Does Manga Count as Books? Exploring the Definition of “Book” and Its Application to Manga

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If you’re an avid reader, you might have wondered whether “Does manga count as books?” Manga is a Japanese art form that tells stories through images and text. It has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among younger readers. However, some argue that manga is not a legitimate form of literature and should not be considered books.

Understanding manga is essential to determine whether it counts as a book. Manga is a unique storytelling medium that combines art and literature. It is read from right to left, and the stories are often serialized, with each chapter building on the previous one. Manga covers a wide range of genres, from action and adventure to romance and comedy, and it appeals to readers of all ages. But does it qualify as reading material in the same way that traditional books do?

Key Takeaways

  • Manga is a unique storytelling medium that combines art and literature.
  • Manga covers various genres and appeals to readers of all ages.
  • Whether or not manga counts as book is a matter of personal opinion.

Understanding Manga – Does Manga Count as books?

If you’re new to manga, understanding what it is and how it differs from traditional books can be a bit overwhelming. This section will explore the basics of manga and its unique place in Japanese culture.

Defining Manga

Manga is a Japanese style of comics that often features distinctive art styles and storytelling techniques. It’s a popular form of entertainment in Japan and has gained a following around the world. Manga is typically read from right to left, which can confuse those reading left to right.

Manga as an Art Form

Manga is not just a form of entertainment but also an art form. The artwork in mangas is often highly detailed and expressive, with a focus on conveying emotion and movement. Some manga artists, such as Akira Toriyama, creator of Dragon Ball, have gained international recognition for their work.

Manga and Japanese Culture

Manga is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture and has been a part of it for decades. It’s not uncommon to see people of all ages reading manga on public transportation or in cafes. Manga covers a wide range of topics, from action and adventure to romance and comedy, and is enjoyed by people of all ages.

In Japan, manga is often adapted into anime, which are animated TV shows or movies. This has helped to popularize manga further and bring it to a wider audience. Manga has also influenced other forms of Japanese art, such as video games and cosplay.

Overall, manga is a unique and fascinating art form that has captured the hearts of many around the world. Whether you’re a longtime fan or just discovering it for the first time, there’s no denying manga’s impact on Japanese culture and beyond.

Does manga count as books? Magna characters
Image Credit Depositphotos jemastock

Manga vs Books

Comparing Mediums

Regarding reading, there are different mediums to choose from, including books and manga. Books are typically composed of written text, while manga is a Japanese comic book style that uses images to tell a story. While both mediums share the goal of conveying a narrative to the reader, they differ in their approach.

Books rely on written language to convey the narrative, while manga combines images and text. This means that manga can be more visually engaging, while books can be more immersive in language and description. Additionally, books typically have a wider range of genres and topics, while manga is often associated with specific genres such as action, romance, and fantasy.

Similarities and Differences

Despite their differences, books and manga share some similarities. Both mediums can provide a form of escapism and entertainment for the reader and offer insights into different cultures and perspectives. They can also promote literacy and critical thinking skills.

However, there are also some key differences between the two mediums. For example, manga is often read from right to left, which can take some getting used to for readers unfamiliar with the format. Additionally, manga is often serialized, meaning that the story is released in installments over time, while books are typically released as a complete work.

Regarding content, manga often features more action and visual spectacle, while books can offer more in-depth character development and exploration of themes. However, there are exceptions to these generalizations, and both mediums can offer a wide range of stories and genres.

Whether you prefer books or manga ultimately depends on personal preference and what you seek in a narrative medium. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and both can provide a fulfilling reading experience.

Genres in Manga

Manga is a Japanese comic book art form that has become popular worldwide. It includes a wide range of genres that cater to different audiences and tastes. Understanding the different genres of manga can help you find the type of manga that appeals to you the most.


Action is one of the most popular genres in manga. It includes stories that are fast-paced, thrilling, and full of adventure. Action manga often features fight scenes, martial arts, and superpowers. Examples of popular action manga include Dragon Ball, Naruto, and One Piece.


Adventure manga is similar to action manga but focuses more on exploration and discovery. It often features characters traveling to exotic locations, encountering new cultures, and facing dangerous challenges. Examples of popular adventure manga include Fullmetal Alchemist, Hunter x Hunter, and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.


Mystery manga includes stories that are full of suspense and intrigue. It often features detectives, crime-solving, and puzzles that the reader can solve along with the characters. Examples of popular mystery manga include Death Note, Case Closed, and Monster.


Romance manga is a genre that focuses on love and relationships. It often features characters falling in love, confessing their feelings, and overcoming obstacles to be together. Romance manga can be further divided into sub-genres such as shojo (targeted at young girls) and josei (targeted at adult women). Examples of popular romance manga include Fruits Basket, Ouran High School Host Club, and Kimi ni Todoke.


