How do you discover new books and manga?

I was curious how everyone finds new books and manga to read! Do you have a friend that , a youtuber, do you mostly use Natively for recommendations? How do you discover what to read next?

As for myself, I mostly just drive down to Kinokuniya and pick what looks interesting to me. I’m starting to note some of the books similar in level to the ones I’ve finished on Natively as well to see if they get them in stock

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I mostly just use Natively. It’s just too easy to find new stuff to read when the activity feed is constantly shoving so many new books in front of you.

If I really feel like inflating my wishlist even more than it already is, I might go through Amazon, Bookwalker, jpbd, koohi.cafe, anilist, MAL, etc. and just add whatever seems like something that I “might want to read”. Unfortunately, (or fortunately?) I end up adding so much stuff that I forget what the stuff I added was supposed to be about in the first place.

I think I should spend less time looking for books to read and more time actually reading. :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

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That’s a good question. Back in the day, I would read a manga series if I liked the anime and if it seemed like a series I would enjoy reading (many anime I liked I still don’t have any interest in reading for various reasons). That’s how I ended up reading ARIA (series) | L21 (first manga I ever proposed for a WaniKani book club which won), 放浪息子 (series) | L28 (first manga series I completed on my own), やがて君になる (series) | L22 (my second favorite manga series), ご注文はうさぎですか? (series) | L25 (my favorite manga series), and more.

Then I went through a phase where I read a bunch of yuri manga, so I guess I just checked various manga sites for top ranked yuri series.

I have in the past (and still currently) look for Manga Time Kirara series on Amazon since that’s my favorite magazine (well three of them technically) and see what catches my interest. I tend to buy those physically, but I’ve also bought random digital ones when I catch them on sale. I’ve read a few series that I really enjoyed this way, and I have a few more I already own digitally that I haven’t read yet. Not to mention next time I order manga I’ll be buying another few more Manga Time Kirara series that I haven’t tried yet.

But beyond the Manga Time Kirara searches, I’m honestly not sure how I found other series I enjoyed. Like I love シャドーハウス (series) | L23, but I don’t remotely remember how I discovered it. Similarly, ひとりぼっちの○○生活 (series) | L20 is one of my favorite series, but I don’t remember how I found it. Maybe I was just looking for 4-koma manga other than Manga Time Kirara, but I don’t know.

Anyway, that’s about it for manga. For novels / LNs I’ve similarly read a few series where I enjoyed the anime, such as 獣の奏者 (series) | L32 and 魔法少女育成計画 (series) | L35, but otherwise I mostly just read whatever I found from WaniKani book clubs or got recommended to me in some other way.

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Ain’t that the truth…

It’s way too easy for my “want to read” list to balloon out of control. Probably the worst suspects are Natively (darn you 推理小説読書会/what I’m reading today thread :tired_face:) and Amazon’s “other customers also read…” feed when I’m looking at books I already know I enjoy/am interested in. My strategy for Amazon is to have two wish lists: one for books I want to investigate/see if they’re more than a pretty cover, and one where I’m convinced I’d like to try reading the book.

For better or worse I don’t have anywhere near me that I know of that stocks physical Japanese books.

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Often I add something to my list just from looking at the feed :slight_smile:

Amazon, Apple Books, and Bookmeter usually have various suggestions.

If I happen to pass one, sometimes I’ll walk around a book store and take notes on anything that looks interesting. It’s just easier to do that than browse Amazon. Having recently published books or award winners on display really helps.

If Manga is your thing, if you get a chance I’d visit a big 快活クラブ or other manga/internet cafe. They’ll have walls of manga for you to discover.

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Pop into the book shop or book off and see what looks good :sweat_smile:

Or get recommendations from friends.

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I think I should spend less time looking for books to read and more time actually reading. :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

I say the same thing to myself, but in respect to not buying so much! I’m slowly reading them, but then I want to buy more

This is my haul from last month. I’ve read two of these so far :sweat_smile:

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I follow Japanese bookstore accounts on Instagram and I feel like I’m constantly adding books to my to-buy list because of them.

Occasionally I’ll also check Bookmeter rankings to see what’s popular.

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Ahh, I sometimes forget that I also have some magazines that I mean to go through and read. I have about a dozen of Girls Style, an otome magazine with some manga in the back (I bought them because of some visual novels I was interested in/still like). But I’ve barely looked at the manga section in them, so I’m not really sure what that content is like!

I really like this idea, but I feel like this will feed some baaaad habits for me, too :laughing:

I like this idea, but I would feel too awkward making notes and standing there. I feel awkward enough going through all the aisles and looking at everything that strikes my fancy while other people are going through, too.

Do you have any accounts you particularly like to follow? The only one I follow is Kinokuniya

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I was recently in Chicago near a Kinokuniya for the first time, and I have to say, being able to wander through the shelves is by far the best way to find interesting stuff! I spent… Too Much money there every time I went in lol.

Previously though, I mostly chose series that had an anime version which I liked, or that I heard people talking about on twitter. And then later I tried other work by the artists/authors of past series I enjoyed.

I think I also got some recommendations from the WaniKani book clubs, though I never successfully followed along with one. The activity feed on this site seems like a cool way to find unusual series too!

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My favorite is Maruzen Junkudo because they talk about a mix of popular and non-popular titles.

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I was recently in Chicago near a Kinokuniya for the first time, and I have to say, being able to wander through the shelves is by far the best way to find interesting stuff! I spent… Too Much money there every time I went in lol.

If you don’t go very often then it can’t hurt to splurge a little! :sweat_smile: Especially if it sparks joy. AND it’ll be useful Japanese practice.

