Best Manga Subscription Services [Options for Readers, Authors & Publishers]

Manga is no longer a niche category,” says Kevin Hamric, VP of Publishing and Sales at Viz Media. 

Its art style, genre diversity, engaging narrative, and serialized format that keeps readers interested have made manga a publishing phenomenon.

Manga's grip on the North American graphic novel market is undeniable. Just look at the many manga subscription services that translate original Japanese manga into English to be accessible to a larger audience. 

So, which are the best manga subscription services? This article is for readers in search of good manga apps and authors who wish to distribute manga.

If you’re an author or publisher and want to distribute manga, you should know that PublishDrive distributes to many digital libraries, where manga is available to millions of readers, including hoopla and bibliotheca, which are on the list. ⬇️

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A. For Readers: Where Can You Read Manga Legally?

This question pops up frequently on the internet (according to the traffic the corresponding keyword gets, anyway).

If you want to read manga online, you’ll probably have to pay for a manga subscription. These manga websites or apps usually give a chapter or a preview for free, but then you either have to buy the title you want to read or subscribe to a membership.

However, there is an option to read manga for free – digital libraries. Bibliotheca, hoopla, Libby – these libraries have manga titles users can access with just a library card.

Let’s see where to read manga legally.

1. J-Novel Club (Browser)

J-Novel Club is one of the best manga sites that offers so much more. It specializes in delivering light novels, a genre of Japanese literature, to English readers. Their unique approach is to offer early access to fresh content. They release light novels in installments, mirroring the publishing style in Japan. Subscribers gain access to these weekly segments, granting them a sneak peek before the official English release.

J-Novel Club prioritizes community building. They actively encourage interaction between readers, management, translators, and editors through forums, social media, and Discord.

The company has expanded beyond digital offerings – since 2018, they've published physical editions of popular series. That year, they also started to publish manga.

In 2019, J-Novel Club launched J-Novel Heart, an imprint focused on romance light novels.

There are three ways to read their titles:

➡️Free Account: You can create a free account to access previews of all their series.

➡️Regular Member ($4.95/month or $54/year): This membership grants access to the latest chapters of ongoing light novels as they are translated before they are available for purchase in stores. Additionally, regular members receive a 5% discount on J-Novel Coins used to purchase ebooks.

➡️Premium Member ($6.95/month): This membership includes all the benefits of a Regular Membership, plus:

  • 699 J-Novel Coins every month: These coins can be used to redeem any "Premium" light novel directly from J-Novel Club (most cost 699 coins).
  • Bonus 699 J-Novel Coins upon signup.
  • Ability to download ebooks: Regular members can't download ebooks, but premium members can download their purchases for offline reading.
  • 15% discount on J-Novel Coins: Premium members get a steeper discount when buying coins with real money.

2. VIZ Manga (Android, iOS)

VIZ Media is one of the best manga subscription services, being an international authority on manga. VIZ Media publishes manga and distributes and licenses Japanese anime, films, and television series.

VIZ Media has its own app called the VIZ app. It includes works from various genres, such as action, horror, romance, and more.

With the VIZ subscription, you can read pretty much anything published by VIZ Media. This means you can enjoy manga like Junji Ito's works, Komi Can't Communicate, and Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead. VIZ subscription cost is only $1.99/month, and you can access a library of 10,000+ manga chapters.

Additionally, you can buy manga volumes on the VIZ Media app if you prefer not to subscribe. VIZ Manga titles are also available on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble.

The VIZ Media website serves as a hub for various manga titles, including both VIZ Media’s own publications and Shonen Jump titles.

3. Shonen Jump (Android, iOS, Browser)

Shonen Jump is a popular shōnen manga anthology published in North America by Viz Media. It debuted in November 2002, featuring serialized chapters from various manga series, articles on Japanese culture, and content related to manga, anime, video games, and figurines.

Shonen Jump is the broader brand name that includes not just the weekly print magazine but also digital manga platforms like Shonen Jump+ (or Jump+), as well as international editions like the North American Weekly Shonen Jump.

Weekly Shonen Jump is the flagship print magazine, published weekly in Japan, that features serialized manga chapters from various popular Shonen series.