Fantasy manga includes stories in fictional worlds with magical or supernatural elements. It often features creatures such as dragons, elves, and wizards. Fantasy manga can be further divided into various sub-genres, such as isekai (where the protagonist is transported to another world) and shonen (mangas specifically targeted at young boys). Examples of popular fantasy manga include Berserk, Attack on Titan, and Sword Art Online.

In conclusion, manga includes a wide range of genres that cater to different audiences and tastes. Understanding the different genres of manga can help you find the type of manga that appeals to you the most.

The Manga Creation Process

Manga is a Japanese art form that tells stories through images. The creation process of manga is complex and involves a team of professionals who work together to bring the story to life. This section will discuss the manga creation process, including writing, illustration, publishing, and serialization.

Writing and Illustration

The first step in creating a manga is writing the story. The author creates a plot, characters, and setting. Once the story is written, the illustrator creates the artwork. The illustrator draws the story’s characters, backgrounds, and other visual elements. The author and illustrator work closely to ensure that the story and artwork complement each other.

Publishing and Serialization

Once the manga is complete, it is time to publish and serialize it. The publisher is responsible for printing and distributing the manga. The publisher also works with the author and illustrator to ensure the manga meets their standards. The serialized magazines are a popular way to publish manga in Japan. The magazines are released weekly or monthly; each issue contains several manga series. Readers can follow their favorite series as they are released.

The editor plays a crucial role in the serialization process. The editor works with the author and illustrator to ensure the manga meets the magazine’s standards. The editor also provides feedback and suggestions to improve the story and artwork. The editor ensures the manga is completed on time and meets the serialization schedule.

In addition to the author and illustrator, assistants also play a role in creating manga. Assistants help with the artwork, such as drawing backgrounds or inking. They also help with other tasks, such as research or lettering. The number of assistants depends on the size and complexity of the manga.

In conclusion, the manga creation process is a team effort that involves many professionals. The author, illustrator, publisher, editor, and assistants bring the story to life together.

Manga in the Global Context

Manga has become a cultural phenomenon transcending borders and reaching audiences worldwide. It has been translated into various languages and has gained popularity in countries such as the United States and Europe. This section will explore the global context of manga and its impact on the comic book industry.

Translations and Sales

Manga has been translated into various languages, including English, Spanish, French, and German, among others.  The popularity of manga has also led to the creation of anime adaptations of popular series, further expanding its reach.

Manga’s popularity has not been limited to Japan and the United States. In Europe, manga has also gained a significant following, with France being one of the largest markets outside of Japan.

Manga’s Influence on Comics and Graphic Novels

Manga has significantly influenced the comic book industry, with many artists and writers drawing inspiration from its unique style. The popularity of manga has also led to the creation of manga-inspired comics and graphic novels, which have gained their own following.

In the United States, manga has influenced the creation of graphic novels such as “Scott Pilgrim” and “Persepolis,” which incorporate elements of manga into their storytelling and art style. Similarly, in Europe, manga has influenced the creation of graphic novels such as “Blacksad” and “Sky Doll.”

In conclusion, manga has become a global phenomenon that has significantly impacted the comic book industry. Its popularity has led to the creation of manga-inspired comics and graphic novels, and its unique style has influenced artists and writers worldwide.

Reading Manga

When it comes to reading manga, there are two main ways to do it: the traditional reading style and online platforms.

Traditional Reading Style

Traditionally, manga is read from right to left, which may be different from what you’re used to if you’re used to reading books from left to right. The text is also typically accompanied by pictures, which can help to convey the story uniquely.

If you’re new to reading manga, it may take a little getting used to. However, once you get the hang of it, you may find it a fun and engaging way to read.

Online Platforms

In recent years, many online platforms have emerged that allow you to read manga online. This can be a convenient option if you don’t have access to physical copies of manga or if you prefer to read on your computer or mobile device.

One thing to remember when reading manga online is that the reading style may differ from what you’re used to. Some online platforms may display the pages from left to right instead of right to left, which can be confusing if you’re used to the traditional reading style.

Whether you read manga in the traditional style or online, it can be a unique and enjoyable way to read. Keep in mind that the reading style may take some getting used to if you’re new to it.

Popular Manga Series

Manga is a form of Japanese comics that has gained immense popularity worldwide. Some popular manga series include Dragon Ball, One Piece, and Case Closed. These series have captured the hearts of readers of all ages and have become an integral part of the manga culture.

Dragon Ball is a classic manga series that has existed since the 1980s. Created by Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball follows the adventures of Goku, a young boy with superhuman strength who quests to find the seven Dragon Balls. The series has spawned numerous spin-offs, movies, and video games and has become a cultural phenomenon.

