Yen Press App: the future of manga

Source: Yen Press

I have yet to hear back from the Yen Press App developer I emailed with interview questions, but I might as well dabble out my thoughts while it’s still fresh for this post.

The iPad app was released mid-January and allows users to download popular manga titles for $8.99 a pop. I was surprised they cost only $1 cheaper than most paperback copies, but perhaps that will be something they change once more publishers release similar apps.

There’s also not a lot of variety in the number of titles to choose from, but they do have some of their newer titles on hand. The app is free to download and opens up to a pretty simple but interesting design. The top third of the page has three manga covers featured and bottom part consists of a list of titles. You can switch this bottom part between “new releases” and “fun stuff” pages, which list the manga title, cover image, description and  price.

The “fun stuff” consists of free downloads mainly authored by Yen Press staff members about their office adventures. It’s pretty cute and offers an inside view of the staff. All of the “new release” titles can be previewed for free, which is a definite must if your expected to pay $8.99 per download.

You can also view your account information, downloads, and give the developers feedback on a separate page of the app, which is pretty handy if you want to go back and read one of the titles you previously downloaded.

I ended up buying “The Clique v1” (read my review below) and enjoyed the virtual experience. Every page was clear and easy to read, and you can switch between single and double page view by turning the iPad. I could scroll through the pages with ease, but had a hard time at first locating the “touch area” that would take me back to the main menu.

I’ve read manga scanlations on my laptop and iPhone plenty of times before, but the experience and portability of reading on an iPad is unmatchable. It’s fun, clear and an easy way to expand your manga collection without taking up room on your shelves.

Sadly enough, I had to return the iPad I checked out from the J-school last week. If I win the lottery or have a spare $500 in my pocket dreams, I would love to invest in an iPad of my own. I definitely see the Yen Press app as the manga reading experience of the future, and I’m excited to see what the publishers will bring next.

Ways to improve: cheaper manga titles/a monthly subscription fee to access as many titles as you want, more options and a review/comment forum for readers to leave their opinions of what they just read.

Liz’s rating: ★★★