With a Shonen Jump membership, you can access popular series like My Hero Academia and Jujutsu Kaisen. The Shonen Jump subscription costs $2.99/month, and you can unlock up to 100 chapters daily from the Shonen Jump digital vault of 15,000+ manga chapters. To subscribe, download the Shonen Jump app on iOS or Android. In addition to the subscription, this manga website offers free titles.

4. Book Walker (Android, iOS, PC, Mac)

Book Walker is a global ebook store for manga and light novels. This manga reading website offers a subscription service through its "Pre-order" and "Subscribe to Series" functions. These functions allow you to automatically purchase new releases of ebooks or specific manga series as soon as they become available.

Both functions work for ebooks and Simulpub series (manga chapters released simultaneously with Japan).

5. Renta! (Browser)

Renta! is an official digital manga store specializing in romance manga, offering a wide variety of love stories across various subgenres.

Renta! gives you two ways to enjoy their manga: 48-hour rentals and unlimited access. If you're unsure about a title, you can try it out for 48 hours first. Then, you can upgrade to unlimited access during the rental period if you get hooked.

Payments can be made directly or through points purchased in bulk. If you’re a manga fan, it’s best to use the points system, as Renta! gives discounts to frequent users.

6. Mangamo (Android, iOS)

Mangamo is one of the best manga reading apps, with a large library of over 1,000 titles and 20,000 chapters. They offer officially licensed manga curated by a dedicated editorial team and professionally translated into English.

For $4.99 per month, you get unlimited access to 50+ exclusive titles and thousands more chapters from popular series.

You can also buy coins to redeem for chapters or volumes of manga series that are available for purchase. Most manga series have free chapters, and many series in the Plus catalog include Daily Free Chapters, where you can read one chapter per day.

So, if you’ve been searching for a place where to read mangas on phone, this app is for you.

7. INKR Comics (Android, iOS)

INKR Comics is among the best manga subscription apps, offering a wide range of comics, manga, webtoons, and more.

With over 1,000 diverse titles available, users can explore various genres like action, romance, comedy, horror, drama, isekai, slice of life, sci-fi, and more within a single app.

INKR Comics offers personalized recommendations based on users' reading preferences through an AI-powered content recommendation engine.

INKR Comics offers a subscription-based model called "INKR Extra" that costs $4.99 per month. Some series require an additional purchase via coins.

INKR Comics offers creators three ways to make money: ads displayed alongside their comics, subscriptions where readers pay a fee for access, and pay-per-chapter where readers unlock chapters with a virtual currency. Creators can choose the model that best suits them, potentially earning from ads, subscriptions, and individual chapter purchases.

If you’re a publisher who wants to distribute manga to INKR Comics, here’s where you can find more information.

8. Manga Plus (iOS, Android)

Manga Plus is another great manga subscription app – the official service of Shueisha (publisher of Shonen Jump). Here, you can find popular titles like those in Shonen Jump, with early access to series from other Shueisha magazines.

Manga Plus has a subscription-based service called "Manga Plus Max" that offers two subscription tiers:

  • Standard Plan: priced at $1.99 per month,
  • Deluxe Plan: priced at $4.99 per month (with regional pricing variations)

The Standard Plan provides unlimited access to over 6,000 chapters of currently serializing manga titles, while the Deluxe Plan includes over 15,000 chapters of both ongoing and completed manga series.

Both subscription plans are ad-free and only available on the mobile app, not the web version of MANGA Plus.

The platform still has a free reading option that allows access to a limited number of chapters, but the new subscription service offers expanded content and features for paying users.

9. ComiXology (iOS, Android, and Fire OS)

For many, ComiXology is the best place to read manga. This is because, in addition to reading manga, readers can also access Marvel, DC, or Image comics.

ComiXology has a subscription-based service, ComiXology Unlimited.

