Money vs Manga: Why are Manga So Expensive In India?

I love reading manga but like many others, I’m forced to read them online on my smartphone. I’ve wanted to buy a manga ever since I first started reading them but couldn’t because of their high prices.

The first manga I ever checked out was Naruto and was shocked to find out that its first volume alone costs about 600 Rupees on Amazon which is a bit much considering a volume contains only 10-11 chapters. Naruto manga has a total of 72 volumes which means it would cost me roughly 45,000 to buy it all. Even if I was to get a good deal, it would still cost me at least 30,000 Rupees for the 72 volumes. I don’t about you but I can’t spend 30,000 on one manga series. I’m not filthy rich.

After doing a little bit of research, I learned that it’s not just Naruto, all manga, in general, are expensive in India. But Why? Why are Manga So Expensive In India? Well, I dug a little deeper and found the answer.

A lot of reasons like the Importing Cost, Translating Cost, Limited Availability, and Low Demand, cause the prices of manga in India to increase, making them a bit expensive for the readers to buy. But, there are ways to buy them for a cheaper price.

How Much Does Manga Usually Cost In India?

You might be wondering how much a manga volume generally costs in India, especially compared to other countries.

The price of Manga in India can range anywhere between Rs. 400 to Rs. 1000, sometimes even more, but, usually, you can get a manga volume for about Rs. 400 to 700.

Here are the price of the volumes of some of the most popular manga on Amazon.

Manga (Vol. 1)Price In IndiaPrice In JapanPrice In U.S.
NarutoRs. 560¥ 2190$ 6.95
One PieceRs. 555¥ 1484$ 7.68
Jujutsu KaisenRs. 464¥ 1206$ 6.49
Demon SlayerRs. 604¥ 1201$ 6.38
Spy x FamilyRs. 559¥ 1482$ 6.49
One Punch ManRs. 442¥ 741$ 7.99
Rent-A-GirlfriendRs. 622¥ 1058$ 7.99
Chainsaw ManRs. 555¥ 1213$ 7.39

Why Are Manga So Expensive In India?

A lot of factors play a part in increasing the price of manga in India.

1. Import

India doesn’t publish its own English-translated copies of manga. I hope we did but unfortunately, we don’t and the ones available in India are usually imported from countries like the US. As such, the import cost contributes to the high price of manga in India. The cost of getting the manga to India is increased due to the shipping cost, customs duties, taxes, etc, resulting in a significant increase in the price.

2. Translating Cost

Manga are originally in the Japanese language which means translators are hired to translate the Japanese dialogues into English. Not just translators but typewriters and proofreaders are also hired along with an artist to redraw some of the portions of the manga which need to be cut to remove the Japanese letters and replace them with the English ones.

All this extra work and the cost of hiring all these people force the publishers to increase the price of the English-translated versions of manga otherwise they wouldn’t be making enough profit.

3. Low Demand

People in India are just not familiar with manga. Not many people read manga here which means low demand and that makes it a novelty item. The smaller number of customers means the publishers can’t benefit from economies of scale, leading to higher production costs per unit, which makes the selling of manga not so profitable for them.

So, to make a profit and still cater to the small demand in India, the price of manga is increased.

4. Limited Availability

Have you ever stumbled upon a store that sells manga while just taking a walk in the market? I haven’t and that’s obviously because there are just not that many stores that sell manga. Why would they, when there’s not even much demand for it? I had to look on Google to find stores that sell manga in Delhi but they were nowhere close to where I live.

Low demand results in limited availability which means there are a limited number of stores in India that sell manga, increasing the price.

5. Not Enough Chapter In One Volume

The small number of chapters in one volume might also make you think that the manga are too expensive.

If you’ve ever seen a manga volume you know there are only about 8-10 ish chapters in one volume which would cost you at least Rs. 400-600 if not more. 10 chapters are nothing when you look at manga like One Piece which has over 1000 chapters, or Naruto which has 700 chapters. Even a comparatively shorter manga series like Demon Slayer has 205 chapters.

Would you pay Rs. 500 for just 10 chapters in a manga series with hundreds of chapters? Most people wouldn’t.

Is there A Cheaper Way to Read Manga?

1. Buy Second Hand Manga

A budget-friendly option for manga lovers is to buy second-hand manga. There are many bookstores that sell second-hand books and manga by buying pre-owned manga volumes from readers and selling them again at a much lower price than brand-new copies.

Although, the condition of the manga may vary, buying second-hand manga is a good option for your pocket as it provides an affordable avenue for building a manga collection.

2. Websites

Another option to read manga when your hand’s tight is by reading them online. There are many legal websites where you can read manga and still make sure your favorite author doesn’t lose any money.

Here’s a list of some of the best Websites to read manga legally :-

  • Manga Plus by SHUEISHA :- MangaPlus is a manga reading site by Shueisha, a Japanese publisher that creates manga directly with the authors & artists. The latest chapters of all your favorite manga are available on MangaPlus and reading on this site will also support the manga creators.
  • Viz :- Iconic manga like Naruto, Death Note, and Bleach, were all published in the same magazine – Weekly Shonen Jump. The digital version of it is simply called Viz where you can read all the manga from anywhere in the world. But, of course, you would need to pay $2.99/month to unlock the huge collection of manga they have.
  • ComicWalker :- After getting fed up with the illegal scanlations of manga floating around on the internet, Kadokawa, a big player in the manga publishing industry, decided to launch its own online manga reading site, that too for free. Though not all manga titles are available on it, the majority of them are.

RELATED : Best Free Manga Reading Sites

3. Pirated Manga

I would not recommend reading pirated versions of manga as it causes the publishers and the creators to lose money.

But, just for informational purposes, I’m letting you know that there are sites that pirate manga chapters, translate them to English within a day or two, and put them on the internet. There are even hard-copy pirated manga volumes that get sold online and in book markets.

Where Can You Buy Cheap Manga In India?

There are many book-selling sites where you can buy manga for a cheap price from Rs. 200-300. If you want to buy manga online, you can check out sites like 99booksstores and bookclubb.

If you would prefer to buy manga from a store rather than buying them online then there are many shops and stores in India that sell Manga for a considerably low price. Let’s discuss the best places to buy manga in India.

Daryaganj Book Market in Delhi

I visited the Daryaganj Book Market just a month ago and I saw tons of manga series for sale. There were even complete sets of Naruto and One Piece being sold for as cheap as 3000-5000 Rupees. But, of course, these were not original copies. They were pirated copies but still in good condition. If you can’t afford to buy original copies but still want to read manga, go check out the market.

For more information on Where to Buy Cheap Manga In India, check out my article.

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