If you clicked on this article, chances are you are here to know how to read some manga legally and legitimately and support the team that contributes to it. After all, that is what the title implies. However, that is very difficult if you are outside Japan (obviously) or North America (you damn North Americans have more than you deserve). Now that does not mean that the North Americans don’t face this problem too. Finding legitimate scanlation sites is a pain, a pain which I was willing to bear to write this article. After scouring the net for a few hours, clicking here and there, moving to-and-fro in the largest universe known to civilization, I have come up with a good result.
Now what on Earth are scanlations? To put it simply, manga pages are scanned and translated into the reader’s language (such as, English) and are then posted on the gracious inter-webs for everybody to see digitally. If you are a perfectionist, Scanlation (also scanslation) is the fan-made scanning, translation, and editing of comics from a language into another language – Wikipedia, Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V.
So why are scanlations bad, you ask? After all, they offer free manga for you to read at your convenience without any strings attached. Well, almost all that’s mentioned is a problem. First, let’s look at why scanlations are so bad for the artists out there and then progress into where you should look to buy legitimate manga.
Starting off with free manga – free manga is great. Supposedly. When you aren’t paying for the manga you are reading, the author does not benefit from what you are reading. If the author doesn’t benefit from it, he isn’t going to create anymore. If he does not create anymore, you do not benefit from reading his non-existent manga.
No strings attached – be careful when somebody says that to you. In any case, no strings attached indicates a shady underground deal taking place where you (yes you, you sexy otaku) are probably being cheated into doing something grossly illegal. Namely: piracy.
In terms of scanlations, a person needs to buy the rights from the author and then digitally translate every bubble, maybe digitally color every character and his surroundings. Now when those rights aren’t asked for, and you are paying money (especially Bitcoin, since it is untraceable) for the content that you are reading, which does not reach the author, it is going into the shady pockets of the guy that developed that app you are using to read that dope new chapter of Hunter x Hunter. Since that money isn’t reaching the author, he does not benefit from what you are reading. If the author doesn’t benefit from it, he isn’t going to create anymore. If he does not create anymore, you do not benefit from reading his non-existent manga.
‘Manga readers’ are a class of app or sites that allow you to read manga on your mobile device at your convenience. They primarily use scanlations. However, you need to know how many of them are legitimate and how many of them aren’t. Now that you are educated about why certain scanlations are bad, let’s delve into the deep, dark abyss of the manga world to look for that little glow at the bottom – legitimate sources of manga.
Manga sources are legitimate when they have either taken necessary permissions from the creator or the author to produce the manga they have published on the site, or have acquired the licenses required for them to publish it and profit from it. Authors receive a part of the proceedings. If you are able to find any legitimate free sources of manga (which are necessarily supported by ads, since they have no other sources of income) leave a comment down below so that I can check it out. Meanwhile, I have only been able to find paid sites which are not supported by intrusive advertisements.
I have placed certain rules for myself while looking for these sites, which I recommend you to adopt too if you are looking for legitimate manga providers. They are as follows –
- Sites should not be supported by intrusive advertisements.
- There should be obvious proof of their legitimacy.
- They should be available worldwide.
- They should have a sizable collection.
Without further ado, here are the sites I found suitable to read manga (in no particular order):
- Kodansha Comics
- Yen Press
- Balloons and Chapters
- Shonen Jump (whoo!)
And to end, here is a slightly unique one,
10. Amiramu, which is an app exclusively for tablets.
Most of these are available on Kindle, Amazon and such. If you want physical copies of manga, you can order them from online sites such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For Indians out there, the Entertainment Store in Bangalore is an excellent choice too. They have the more mainstream manga collections with official English translations. They have entire box sets of more popular manga such as Naruto, Naruto Shippuden, the Dragon Ball series, Bleach, and many more. They are a bit pricey though (and justifiably so, those books aren’t flimsy), so carry a full wallet before entering that place. The Entertainment Store also has a lot of collectibles like mugs, action figures, T-shirts, a terrible collection of PC games, and all that jazz.
Hopefully, the next time you have an itch to read a stellar manga series, you can scratch it. Legitimately.
*dons sunglasses and dives from roof as it explodes in the background while What’s Up People plays*