Ereaders - please could you check my understanding

I’m thinking about getting an ereader to read Japanese with. It will be predominantly light novels, but occasionally manga.

TLDR: skip to the bullet points and look at the questions, thanks

At the moment I normally read physical books, but I’m trying to progress to reading more native content whereas in the past I’ve predominantly read ‘made for Japanese students’ content.

The first book I read along these lines is physical with furigana, which was great, but there was so much new vocab to look up and, to a lesser extent, confusing sentences to untangle. It was good but it was very slow, due to the frequency of looking up words on my yomiwa app on my phone.

I do have an aged kindle, and I have used it to read the nihongo con teppei book - it was quite nice having a built in dictionary, but it was pretty slow and often times it was so hard selecting the text, that it ended up being quicker to type it in my phone.

Oh I should say I do have a tablet but it’s quite big and I do like the e-ink reading experience.
I’m not super interested in anki connectivity as I use kitsun.

So, I’m thinking about getting another ereader and doing some research. It looks like the main choice is: kindle or android e-reader.


  • If I log into the kindle on my account, can I put books straight on there ? I’ve a account that I’ve used with my old kindle but I think it’s difficult to use 2 accounts on 1 kindle.

  • I’m concerned that a kindle might be slow at looking stuff up, and I’m restricted to using There’s been some mention of a restricted number of word look ups? That might just be the app though.

Android ereaders,

more flexbility but more complexity I think.

  • Bookwalker app - does that allow word look up? Obviously not on manga but on novels. Am I restricted to always using the bookwalker app or can you take the content outside of it?
  • The kindle app, does that have a limitation on the number of look-ups one can do?
  • Seems that it’s also possible to set up OCR for Manga reading, looks quite complicated and brittle however.
  • I’ve seen mention of using yomichan (personally prefer 10ten reader) - but as far as I can make out this won’t work in apps or embedded readers (like bookwalkers browser). Is the route to doing this, get the book onto the device free of DRM and then upload into the ttu reader in the kiwi browser with the extension installed?

Pinging @Megumin as feeI I follow a path you’ve trodded in the past (the book above your recommendation, the strange product’s catalogue series)

thanks for reading, apologies for the long post.


Yes, you can. You will need to wipe the kindle and bind it to the JP account.
I don’t think a kindle can handle two accounts.

AFAIK there’s no limit on look-ups on the hardware, you just download the dictionaries and the look-ups are done on device. The slow look-ups are an issue, and selecting text is often a bit awkward. I’m not sure about the more recent kindles, as I’m sporting a quite old one that I self replaced the battery when Amazon refused to do it (In hindsight this was a blessing, as it still uses the old DRM format contrary if they had just replaced my device).

I haven’t looked too deeply into this as I found them they are expensive, and suffer from sometimes the same slow refresh/response as the kindles.

I did end up settling for a second hand Surface Go, I import the books in, and have yomichan with it. I also got a cheap pen on Amazon, making selection easier.

I was a bit iffy on abandoning e-ink, I could probably read for longer with e-ink, but on the same time, I would also read slower because look-ups take longer. So I think in the end it’s sort of a tie. Once I get better, I could use myself using an android e-reader or back to the kindle/kobo.

I haven’t found this limitation? Although I haven’t used the app much to be honest.


I use an iPad so I can’t help you with the rest of your questions, but I know there is no restriction on look ups on the kindle or kindle app. There is however a restriction on the amount of text you copy. Copying text is useful when the built-in dictionary fails you and you want to copy the text to paste it into another dictionary of your choice, or DeepL or whatever.


it’s a bit slower but tbh I mostly use a secondary device that I can quickly input characters/draw kanji on for lookups on my iPad (though I’m largely reading manga). On Android, you can use Kaku OCR which averages out to being a little bit faster, though the amount of false positives etc you get makes it so I mostly only use it on my phone when I’m out and about. Kaku is leagues easier than having to convert your files though, though you pay for the convenience with accuracy I suppose.


I have Onyx Boox Note 4. It’s e-reader on Android OS. So I can answer if you have more questions.

It doesn’t work with integrated dictionary but it’s possible to look up words using Google Translate.

For reading manga I’m using app OCR Manga Reader for Android. I’m liking the experience with this app. It allows looking up words by one click on them, and app will automatically scan whole line of text and break it down to separate words/kanji and their definitions. Also it has pretty high accuracy in guessing kanji, but not perfect. Obviously it’ll miss some kanji. But I prefer this app over the one I’m using to read manga on my iPad.

Also obviously you’ll need copy of manga without drm, which involves additional hassle.

