I feel like I’m at a stage when I need to start reading native Japanese media in order to advance in my Japanese learning. However, I am not sure how to look for books. So far I’ve only heard of Bookwalker.jp and of course Amazon.co.jp.
I’m primarily interested in digital books for now, as I’ll probably need to look up lots of vocab.
So, where do you get your books?
Are there any gotchas I should be aware of?
Any hints about prices and sales?
By the way, I’m in Europe, so I imagine some of the resource might be unavailable due to regional licenses
I wonder the same thing. Does anyone use Japanese kindle outside of Japan or is it impossible? A quick google search would probably answer my question but if any other great options are out there for people living outside Japan let us know!
I live in the us, and while I havent purchased any kindle books, I have “purchased” free books from the Japanese kindle store (kindle app on my phone, not actual kindle). Also paid books that became free for a limited time and went to paid again. I dont remember how I set it up 100%, but I think I had to set my phone to japanese region, and maybe set a random japanese address on amazon as well. This would probably be the same process on a tablet, not sure about an actual kindle, or paid books.
Edit for clarification: My phone is not currently set to japanese, I reverted it to english, but my kindle app is still in the japanese store. I can still get japanese books.
I do not like digital books, to me it just feels like a waste, I don’t actually feel like I own it. I do love reading on my kindle and phone though , it feels so nice compared to holding a book. Anyways I use Honto.jp a lot for physical books, but I have bought some e books on there and the web/app reader is pretty good. They usually have a lot of sales/coupons for digital books only.
If you are browsing on web browser, I think you must use a japanese vpn. If I want to download on my phone I dont need one, but for PC if you dont have one, I use Tunnelbear vpn, they have a free 500 mb trial per month(?) with japanese server too. Good for amazon jp and free.
I agree, I kinda get the feeling that I have a souvenir from japan when I read my physical books… Even though I haven’t been there (yet!)
I’ve been reading mostly free stuff in pixiv comics for now, but its mostly manga (not really sure if they have books other than manga actually). They also sell digital stuff, and I think you can pay using paypal via Google Play if you’re using the app. You pay for the “coins” and you use the coins to purchase chapters/volumes.
This is how it looks while you read in the app:
I just want to agree that physical book is better and that Dr. Stone manga is too beautiful to ignore
I use Satori reader. They have a read a loud function so you can try to shadow it or just learn how words are pronounced. You can choose which furigana should be displayed and you can look up words while reading. You can add words you don’t know and want to learn to a study list. And in case you really don’t get the sentence they have the option to look at a translation and they explain expressions. That makes the looking up and learning new vocabulary part very easy.
The downside is there is a free version and only monthly and yearly payment (no lifetime). You can read a lot in the free version too. It is probably not that helpful if you are advanced but if you start reading japanese it is a great resource.
You need a Japanese address and phone number. (I…may have used a site that generates fake Japanese addresses and phone numbers.)
I need to have two separate accounts for buying from the US and Japanese stores.
You have to log out of the app to switch logins, and redownload books. Merging accounts solves this, but that merged my (unnecessary) shipping address. I needed to change it between buying from the US or Japanese stores. However, after a few times that ended up breaking that page for me, even after I unmerged my accounts, so I had to work with support to fix it before I could buy from the US store again.
(This will be true for any store.). Books have DRM meaning I can’t read them without the Kobo app which is not available for my Linux desktop computer. I do have a Windows virtual machine set up for work, so it’s possible I may be downloading my purchases there and using a program to remove the DRM so I can read the books I paid for right on my main computer setup.
Pro: Books are EPUB3 rather than a proprietary format.
Pro: My US credit union MasterCard network debit card works just fine for making purchases.
Overall, the only real issue for me is I wish I could have merged accounts working, but that’s clearly designed for two accounts from the same region.