What if you don’t want to read manhwa on your phone or computer?
Until recently, this digital-only nature of manhwa was one of the largest impediments for manga readers. After years of reading physically, the transition to digital isn’t natural for everyone, and if you enjoy the “logging off” feeling that reading gives you, then reading online is problematic.
Thankfully, 2022 has seen a huge surge in the number of physically-printed manhwa, chiefly spear-headed by Yen Press, with other publishers such as Seven Seas and Lezhin Comics entering the competition too.
As you can imagine, physical manhwa differ a little from their digital counterparts, so let’s check out what’ll be different.
The first difference between digital and physical lies with the visual “flow.” The graphic designers and editorial departments at the publishing houses have a difficult problem at hand: How do you take a vertical comic and convert it to a paneled page?
To solve the issue, the designers have cut, trimmed, moved, and re-arranged the vertical panels into the familiar panel-based layout. We think publishers—particularly Yen Press, via their Ize Press manhwa house—have done a terrific job converting vertical content into a traditional style!
The next difference is a more difficult one to figure out—the price. Compared to manga, physical manhwa are more expensive, somewhere in the range of USD$7 more than manga. This makes sense when you consider that manhwa are full-color (which uses more ink, and requires thicker pages) and that the editors have done all the rearrangements we mentioned above.
Unfortunately, trying to compare physical manhwa to digital manhwa prices is an exercise in frustration and futility. Depending on what website you use and the coin/token cost, there are far too many variables to definitively say what’s cheaper. Reading episodically isn’t always the most cost-effective solution, but coins/tokens can be spent on multiple serials, and websites with free chapters can help plenty.
We encourage you to explore the pricing yourself to figure out what makes sense for your own budget!