Also I want to note some flaws on reading manga on e-reader. At least on the one I have, maybe others don’t have these flaws.
Kanji in bold font merges up and become unreadable. Also sometimes it’s not comfortable reading without zooming even on 10’4 screen. And zooming in and scrolling a page is so slooow :sweat:
Also one thing that I don’t like. There remains shadows/traces? (I don’t know how to call them better) when you move from one page of manga to another. They are not very visible but for me pretty disturbing.

So now I’m mostly reading manga on iPad in Bookwalker app and look up words in Shirabe Jisho. I just can’t bear the overall slowness of e-reader.

That’s my favorite part of Android e-reader!
Yes, exactly like you described, it’s possible to upload epub files to ttu reader, which allows easy lookups just by clicking on word and getting it definition. Works just like on PC. Also you can read offline, once the book is uploaded.
Nothing can beat easy lookups, so I can’t go back to reading in other apps. It just so much faster and more comfortable.

If something is unclear, feel free to ask. English is not my native language so it’s a bit hard to express everything that I want to say :smiling_face_with_tear:


Thank you, your English was very easy to understand. I’ve been looking at the Onyx Book products. Could some of the slowness be down to the hardware, solved in new models?

Sounds like the bookwalker app isn’t great?

I don’t fully understand how the ttu reader works - can I upload a book from my pc and then read on another device? How does that work - I couldn’t see a login option

1 Like

I’m not sure. The one that I have (Note 4) released last year but still has this problem. Maybe it’s just because of e-ink screen. They just never will be as fast as regular tablets :cry:

No, I’m not using it on e-reader. It’s possible to use it but without doing lookups. I even read a manga volume on it once. But Bookwalker app is overall slow even on iPad, plus add a slowness of e-reader, and I gave up on that option :woman_facepalming:

No, you’ll need first to upload it to your e-reader files via usb cable. Also ttu supports some cloud file servers, like Google.Drive. So you can drop them here and then access from kiwi browser on e-reader.
Then you’ll need to upload a book to ttu reader directly from your ebook.

Some pictures of how it looks:



thanks again. I’m trying to set up kiwi browser and yomichan on my samsung tablet to see how easy it is to read a book this way. If I can get it working satisfactorily I’d like to get an android ereader


If you have trouble with them, and are okay with forgoing the eink (or if someone can confirm if side loading apps on an android ereader is possible, I’ve only used my android phone and tablet) you could also try Jidoujisho.

It basically takes ttu and yomichan into one package. You still need to add the japanese dictionaries but it’s a pretty smooth experience.

It also works with Mokuro (OCR Processed) manga files which is nice to have. It apparently also works on videos with subtitles but I’ve never tried that functionality.

Mokuro is pretty easy to setup btw and there’s a help thread in the wanikani forums, but I’m sure people here would be willing to help as well. If you have a weak computer the processing time might take a loooong time though.


Oh no, I was looking at the Note Air 2 Plus because I read later at night and not looking at another goddamn screen would be great, but if it’s that slow I’ll be really disappointed (and it’s not like eReaders are cheap yet…)

/Looking at videos it seems comparable to a basic Kindle, so maybe I can put up with it for the sake of my eyes. Lol. Definitely much slower than a iPad, but it’s not like I read fast yet…

1 Like

It seems like you’re getting stuff worked out, but in case this is useful for anyone… For LNs:

Bookwalker desktop: awful.

Kindle app (Android & desktop): ok, but the dictionary doesn’t deal with conjugations at all. So it’s useless more often than not. Also limited in number of times you can copy. From what I hear this is different than an actual Kindle

Bookwalker (Android): a bit clunky, but fine. I use it for all my LNs. Functionally:

  • Copying - unlimited frequency, but limited character length
  • Highlights - limited
  • Integrates with Google Translate (somewhat iffy). Also has one click web or Wiktionary search
  • Selecting is awkward on smaller screens, and ok on tablets

I’ve gotten used to highlight > translate > copy > paste to dictionary (Akebi or Takoboto). It’s pretty quick once you’re used to it.

On iOS, iirc it integrates with the system’s dictionary (I don’t own those devices)

Overall I think it’s ok, but if you’re willing to get the browser based setups working, then they’re definitely nicer.

Manga (android): I use Google Lens to select the text, and paste into dictionary. Sometimes have to take a screenshot first. Reading app doesn’t really matter at that point. Again, browser setups are a nicer experience (but I’m lazy).


That’s an interesting tool! I’ll look if I can get it to work on my e-reader. It’s possible to install apps from apk files, but not all of them are working. Each case needs to be checked separately.

It’s really great for reading books (text only), so I don’t regret buying it. I think if manga is not text heavy and you wouldn’t need to zoom in every page, it’ll also be pretty comfortable to read. It’s just slow when it comes to scrolling pages.