True, since I was only in the area for a couple months I tried to make the most of it. Unfortunately the prices were pretty steep too— I can get books to the US cheaper from CDJapan if I order 10-12 at a time to minimize shipping. Since they must import in bulk I was king of hoping for less of an upcharge. But hey, I still bought them for the convenience :sweat_smile:

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I have gotten a mix of my recommendations from either here or just browsing on Amazon.jp

I feel like there is kind of a bias on the western Japanese learning sites, and a lot of the people wind up reading the same books. I think there probably are a lot of books out there that are great, but for whatever reason the Japanese learning community is not interested in them.

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So at the beginning I just chose books that were recommended for beginners (short stories for beginners and such) or were recommended yo help increase your reading ability (read real Japanese, kanji graded readers etc).

Then I started asking on forums what people recommended fir a certain genre or for a certain type of book(light novels, manga etc) or I just searched for stuff in Japanese that I had in English (Legend of Zelda manga and Naruto manga).

Now I tend to search Natively and look at reviews or translated blurbs to see what the book is about and if it might be of interest.

My wishlist has grown exponentially since joining natively and I’ve currently got around 40 books on the way :sweat_smile: I’ve had to take a step back from sear hing so I can actually read some of the stuff I’ve bought before I buy any more :joy:

I do feel that for fiction, reviews and recommendations are best for me, unless it’s something I already know exists in Japanese. I haven’t yet found a decent source for checking for non fiction recommendations though. That’ll be my next step.

Edit: I forgot to mention, there are no foreign book stores or places that sell Japanese books near me so all mine come through Amazon.uk since it’s my cheapest option. Most are also second hand but decently looked after so look like new.

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I try not to. My backlog is already a bit ridiculous. :flushed:

I do make an exception for book club books and ‘freebies’. Since I’m currently enjoying a trial two months of kindle unlimited, I’ve been reading a lot of quality manga and children’s books I’d never buy. Time well spent, I guess…?

Aside from that, reviews on books and series on wanikani etc, as well as browsing the sales section on the kindle store have been responsible for the bulk of my digital backlog.

My physics backlog is the result of eBay buys. Sometimes there’s Japanese books. I do not regret. (This got me a lot of historical fiction, haha. It’s a genre I’m interested in anyway but haven’t gotten into much in Japanese yet. It’s a bit intimidating.)

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This might risk people’s backlogs getting worse (or better?), but I highly recommend following Japanese Booktubers. They not only recommend great books, but it’s also good listening practice!

Here are four that I’ve watched and liked, although there are plenty more!

マサキ/Masaki Books - Chill reviews on mostly mystery novels but also new releases and famous books (My favourite)

文学YouTuberベル - The biggest Japanese Booktuber out there, 元気 reviews of a wide range of books.

ミステリー文学の本棚 - Completely mystery novels.

とうふの本棚 - A small channel that covers a range of regular novels.

本とのコト知りたい? - It looks like this channel no longer uploads new videos, but it was a series of collaborate videos between a group of booktubers. So good to get a variety of opinions on books, as well as find new youtubers.

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I don’t actively search for new things to read anymore, but here’s where I usually find new things to read (basically in order from most likely to find books to add to least likely).

When I find myself adding new stuff to my to read list, it’s usually thanks to other readers posting their reviews and recommendations on the WaniKani forums (specifically the Read Every Day Challenge Thread(s), Extensive Reading Thread, and Listening Challenge Thread. It helps to be familiar with what other people like to read because you can watch out for their posts specifically and look up books they mention.

Of course, Natively is quickly becoming one of those spaces where members can get recommendations from each other, so I often find intriguing books while watching the global activity. I admit I’ve added a lot of mystery books recently thanks to the new book club here as well.

One of the perks of living in Japan is having access to the local public library and even the school libraries (at the schools I teach). You can also see many recommendations and popular books displayed on shelves, which makes it easier to check out a book and see if it’s something interesting. The school librarian at my junior high school also creates a list of some of the students’ recommendations and circulates them among the staff and the students, so I’ve checked that as well.

I’ve only went to Book-Off to search for books in Japanese once (not including the times I went for picture books for my daughter), and I remember seeing certain popular books displayed on the shelves as well (with some review highlights). I added a few books to my to read list as a result.

When I go to check out books on Amazon (the synopsis, price, etc.) I’ll often check the other recommendations they provide based on what other books people check who also read/buy the book I’m looking at. I’ve added quite a few books from that.

The Bookwalker thread also on WaniKani really helps to remind me to check which books on Bookwalker are free to read (for a short period or to add to your bookshelf forever). But it doesn’t really get me looking at new titles I don’t know. I usually look for titles I do know and want to read (just for free, lol) so it doesn’t necessarily give me absolutely new material I didn’t already know exists. It just gives me another place to read stuff for free.

Line Manga is an app that you need to be in Japan to use, but it also has lists to help you explore more titles. Again, I don’t really look for new titles (it’s mostly manga for one, and I don’t like to pay for manga so I try not to read new titles so I don’t get invested in a series).

Personally I think it’s more useful than Bookwalker (both are free services but reading books on the Line Manga app is a lot faster than getting the pages to load on Bookwalker) but not as easy to get as many manga as possible to read for free (most are time limited too). But if you check often for special coin promotions, it’s easy to accumulate enough to save enough to buy manga or at least get a few chapters read (but they’ll only be available for 3 days).

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In the past, I just went to a bookoff and had a look in the children’s section.
Nowadays, discord and youtube are my main sources for recommendations.

I’d like to add ほんタメ to the channels already mentioned.

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I think that rather than a lack of interest, it might more be that people are afraid those books might too hard for them. I doubt most people started learning jp for the sole purpose of being able to read よつばと! and くまクマ熊ベアー. Of course, the only way to really tell how difficult a book is for you, personally, is to try it out yourself. But, I guess some people need the extra reassurance that a fellow learner has done it to be confident enough to do it themselves.

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