[REVIEW] eManga.com

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Website: eManga
Focus: Manga, primarily published by Digital Manga, Inc.

eManga is a website begun by Digital Manga, Inc., who probably is best known for their hold on many boys’ love (yaoi) titles. When it first began, it was an online manga reader where you could buy points, buy a title to read, and just read it online – no downloading it to various devices or anything. I bought a few stories from there since they were cheaper than the print copies and I just wanted my BL fix.

At some point, DMP revamped the eManga website to become a one-stop place to buy digital, download-to-own manga from primarily their imprints. And quite frankly, I’m glad they did this! Even more so that I 1.) hate the format of their titles (actually, all manga titles from everybody) on Kindle and Nook and 2.) my favourite place to read manga digitally is on Elegance, my iPad Mini. Also, some of their titles are “too hot for Kindle” (Amazon frequently removes their titles from their Kindle store, despite keeping up a large number of erotica up there…it makes no sense) and I feel that eManga is a great answer to giving people all the titles they want.

I am completely for digital manga. I love the e-book format for it. I’m still finding my preference for digital manga and my preference for physical novels to be strange. I just feel like manga works so well digitally, especially with the ability to zoom in to see the artwork details and read small text that may be harder to view even if you were to lean in really close to a book. I just hate how the manga format looks on Kindle and Nook (at least via their apps for the iPad).

(All images below copyrighted to Digital Manga, Inc., the original Japanese publishers, and the original manga creators; they are posted here for explanation purposes and not intended to infringe copyright)

On the Kindle (more or less the same on Nook) App:

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(Endless Rain) Just look at all that white space and how small the manga is in comparison to it. It looks like it’s suppose to be read on a cellphone.

On the Digital Manga Inc. App:

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(Moon & Blood Volume 1) Gorgeous and formatted beautifully, though I’m not a huge fan of the little ^ showing in the corner there.

Downloaded PDF from eManga on my iPad:

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(Shameful Body) Very nice. Probably tied with the app for my favourite.

Their app in the iTunes store and their eManga format clearly works better.

Anyway, onto the review!

Website Basics

eManga simply is just a digital manga storefront. I would call it the digital equivalent of a comic book shop that mostly sold DMP manga. It looks like they’re hoping to get anime content in the future too (just like they started a video game collection), as indicated by their green box links at the top of the page, near the search bar. I’m personally not a fan of those green buttons, especially because I don’t understand why it has a shadow outline (it looks ugly) and that I have to press an arrow button just to get to the “novel” link, but it gets the job done.

The search functions are good, but basic. They offer the standard type-in-keyword search, near their logo, and some checkbox function that cuts down your search to specifics, such as by genre and price range. It does a good job cutting down to a minimum, however, I feel like it would be better if there was an ability to search via sub-genres, specific keywords, and if “smut” joined their list of genres. If I wanted to see if they had a smutty, comedy/romance story between a student and teacher, I would very much like to get that specific. Currently searching “student” and “teacher” brings up more than a student-teacher relationship, which is understandable, since I’m sure the keyword search pulls from the summaries.

Via the book purchase/preview/details page, you can click the author’s name to search all manga by them and use the side function to limit that as well, which is cool. I kind of wonder why they don’t just put the authors in the side search options too. Are there just too many to do that?

Buying the manga is a pretty easy process, but can feel a bit confusing upon the first buy. When you go to the book pages and notice the buy button, you’ll notice it lists a number of formats you can download your manga in and how much it costs for an additional format (yeah, you pay usually a dollar for each format you download; it’s actually smart on their end). You’d think when you got to check out, you’d select the format(s) you’ll be downloading before you complete your order, but nope!

You have to first buy the books, then go to your library, then you download the format(s) you want. It’s not a bad design by any means, just feels a bit weird to do at first, but is easy to get used to. It gives you a bit of time to think about which format you want. I personally go with PDFs, as I’ve found I like their formatting the best for manga.

One of things I really like about the website is the points system. It’s actually used on DMP’s other sites, like Project-H, as well. Every time you make a purchase, 5% of it comes back as points (so it’s kind of like cash back, but not quite), and each point is a penny. It’s actually a brilliant idea on DMP part’s and I feel that it was executed surprisingly well. It’s pretty much the ultimate thank you, at the same time as saying “HEY, BUY MORE”. I know I want to buy more after realizing each point was a penny. Gotta rank up those points! It’s how a points system should be, in my opinion.

The book detail pages offers the ability for people to rate and review the manga, which is great for people trying to decide if they should buy it or not or have something to say about it. I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, but I hope to soon.

Book Offerings

eManga offers a range of books, mostly from DMP. I don’t think any other publishers, minus some original English Language manga ones, have joined them, but I could be wrong. Boys’ Love easily takes up most of the digital offerings, considering how many of such titles DMP has licensed. I wish some other publishers would join up with them to create one giant digital manga distribution center and offer a larger range of titles. While they’re not overly lacking in other genres, it would be nice to see the shoujo and shonen genres have just as many books as yaoi does.

eManga pretty much feels like the epicenter of Digital Manga Guild title distribution. I might be wrong about that, but it sure as heck feels like it should be if it’s not. It’s the first place I think of going when I want to see the localized DMG titles. There are A LOT of titles from DMG on there, which I highly recommend checking out.

Formats

I’m actually really surprised about how many formats they offer, but I’m glad they offer so many! They offer all the big, general formats, as well as some of the more app/device specific ones, so it’d be really surprising if you couldn’t find a format to fit your device.

I personally chose the .PDF format. It’s the most versatile of them all, being able to be read on any device. The PDFs are formatted well enough to make the reading experience pleasant. However, when I compare them to other .PDF manga I’ve purchased, namely from suBLime, the quality falls a bit short of expectations. All pages contain compression artifacts, which are more apparent around text. I’m not sure if it’s a compression issue or something else, but regardless, it makes the manga feel of lower quality. Sure, you don’t see it when the manga is displayed at 100% or lower, but if you zoom in just a bit, the artifacts show themselves.

Other than the disappointing amount of compression artifacts, which is present in the 3 manga I purchased, the formats seem great from my experiences.

Summary

Pros
– one-stop shop for digital manga titles, primarily from Digital Manga, Inc.
– Easy to use search functions
– A variety of formats for a variety of devices
– Points system
– Log in can be the same as Project-H

Cons
– Formats contain compression artifacts, which feels like a loss of quality and that the book format
– BL takes up most of the sites titles, leaving it short of a sufficient amount of shoujo and shonen
– Primarily titles from Digital Manga

Recommendation

I primarily recommend eManga to the digital BL manga reader. Yeah, I recommend the site to yaoi fangirls specifically since a large portion of the site’s titles is BL. Sure, there are other genres as well, but the most abundant is BL.

I also recommend the general digital manga reader to browse the site to see if anything catches your interest!