android device's Kindle app, its region is automatically set (and you can't change it!!) to the region you're in! SO! That means you can't login to your Amazon JP account!

There IS a work around! You can either use a VPN (I haven't actually tried that) OR, register to an Amazon.com account, LOGIN to your Android Kindle app with your Amazon.com account, TRANSFER your residence (under user menu on your Amazon account setting) to Japan, WHILE STILL LOGGED IN on you Kindle. THEN you can buy ebooks have have your Kindle app synced to show Japanese books. I literately fear the day that I have to log out of my Kindle app.

SO for the VERY ANNOYING reason above I try not to buy my ebooks on Amazon.

Animate



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You think it's only an anime merchandise superstore but believe it or not Animate has ebooks!

I only found out recently so I can't tell you how big of a selection it has. The only thing is you'll need a Japanese address and phone number to get an account (which I will tell you how to get one later). It doesn't run on any app, all the manga is read off of a browser. :\ It's kind of annoying that you can't read your stuff offline but since I do most of my manga reading at home where there's Wifi and most people have their phones connected 24/7 anyway it's probably not a big deal? But I would much rather have an app that downloads the book.

The one feature it wins over the others are the famous animate-only special editions! Animate is NOTORIOUS for including limited edition goods that only their store carries. With ebooks, they're mostly in the forms of bonus contents. For example, I was able to buy the latest volume of View Finder with the limited edition booklet even though I missed out on the physical form long ago!

So there you have it! A few good choices to buy ebooks. If you have any questions, or you know of more sites, please leave a comment or email me, I'd love to hear from you!

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