One Piece is another popular manga series that has been serialized since 1997. Created by Eiichiro Oda, One Piece follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, a young pirate who can stretch his body like rubber. The series has become one of the best-selling manga series of all time and has been adapted into an anime series, movies, and video games.

Case Closed, also known as Detective Conan, is a manga series created by Gosho Aoyama. The series follows the adventures of a young detective named Shinichi Kudo, who is transformed into a child after being poisoned. The series has been serialized since 1994 and has become one of Japan’s most popular manga series.

While these manga series are all popular, it’s important to note that manga is not limited to a specific genre. Batman, for example, has been adapted into a manga series in Japan, showcasing the versatility of the medium.

In conclusion, manga is a diverse and popular form of comics that has captured readers’ hearts worldwide. Whether you prefer action-packed adventures or detective stories, there is a manga series for everyone.

Community and Discussion

When it comes to the question of whether manga counts as books, there is a lot of discussion and debate within various communities. One such community is the r/books subreddit, where users have shared their opinions.

Some users on r/books argue that manga should be considered literature and counted as books, while others disagree. In a post from 2023, one user stated that “manga and comics are literature. They have words, it’s reading, and it just as valid as prose books.” Another user from 2017 argued that “reading pure text forces you to use your brain differently; often you must grapple with abstract concepts, which can be frustrating and even cause you to give up on a book.”

Similarly, the r/suggestmeabook subreddit has seen its fair share of discussions about manga and whether or not it should be considered books. Some users have recommended manga as a form of literature, while others have suggested that it should be considered a separate category.

Despite the differing opinions, it’s clear that manga has a dedicated fanbase and is a popular form of storytelling. Whether or not it should be counted as book is ultimately up to individual interpretation and preference.

Manga Recommendations

If you’re new to manga, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here are some personal book recommendations to get you started:

  • One Piece: This is a classic manga that has been going on for over 20 years. It follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his crew as they search for the ultimate treasure, the One Piece. It has action, adventure, humor, and heart and is a great starting point for anyone looking to get into manga.
  • Attack on Titan: This is a popular manga in a world where humanity is on the brink of extinction due to giant humanoid creatures called Titans. It follows Eren Yeager and his friends as they join the military to fight against the Titans. It’s a dark, intense story with excellent character development and plot twists.
  • Death Note: This is a psychological thriller about a high school student named Light Yagami who finds a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill anyone whose name he writes. It’s a cat-and-mouse game between Light and a mysterious detective named L as they try to outsmart each other.

If you’re looking for more recommendations, check out the weekly recommendation thread on r/manga or the suggested reading page on MyAnimeList. These are great resources for finding new manga to read.

For reluctant readers, manga can be a great way to get into reading. The visual storytelling can make it easier to understand and follow along with the story. Plus, manga is available for all ages and interests, so there’s something for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is manga considered a form of literature?

Yes, manga can be considered a form of literature. Manga is a Japanese art form that uses images to tell a story, similar to graphic novels and comics. The storytelling techniques used in manga are unique and can be as complex and nuanced as traditional literature.

Can manga be classified as a type of book?

Yes, manga can be classified as a type of book. While manga is often associated with graphic novels, it is a distinct form of literature with unique styles and storytelling techniques. Manga is typically read from right to left and features distinct artistic styles.

Does reading manga count as reading for educational purposes?

Yes, reading manga can count as reading for educational purposes. While some people may view manga as entertainment, it can be a valuable tool for language learning and cultural education. Many manga series cover various topics, from history and politics to science and technology.

Can manga be used as a tool for language learning?

Yes, manga can be used as a tool for language learning. Reading manga in its original Japanese can be a great way to improve your language skills, as it exposes you to real-world language use and helps you learn new vocabulary and grammar structures. Many manga series also come with furigana, a reading aid that helps learners read Kanji characters.

Is manga a valid form of entertainment?

Yes, manga is a valid form of entertainment. While some people may view it as a niche interest or a form of lowbrow entertainment, manga has gained a large following worldwide and has been adapted into numerous anime series and movies. Like any other form of entertainment, manga can be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.

Is reading manga a waste of time?

No, reading manga is not a waste of time. Like any other form of entertainment or literature, the value of manga is subjective and depends on the individual reader. Some people may find it a valuable tool for education or language learning, while others may enjoy it as entertainment. Ultimately, the decision to read manga is up to the individual reader.

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Victoria Cornell helps women adopt a positive mindset even when the struggles of motherhood feel overwhelming. On her sites, Motherhood Life Balance, Neon Moon and Bookworm Era she writes about ways to reduce stress with mindset, manifesting, goal planning, productivity, and more.