Introducing Natively - A free community book sharing site with over 9800 popular books graded by difficulty

Thanks! Somehow I was only checking the drop down options and missed the big red button at the bottom…


@Naphthalene you are correct that I used to make the book finished upon rating, however I found that a lot of people were accidentally marking their book finished because of that.

Let me know if you don’t like that, will take your vote into consideration :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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No, don’t worry, it’s fine now that I know about it. :slight_smile:

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Better question is, why are people rating books they haven’t finished? Are they at least marking the books as “Stopped”, indicating that they gave the book a shot?


You’re right that I don’t really want ratings when you’re still in progress. But i prefer you give a rating in progress than marking it stoped or finished accidentally and then being prompted to grade it.

At least that’s my perspective. Open to other opinions!

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I’ve rated some books I haven’t finished because I liked the English version, so it stands to reason that I would still enjoy the Japanese version.

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I considered that, but potentially you wouldn’t like the Japanese version as much because of the difficulty or writing style. In any case, I don’t care if people rate things without finishing the book in Japanese first. I was just curious.


I understand why you’d feel this way, but given the number of people who seem to hate the Japanese version of Harry Potter I can’t help but wonder if sometimes that won’t be the case. :sweat_smile:


Oh, why do people hate the Japanese version of Harry Potter? I’m not one to read Japanese translations of English books, so I don’t know first hand. Is it just a bad translation? Do they hate seeing a ton of katakana for all the made up words?

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It seems like a mix of three things from what I’ve seen online:

  1. It’s a precious part of their childhood memories so any sense of deviation from the True Text irks them.
  2. The characters’ dialogue was translated to be in something of a 物語 or anime style. It’s been awhile since I read any of the books but IIRC Snape would use words like 吾輩, Dumbledore would use わし and generally speak like a old man, and Hermione spoke quite femininely.
  3. Claims that it’s overall a bad translation

I think the stereotypical speaking styles especially rubbed people wrong because they can feel contrary to how the characters are portrayed in English. For the claims that it’s a bad translation - given they were some of the first books I read in Japanese I honestly wouldn’t have known. I mostly just found the very literal translation of things like O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s rather unpleasant to read.


I haven’t signed up for this site yet and I’m not sure if the question has been asked before, but can users add series?

I noticed the Shirokuma cafe series doesn’t have the today’s special last time I looked. Technically they’re separate publications and I would put today’s special a little bit higher in difficulty (like 1 or 2 levels), but they are part of the same series (same characters, continuing storylines,etc.).

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Yes - at the bottom of the search page there’s an add book button which links you to a request form. All I need is an amazon link and I’ll add it for you. If it’s one volume in a series, simply mark it as ‘part of a series’ and I’ll add the entire series :slight_smile:

Most of the books you see on the site were added from user requests.


The first three volumes of 鹿の王 have the cover and Amazon links for the 角川つばさ version instead of the regular version.

Also, for external links like Amazon, you may want to have them open the links in a new tab.


I’ve done the opposite by reading both official and fan translations of some books I’ve read in japanese, and I might be in the minority with this one but I consider translations to be a different book entirely. I don’t think I’ve ever hated a translation necessarily, but part of that is because I know loss is inevitable through translation and its not necessarily the translators fault. I could see how changing things that weren’t necessary could be annoying, but from my standpoint of regarding it as a different book entirely its not something I would personally be upset about. At that point, its the translators book, not the original authors in my mind and they can do whatever they want.

Obviously I don’t go around telling all my non japanese speaking friends that the monogatari series that they watched or read isn’t the original one and is a 劣化コピー because thats just obnoxious, but I think its true.


I obviously have no manual quotation skills :laughing:

Talking about Harry Potter, I believe lots of people recommend it as a first novel if you’ve read the original; however, it’s not that easy so might not be suitable.

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Just in case you don’t know (someone had to tell me), in order to quote you need to highlight the other person’s text and click ‘quote’ :slight_smile:

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Taking a slight detour here! Due to feedback on JLPT estimates, I decided to prioritize that over the activity updates laid out in the previous update’s ‘upcoming’. Will be working on those initiatives in the upcoming sprint.


Remapping JLPT Estimates

After chatting with some users, I’ve decided to implement new JLPT estimates. Don’t worry - the levels didn’t change, just the JLPT estimate. The only levels I had to change were textbooks as those books are benchmarked to JLPT.

As you can see, JLPT N5 has increased to a 13 level range (0-12), whereas the rest are only 7. My thoughts on how I came to these ranges:

  • Crystal Hunters - L10 should be N5 (the creators explicity build it with JLPT N5 in mind)
  • Japanese Short Stories for Beginners - L13 should be at the beginning of N4 (from personal experience and user reviews)
  • Generally, people seem to tackle their first manga after Genki II, which is why I’ve tried to keep the easier manga (lvl 19/20) at the start of N3
  • I’ve gotten feedback that the easier Light Novels should be in N2, not N3 (such as Kino’s journey - L27)
  • I’ve also been told 天冥の標 - L36 would be too difficult for N2

Putting all this information together with my own experience and investigation, the new JLPT ranges seemed like the best fit.

These estimations are, of course, very approximate and I have become a less keen to emphasize the estimations rather than levels. For instance, I no longer have JLPT tags on the homepage and I more strongly guide on the Our Grading System page around the difficulties with JLPT estimation.

In the future, I may add a ‘recommend a JLPT Grammar level’ widget in the book review popup. Compiling these ratings could be a better way to gauge JLPT level separate from general difficulty.

If you have any thoughts on the current JLPT estimates, please let me know!

Patreon & Kofi Support Pages

You can now support Natively on Patreon or Kofi!

If you’re enjoying Natively and want to show your appreciation with a tip, I’d love it. :slight_smile:


Bookwalker freebies

You’ll now notice a lot more free manga - that’s because I now make sure to mark any freebies from BookWalker.


For this sprint, I’ll be refocusing on on the ‘upcoming’ from my last announcement… as I got sidetracked:

  • Allowing users to mark book updates / page tracking. Ex: Read pgs 1 - 171
  • Adding activity tracking & streaks
  • Allowing users to block other users from following them

And please - do check out the JLPT estimates and see what you think. I have the system configured so that I can change them again more easily if needed.

Thanks :slight_smile:


I got a little confused by Kofi’s UI and gave you a large “cup of coffee” when I was just trying to set it up for monthly :sweat_smile: Enjoy it anyhow as I don’t shop off Amazon and am ever adding non-Amazon affiliate links to your site.

Re: levels - it will never be perfect but I do appreciate the level set. It’s hard to remember what “N4” level content feels like, especially as I imagine a lot of folks probably hit N3-ish, jumped into native material and didn’t look back.

Re: streaks - Would it be hard to implement it so that can we turn them off as an individual? Maybe I’m the minority but streaks just stress me out, they don’t motivate me.

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Well… I’m super flattered, thank you! I’ll be caffinated for days :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

That’s good to know and I agree. Now I mostly just try to read native content and some grammar rules as I encounter them… so I have very little sense of the N2/N3 divide. Part of why I’m curious around collecting JLPT recommendations from those who are familiar with them.

Absolutely. I’ll keep that in mind.

Also, I don’t really get the point of streaks for a site like this. Are people really going to visit the site every day just to input how much they’ve read? It doesn’t seem like there’d be much benefit to doing that. Personally, I just mark when I finish a book, and I’d never do more than mark a book as started and then finished.

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