Apps for manga/novels on iOS

Since I started being able to somewhat read Japanese, I’ve struggled to find a convenient source for buying digital novels and manga that would be easily accessible on my phone (iOS.)

The issues I would come across were:

  1. Credit cards outside of Japan were not accepted.
  2. Only English versions of the content.
  3. Outdated libraries.
  4. App only available within Japan.

With issue 1. I found that sites which usually only allow cards issued within Japan, also allow cards from online/international banks such as Wise, Revolut, etc.

For issues 2-4, they can all be resolved by creating a new iCloud account and setting the country as Japan. This will give you access to all apps within the Japanese App Store. Note that you cannot change an already existing account to a different country without providing an address as well as a payment method. It will also remove all your downloaded music each time you switch accounts if you use apple music.

Apps I recommend for novels/manga:
Book Walker - Most useful imo. Large library, books can be downloaded and payments can be made with apple pay directly within the app.
ジャンププラス - Mainly manga as well as weekly Shonen Jump. Unable to download content.
ゼブラック - Same company as the Shonen Jump app, with a focus on general literature rather than manga. Unable to download content.
Kindle - Not as convenient since you cant make purchases from within the app, limited library.
ブック放題 - Large catalogue of free manga.
ebookjapan - Large catalogue of free manga/novels.

知恵袋 - General Q&A site, useful for getting used to colloquial Japanese.
ABEMA - Free Japanese TV.
日経新聞 - Interesting news stories.

Hope this helps.


Thanks for the recommendations!

There is already the Resources for Starting to Read Japanese Content page - maybe you could merge your information in there so that we have everything in one place?

Also, if you pay through the app you miss out on certain reductions, I think - was it coin cashbacks? That would take away half of Bookwalker’s attractiveness for me as I usually try to buy during 40% or 50% coin cashback sales periods.


Does Kobo not have an IOS app?

Will posting it in the comments be fine or would I have to talk with the creator of the post?

I didn’t know Bookwalker also did coin cashback. Would make sense why they don’t offer it in app since apple take a 30% cut. Will look into it!

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That is a wiki so you can edit it yourself and add your information in the relevant places. If there is a linked post that you would like to edit and that has not yet been turned into a wiki, you can check back with the original author of that post, and if they are not here any more, you can ping the mods to have the post turned into a wiki.

Yes I also think that’s why.

So I always buy my Bookwalker books on my computer while I read them in the iOS app. Win-win-combo :grin:


Kindle has kindle ultimate. It’s priced in a way, that if you read enough (and are willing to try out new titles most likely), then it’s probably worth it. It’s a 1000 yen a month, which is slightly more expensive than your average manga would be, but for sure cheaper than 2, and it’s cheaper than most books.

Also, amazon has a point system as well, though the rates aren’t the best (most of the time 1% of the price).

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Had no idea this was a thing. Will check it out :smiley:

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Manga I’ve bought cost between 500-650JPY, novels ~750JPY. Sounds worth it if you read more than 2 volumes of manga a month, though it does look like they have a limited catalogue when it comes to “popular” manga.

Yeah, it’s best if you want to try new titles relatively often.

Btw thank you for telling me this. I had no idea and never bothered to look.

Here the total cost was 2800円, but I used ~800 coins so it ended up being 2000円. On top of that they gave me 1000 coins in return. So I can do it again I guess.

I mean these are only digital copies so I get why they can do stuff like this. But I had no idea and would have probably kept paying 650 per volume through the app :sweat_smile:


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