So there was recently a review posted on ANN for One Piece tanks 63-65. This excerpt stood out to me: “With 65 volumes currently available in English, One Piece can be a bit intimidating for new readers. They should rest assured, however, that the journey is worth it and these latest volumes are as enjoyable as the earlier ones.” This statement is completely true, in all respects. One Piece is currently in the 680-range chapters. Volume 65 consists of chapters 637-646. Each chapter is roughly 20 pages long, with some exceptions being longer. That’s almost 13,000 pages of manga you can find in physical tankobons.
The other half is definitely true: One Piece is a really fun ride. It’s silly and ridiculous and over the top, but it’s just well-crafted manga, completely worth the read. I’ve been trying to collect English-released volumes of as much good manga that I’ve read as I can, and I’m catching up on a good number of titles (as you can see from my collection page). However, 65 volumes of manga is, at retail price, about $600-650. Price aside, that’s also 13,000 pages of space I need to store said manga. Taking a ruler to my bookshelf, 1 foot is approximately 19 volumes of manga, so 3 feet will sustain about 57 volumes. That’s one wide-ass bookshelf, or you’ll be forced to use multiple rows for a single title. Somewhat awkward.
There is another option, though. I currently have an iPhone 4, and VIZ has released an iOS manga reader app. This conveniently solves the space issue; I just load the manga to my phone or tablet (seriously considering getting an iPad of some sort for SolForge) and all 13,000 pages will be there. It’s also significantly cheaper, at $5 per volume.
So then the question becomes: for what reason do I want to buy One Piece? Eiichiro Oda is probably filthy rich, what with One Piece being the best-selling manga of all time; I don’t feel particularly bad about not trying to get money back to him :X If I just want to have it available to read, it’s obviously better to go digital, since it’s cheaper and saves on space. However, I get some kind of visceral satisfaction from owning physical things. I tend to get physical copies of every game I buy, for example, even though we’re rapidly moving to a digital-only world.