The next digital manga app I am going to discuss is from Yen Press. After starting off with the Viz Manga app, I had high hopes for the Yen Press app. The Yen Press app seems to be limited to only the iPad as of right now, so don’t expect to read the manga you’ve purchased elsewhere.
The selection of the Yen Press app started a little slow, with pretty much only American manga available. Eventually they were doing a good job to really increase the amount of manga available. They feature a decent mix of titles, from the smaller American manga to Shoujo to some very high profile series. You can find titles like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya, Yotsuba!, High School of the Dead, and more. Sadly they are lacking some other key titles from their catalog like K-On! and Bunny Drop. These are two titles I would love to own digitally. One other problem is the lack of Yen Plus, their monthly manga magazine. As a subscriber I find it very disappointing I can’t read it on my iPad. I just don’t enjoy sitting in front of my PC to read manga.
Unlike Viz Manga, Yen Press does not seem to have a regular schedule for when they update the app with new releases. Due to this, it can easily be around a couple weeks or more before anything is added. This can be extremely frustrating as a manga fan who does a lot of reading via these apps. I hope they can nail down a more rigid release schedule as they move forward. The browsing of titles is also a mixed bag. The best way to browse is by each series, since trying to browse all series can feel like a chore.
When it comes to quality of the manga, I feel they are on par with Viz Manga. Each page looks very clear and vibrant, and Yotsuba! in particular looks great. High School of the Dead has some color pages at the beginning of volume one and they look gorgeous on the iPad. Similar to Viz, changing pages does not require each page to come in to focus, so your reading isn’t interrupted by waiting for the next page to load.
Yen Press has varying prices of the manga they offer. They began with a hefty price of $8.99 per volume, which I find ridiculous considering I can usually find print copies for much cheaper. It really hindered my purchasing of manga early on, unless a sale was going on. Some later titles have been releasing at a more reasonable price point of $6.99. While this is still a tad higher than Viz’s pricing, it is much easier to swallow. Only a few series are at this price point currently, but I look forward to the day that Yen press brings the rest of its series in line with this pricing.
In the end, the Yen Press app is a solid starting point, but leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to a release schedule and pricing.They also really need to get their Yen Plus magazine available in the app itself. Trying to read through the iPad browser is frustrating and really broken. Considering it is already a digital experience, I can’t see any excuse as to why it isn’t available on the app. Thankfully these issues are easily remedied, and I think Yen Press can really make the improvements necessary to bring readers an excellent experience. I hold high hopes for this app in the future.
Top 3 Recommended Manga (Honestly, this is very limited due to their selection I find interesting and pricing):
- Omamori Himari
- High School of the Dead
Top 3 Most Wanted Manga:
- Bunny Drop
*UPDATE* Since I published this post this past Monday, Yen Press released a slew of new manga volumes (over 15 new volumes) on their service. We will see if this will be a new push to improve the service, but no indication that this will be a weekly release or just when they feel like updating. Most of the new volumes are at the $6.99 price point, but they still seem determined to price some series at $8.99 unfortunately. This is a step mostly in the right direction, but they do have a few more improvements before being considered top tier alongside Viz Media.