Here's the deal with Amazon and ComiXology to understand everything better:

  • Acquisition: Amazon acquired Comixology in 2014, making it a subsidiary.
  • Separate subscriptions: While owned by Amazon, ComiXology Unlimited and Kindle Unlimited remain separate subscription services.
  • Content differences: Kindle Unlimited focuses primarily on ebooks, including a limited selection of comics, while ComiXology Unlimited specializes in comics, graphic novels, and manga, offering a much wider selection.
  • Kindle integration: In December 2023, Comixology was officially merged into the Kindle app. However, ComiXology Unlimited remains a separate subscription accessible through the Kindle app.

ComiXology Unlimited vs. Kindle Unlimited:

  • ComiXology Unlimited: Offers access to a vast library of over 45,000 comics, graphic novels, and manga for a monthly subscription fee ($5.99/month plus applicable tax until you cancel)

Kindle Unlimited: Provides access to a broader range of ebooks, including a smaller selection of comics, for a different monthly subscription fee.

10. Forbidden Planet (Browser)

Forbidden Planet is a UK and worldwide cult entertainment megastore that offers a wide range of products related to comics, manga, science fiction, fantasy, and pop culture. The website is for fans who shop for various merchandise, including comics, graphic novels, collectibles, toys, apparel, and more.

One of the things Forbidden Planet is known for is its comic book subscription service. This allows you to subscribe to individual comics, manga, and magazines so that you never miss an issue. You can browse by publisher, title, or artist/writer.

The customer will receive a monthly, automated order containing all their subscribed comics with upcoming releases. The pricing for subscriptions for manga titles varies depending on the specific manga series you choose to subscribe to. When you subscribe to manga titles through Forbidden Planet, you will be charged once a month for the issues you select to receive.

11. Manga Planet (Browser)

Manga Planet is one of the best websites to read manga online. It offers a vast selection of manga genres, including spicy romance.

With Manga Planet, you have three options to read licensed digital Japanese manga:

  • Read Free: Free previews of selected chapters
  • Individual Purchases: This is perfect for those who seek specific titles. The titles can be either purchased or digitally rented.
  • Manga Planet Pass: Gives you access to a vast selection of manga for a fixed price. You can choose from five different plans: 1 Week (1.99 USD), 1 Month (6.99 USD), 3 Months (17.99 USD), 6 Months (29.99 USD), and 12 Months (47.99 USD).

B. For Readers, Authors & Publishers

Authors and publishers can distribute their manga titles easily through digital libraries and other ebook stores and retailers via PublishDrive. But since we’re talking about manga subscription services, let’s see a few digital libraries that work great for authors (they earn royalties) and readers (they can access manga titles for free with only a library card, so a different kind of subscription).

1. Libby (iOS, Android, Amazon Appstore, Browser)

Libby is a well-known digital library for ebooks, digital audiobooks, and magazines from public libraries, but it also has lots of great manga titles. The great thing about Libby is that all you need to access free manga titles is a library card or access through your workplace or university.

Through Libby, users can also access the library system of The Japan Foundation, which has various Japanese titles. The Japan Foundation Los Angeles is available only in the US, and you can become a member of the JF digital library system by completing this form. The foundation is also available in Toronto.

2. hoopla (iOS, Android, Amazon Appstore, Browser)

hoopla is also a digital library. It’s a good place for authors and publishers to distribute manga and a free manga app for readers – all they need is a library card, and they can read popular manga series like Attack on Titan, Battle Angel Alita, and Berserk.

To ensure an authentic reading experience, hoopla has updated its ActionView feature, allowing users to follow the story panel-by-panel in the traditional right-to-left format.

hoopla is accessible to library cardholders of participating libraries in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Users can borrow, download, and stream manga through the free hoopla app or hoople’s website.

3. bibliotheca (iOS, Android, Browser)

Bibliotheca offers Comics Plus, a service that provides library readers with unlimited, simultaneous access to over 25,000 digital comics, graphic novels, and manga. The collection includes popular titles like Avatar: The Last Airbender & The Legend of Korra, Big Nate, Bone, Disney Princesses, Geronimo Stilton, Stranger Things, Locke & Key, American Gods, and more.

This collection is primarily in English and is beneficial for readers learning English as a second language.

Wrapping Up

So, if you want to know where to read manga online (it’s the best solution for those true fans who don’t have any more room left in their bookshelves), this list is a good starting point. You can go for manga subscription services or try your digital library.