Why Pay When You Can Have It For Free?

Let’s just make one thing clear first; there is not such thing as free. It’s like saying I saved money when I bought two. Did you really? Even though you actually only needed one.

I got a comment about why I buy my manga when I can read it online for free. Sure, at first glance it might seem as though it is free and yeah, if I would only look at myself (and in this egotistical world that’s what most people do) it only costs me the price of my internet providers fee for the internet connection to surf into your choice of manga reader.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy there are scanlation groups who make an incredible job scanning and translating work that would have never reached us non-Japanese speaking people around the globe. It is not this manga I am talking about. I do read manga online as well, manga that isn’t licensed in English. What I am talking about is manga that are licensed and available as a print or digital download at the publisher or on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or some else retailer that sells digital copies of books. That’s the manga I am talking about.


You talked about nothing being free? I sure did. So, it is free for me, you insist. That can be true of course but look at it this way. If people don’t buy the art that is produced, what will happen to the artist that has made that said piece of art? They will lose their income. Easy peasy. Oh, but the Japanese people still buy it, so it’s fine if I don’t. Really now. Why would it be okay that someone else pays for your share too? What if every manga buyer both in the west and the east reasoned the same way, where would that leave the mangaka? You want me to tell you? Maybe you can figure it out for yourself? No money, no…?

Above is the main reason I buy manga, but it is not the only reason, I have many more.

I love books. I have always loved books. A bookshelf filled to the brim with books gives me so much more joy than a baby bird on a sunny day. I get happy only by the touch of the rough paper between my fingers when I slowly turn pages. I savor every picture, every word while I read. Just the thought that I can walk past my book shelves with books (I have a lot more than just manga) and touch the backs make my body go warm. I have a love affair with my books.

Bad, English translation. As much as I am grateful for all the scanlation groups and their tremendous work (confession time: I only read boys love online. Well, and I read Pupa but that was for research only…sort of.) sometimes the translation is subpar. Or even below subpar. I can live with it if I have no other choice but if I know there is a licensed translation I rather have that. And, if there is a license I want to own it so two birds in one smack (you definitely don’t say that in English) when I buy the manga.

Not in a book store near me, even though I wish it was the case

Finally; I love to receive packages. Yup, I buy all my manga online because we have like a half of a book store in this tiny little town and they have probably never heard of manga. It’s so nice when the mail man knocks on my door and hands over a huge packet (or five small ones if they are from The Book Depository).

It’s not that I don’t understand why kids read online, what with their limited funds, but if you can afford to buy your manga, or rent it or subscribe to a service like Crunchyroll then I think that’s the least you should do. Because; no money, no food for the mangaka, no more manga. Sad right?

A list of legal online manga sites, some with free content:



15 thoughts on “Why Pay When You Can Have It For Free?

  1. Absolutely agree, not only is it important to support the artists who make the things we love it’s also important to support the companies that release manga in English, because the more we support them the more likely we are to get high quality translations.

    Also, I love how ridiculous book depository is with their individual packaging of manga. I have about 30 coming next week (yes I went overboard lol) and if they all come on the one day it’s going to be hilarious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the more we buy licensed work the more companies will be willing to license work. And not only the big ones but more unknown ones too.

      Yeah, book depository, what can one say. 🙄 I don’t get them. My mail man is starting to get tired of me I think. Yesterday he came with five individual packages. I fear (hope hehe) today will be the same. 😎 I still am waiting for at least 10 more (I have lost count of how many has arrived. 😳)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yesss! I so agree with you!!! I read manga online as well, but when I have the money for it and it is licensed, I will buy it, because I want to collect and I want to support the artist that has put in a lot of work in it. Mangaka is not an easy job and so $10 or €10,00 aren’t a lot for a manga volume.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As much as I’m completely fine with pirating things (as far as I’m aware, buying the manga volume or anime DVD or whatever in English doesn’t really support the creators, the licencing fee for the American company to release it in English is what pays them), I still buy all of my manga. Mostly just because, as you said, books are great. I greatly prefer holding paper in my hand and physically flipping through the pages, it’s just such a great feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Then again, if we don’t buy the licensed stuff the companies won’t buy licenses for new stuff and the creators won’t make money that way. So, still buying the manga/anime/cd or whatever feeds the creator.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. While I do read manga online and I don’t have money to buy it, though I am song to buy some, I try to use my library for the legally available manga (I use the digital for screenshots only in these cases.) I’m hoping this will help my library, because people that ask me where I get my manga are always amazed and thrilled to find out its the library. Also, I’m hoping it will encourage my library to buy more, because of demand.

    I’m not sure if my tactics actually work, but I hope so, because I love the library and I do want to help support the manga industry in some way, even indirectly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Libraries are good too. My local library doesn’t hold a lot of manga but we have a service where you can borrow books from other libraries and I might be able to borrow other manga that way. Maybe I should check that out. 🤔 But it’s a really good option actually.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My local county has a lot of manga, fruits basket, fma, AoT, Ranma 1/2, and so many other titles in part and in whole. They didn’t have Ouran, but we too have a system that lets me borrow from all over the state and I was able to get it through that. It’s an also great way to check out a series you aren’t sure about.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m like you I really love holding a book and flipping through the pages but I downsize often. If I kept as many manga as I’ve read over the years I wouldn’t be able to sit in my own bedroom. But libraries are a wonderful thing especially if they’re like mine and you can borrow from any library in the system. That’s how I’ve managed, same with anime and movies.

    But I do agree. I finally became an adult and bought a crunchyroll subscription and watch my anime (mostly) there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Libraries are good. We have the same system here were we can borrow books from all libraries over the country, however, I am unsure of if it aplies to comicbooks and manga. Should maybe check it out. My local library has a very sparse range of manga unfortunately.

      As for anime; I have like 4 or 5 legal streaming sites I pay for each month. I think it’s worth it (most of the times.). If by chance none of them have what I want to watch I down load it. Some anime just doesn’t air here and only are fan subbed and I am a okey with downloading then. Just as I am okey with reading unlicensed manga online.


  6. To quote Io (from Boueibu), “…nothing is more terrifying than free,” right?

    While I’m a complete stickler for purchases from brick-and-mortar shops (I’m a crazy skeptic when it comes to data attached to my money), I completely get you. There’s something special about having a tale behind each book too, as opposed to digital editions…

    The good thing is for those who can understand it, there is /legal/ online manga as well these days – Comico (ReLIFE, Nanbaka) and Kurage Bunch (Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, Omae wa Mada Gunma wo Shiranai) are getting good press out there and anime adaptions done in more recent days, so I’d like to see where the endeavour goes for the industry.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It is a crazy culture that we live in where people think that they shouldn’t have to pay for a writer or artists work. People think that writers all make what Steven King makes, he is the exception not the rule. Some authors lose book deals due to bad sales because illegal downloading doesn’t count towards their numbers. It is so sad. I try to buy manga when I can and I wish there was more available faster, but I guess if people bought it there would be a higher demand to bring it to the states.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a hard nut to crack, the supply and demand. We want stuff but the western publishers doesn’t get it until it’s too late. Until after we have already read it. Sort of like that. I have read manga online before it got licensed and now I buy it because I want it as a book but I can imagine very few people do it like that. If the publishers were faster to pick up them titles when they are released and maybe if they were checking out the manga sites out there what people actually read, a lot more people might actually buy their manga.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true and I’m not against people trying out the first few chapters to see if it if something they like, but if they read and enjoyed it I really hope they would buy it and support the artist and authors.

        Liked by 1 person

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