Is pinch to zoom utterly impossible? I think I would be about 80% fine without but there’s that 20% of the time where you need to zoom in because the Amazon/Bookwalker quality is garbage tier scans, or you need to read handwriting or something.

1 Like

No, it’s definitely possible, just a bit slow. Maybe it’s just me who have low patience :sweat_smile: It annoys me when something slows me down whereas on another device there wouldn’t be that problem.
If you’re not rushing to read, I think it’s perfectly fine device to read manga as it has large screen and pretty good resolution at 1872x1404 (227dpi).


I am reading some of my Manga on my android based ereader with KOReader (and books as well, it also has the option to load custom dictionaries into it - since I am also learning another language, this is more flexible for me than using yomichan. :slight_smile: ).
With Manga, if you long press a panel it zooms in into the panel automatically. That’s good enough for me. It’s slow, but I also don’t need it that often, so I’m not really annoyed at it.

KOReader can also do some sort of OCR magic but I don’t really use it for Manga, only for PDFs when I want to read the text in a nicer way.

(Trying to upload a video of the KOReader panel zoom functionality, let’s see if it works :sweat_smile: )


Oh that’s nice, it doesn’t have the weird all-screen black flash effect I’ve seen in some vids on the Boox. Can I ask what model yours is?

1 Like

It’s a Tolino. But I’m afraid they are only sold in western-central Europe :confused: It’s basically a Kobo shell but has different processors/OS in it. You also have to do some small tinkering so it runs pure android. It is set up in a way that it launches into their own Tolino launcher, but it’s pretty easy to change that behavior.


dipping in a bit late here;

I have a slightly older kindle paperwhite from around 2016 or so, I’ve been using it for the last year for reading Japanese exclusively.

If I log into the kindle on my account, can I put books straight on there ?

Yes, you will have to switch the account on the kindle, but that won’t wipe any other data off the device. 99% of what’s on my kindle is DRM-free ebooks, and I only recently swapped to a proper JP account. Doing so didn’t wipe any of the existing books on the system.

I’m concerned that a kindle might be slow at looking stuff up

e-ink isn’t as slow as you’d think. It’s definitely slow-er, and can feel clunky at times, but once you get used to it then it’s pretty normal. I’d say I average around 3-4 seconds per lookup, though when the selection tool isn’t able to parse a word or phrase it will flip out a bit, and will take some finagling, but that’s somewhat rare. I’ve also heard that newer paperwhite and or other e-ink readers have greatly improved refresh rates, so that might be worth a look if it’s something you care a lot about.

restricted to using

as I alluded to above, if you know where to find them then you can load as many DRM-free ebooks as your heart desires.

There’s been some mention of a restricted number of word look ups

On the physical kindle paperwhites, lookups aren’t restricted at all. You can load whatever dictionaries onto the device you want, and the lookups are done via the selection tool just like if you were selecting text on a phone.

As for reading on android, I’ve had decent success using for light novels. For word lookups, I select text and then have takeboto set to show up in my context menu, so I can send the text directly to it. This works for me since I don’t mine on my phone, but if I did then I would considering looking into yomichan on mobile. I haven’t bothered with kiwibrowser, to me it seems unnecessary unless you’re dead set on using yomichan.

For manga on both devices it’s more of a split answer depending on whether you own your manga through a DRM service or not. If you own it through DRM, then there’s very little you can do on either a kindle or android for lookups. If you’re willing to install some real time OCR then maybe, but lookup times will be abysmal compared to just looking up the radicals.

If you have DRM-free copies, then you can run them through a program called mokuro, which will pre-process the manga through an OCR application and overlay the OCR’d text onto where the text boxes used to be, then packages it up into a clean web based reader. Lookup method will be the same as with ttsu since it’s just text at that point, and as a bonus, mokuro has a setting to pre-process it into a PDF that’s optimized for reading on a paperwhite.

If you’re reading on desktop, yomichan + ttsu or mokuro is an unbeatable combo, or if you’re using DRM copies, then it’s possible to set up a sharex script with manga_ocr (which is the OCR tool that mokuro uses) to scan not just manga, but any text. I’ve used sharex + manga_ocr to mine from some games, and despite being trained only on manga, it’s even able to correctly scan words from Persona 5 with surprisingly high rates of success.

Hopefully my info dump helps


If anyone is interested, here’s another video how the lookup function works on KOReader (ignore the big line-height, you can set it however you want.)

Sorry, my cat interrupted every video attempt, so now she has to stay in :sweat_smile:


don’t worry, the cat is a bonus :cat2: