Physical Copy Vs. Digital

Birdie Num Num

Student Council President
So I've been thinking for a while, Physical vs Digital. I am thinking of going digital with some films and TV shows. That got me thinking, where do I buy this digital copy, there's amazon, google, itunes. Then I started thinking about the appeal of having a physical copy, but with a collection of hundreds of DVDs and Blu-rays and space dwindling, something needs to be done. .

I thought I would be nice to hear others thoughts and opinions on this.. I am thinking about putting some DVDs in a CD carry case(s) and putting the DVD cases in a box in the loft. kinda solves the space issue.

p.s. forgot to mention books. that is a part of this equation as well.


When it comes to expensive media like anime I 100% prefer physical because I'm not tied to some ****** companies DRM, and if that company loses their license I don't instantly lose access to my content.

Also digital companies still won't supply a stream that will comparable to the qualtiy of a BD disc.

For space I put all my DVDs into storage boxes which I can then put out the way. Only blu-rays of shows do I put on shelves.

I buy Manga digitally, but I rip them off site I buy them form to have them in a DRM free form.

Deleted member 4555

I've always stuck with DVDs as I like to have something tangible that I can hold and feel. I know space can be an issue but I only buy stuff that I know I'll enjoy and keep coming back to anyway. I've never really tried streaming myself, but I know from @Neil.T 's experiences it can be frought with problems (server being overloaded; content not loading properly, buffering etc). I think you have to be someone with a pretty fast broadband connection to fully appreciate it. I know there are people who really appreciate it as a viewing option, but it's certainly not for me personally!

Regarding manga it's pretty much the same - I only buy the stuff I know I'm likely to get good re-read value from, so I certainly prefer having physical copies on my shelf. Another thing is that I tend to make manga purchases with Neil in mind as well, so it makes it extra worth it for me. I've never owned a Kindle or similar device for e-reading. I certainly understand that there are folk who really appreciate it, but again, it's not for me personally.

I guess we'll just have to make room, eh Neil? 😅

I'm just old-skool! 😎 👍

Interesting discussion point though :) I know it's come up a few times in various threads on the forum.
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I'm a hardcopy over digital advocate. But if I ever needed the room, and had to shunt my discs to storage, I certainly wouldn't rely on streaming services to always have titles I want to watch on hand. I'd instead go the route of a home media server, loading up on hard drives to accomodate my collection, and spend the rest of my life ripping DVDs and BDs to HD.


Adventuring Alchemist
AUKN Staff
I'm not against buying digitally, but I vastly prefer physical for books/anime.

With anime it's so expensive that I only tend to buy the shows I really loved and with the way the market has gone into collector's editions, I usually want the super glorified tat edition. Given the amount of money spent it's just nicer having an item to show for it and because I only buy my favourites my collection doesn't grow that rapidly.

When it comes to books I like reading physical more than digital, although I will buy digital exclusive manga sometimes. You can't beat that new book smell though and honestly some digital releases just aren't very good in terms of the scan quality. Plus the DRM issues that come along with buying digital... There is certainly something nice about having bookshelves full of books to easily access and flip through, too. Sure, buying physically does mean I have a lot less space to work with but the benefits outdo the disadvantages of books taking over my living room. I try and only buy the series I know I'm going to stick with until the end, but my work for the site means I often have a lot of random volume 1's which I may or may not continue. I certainly buy a lot more than just my favourites, so my collection grows by a lot month to month because I am kinda obsessed with books and so try a lot of different series and then end up collecting them all until the bitter end... It's worth it though!

The thing I am most happy to go digital with is games. I won't buy games digitally at full price because they're somehow really expensive compared to just buying a disc, but I'll certainly pick games up in a sale no problem. The biggest drawback there is usually just having space on my device, but that's easily fixable.


School Idol
I'm actually a digital-first person when it comes to anime/manga/other books and most Western films and stuff. The one big exception to that is games, but that's partly because physical games are still cheaper half the time than their digital equivalents (particularly on the Sony store).

The main reason I go for digital is simple: space. I don't have space where I live to store any significant amount of physical manga or DVDs anymore, particularly considering the amount of light novels I can get through in a month. My shelves are already at their limits so the most I can do is pick up a few of my absolute favourites. The £6.20 cost (when it comes to Yen Press releases, at least) also makes a big difference in comparison to a £10-11 physical release.

The second reason is that for me reading off a tablet is a lot easier on my hands. When it comes to holding a physical book open I tend to subconsciously grip too hard, which ends up making my hands ache and just feels uncomfortable - with a tablet I just need to sit it up and then can tap it once in a while to flip to the next page. And I know that might sound a bit silly, but it really helps...

DRM is definitely the main drawback with digital, and I wish there were better ways of getting digital stuff. I'd certainly purchase legal downloads of anime and such like if I could. But at the moment it does have those limits, unfortunately :(

Deleted member 4555

@Demelza - I've often wondered what your bookshelves might look like since you do love to read! ;)

I think since @Neil.T has shared some of his special anime moments with me over our phone conversations it's helped me become much more open to being adventurous, and to actually want to go out of my comfort zone that little bit more and try new things. I mean, there are (and will be) things that I'm really not interested in, but overall, I trust his tastes, and I know he really appreciates quality over quantity. I'm really happy with the manga purchases I've made so far and it'd be really nice some day to have a shelf shelves with it all on that we can both share and dip into whenever the mood takes us, and that's something I think you can only really appreciate if you have physical copies. Likewise with DVD and Blu-ray - being able to pick out a movie or series from your own shelf and settle on the sofa some day would be sooooooooooooo nice! :)

I think while space is certainly a general issue, Neil and I aren't ones for collecting other bits and bobs or hoarding items, so we'd glady make space for the kinds of things that we'll both enjoy anyway. Plus the only bundle of joy we'll have some day will be a cat, so no extra space required for a nursery!



The Wildcard
I'm a firm advocate for physical over digital too. I like being able to pluck a copy of a favourite off my shelf and pop it in the player to settle down and watch it.

There is something very satisfying about a nicely presented release of a quality title. One of my favourite things I own is my Gurren Lagann collector's edition from AL — everything GL in one compact little box. It's a work of art! Lucky Star is another one they did an amazing presentation of. 🙂

As Aya said, I do honestly find streaming a bit of a nuisance and really only use it to either sample a title I might then buy on BD/DVD, or to watch something that we're never likely to get a UK release of (Shirobako, for example). I've never bothered with any of the codes that've come packaged with BD releases that allow you to download a digital copy of the thing you've just bought in physical form either. I know it would function as some kind of backup copy or whatever, but it'd just be eating up storage space, and I'd honestly forget I even had it!

Another thing I'd add to this debate is that it seemed to be received entirely negatively when Manga announced that their release of MFKZ would be digital-only. I don't think people can get anywhere near as hyped about that. Perhaps digital as an option, but not exclusively.

I couldn't help but notice that that recent survey Manga conducted was largely centered around the topic of physical versus digital too.


Adventuring Alchemist
AUKN Staff
@Demelza - I've often wondered what your bookshelves might look like since you do love to read!;)

Well, ask and you shall receive! ;)

So in June last year we got me a second bookcase and this is how things looked at the time:
Bookcase June 2018.jpeg

This is how things stand right now:


My original idea had been that short and/or completed series would be put on the bookcase on the right whereas longer series and my light novels would stay on the left because although it's hard to tell in pictures, the lefthand bookcase is deep enough to have 3 stacks of books a shelf. This has mostly worked out but some of the taller manga releases (like the hardback Fullmetal Alchemist and Silver Spoon and... quite a few Kodansha releases annoyingly) won't fit on certain shelves due to the height, so those have ended up somewhat scattered. For the most part though my plan stuck and they're arranged A-Z, with light novels having two shelves exclusively for themselves. :D

The bottom of both bookcases is reserved for heavier series or none-Japanese books. I've also dropped my collection of Naruto down there too because I own the majority of it and didn't want it taking up two whole shelves by itself...

I think while space is certainly a general issue, Neil and I aren't ones for collecting other bits and bobs or hoarding items, so we'd glady make space for the kinds of things that we'll both enjoy anyway. Plus the only bundle of joy we'll have some day will be a cat, so no extra space required for a nursery!


I'm pretty bad for collecting random anime merchandise, figures and plushies, but my books are by far the 'worst' for the amount I buy and space filled. XD Me and @Teapot have no interest in having kids either, so apart from having Morry or future pets, we won't suddenly have to find space for kids either. Morry will be fine with a book fort when the books take over though, I'm sureeee.

I know it would function as some kind of backup copy or whatever, but it'd just be eating up storage space, and I'd honestly forget I even had it!

That's actually a good point for the drawbacks of digital - It's easy to forget about the things that aren't in your face! I have a few digital books that don't readily cross my mind simply because it's not the same as the pile of books on the side table waiting for my attention...


I'm also gonna pick physical too, unless you praise belphegor, the prince of sloth, it's easier to grab a DVD than to try and keep looking for the stuff you want online, and if course CEs.

yup anime is quite pricey but I'd say CEs are worth some extra price for something you'll never get digitally and of course you get to keep them and most DVDs will actually outlast you before they suffer disc rot, digital services survive on paying hand over fist for license and risk going under all the time, not to mention constant changes to their catalogue.

I also make some effort to collect manga physically, most of the time a volume of physical manga costs less than a chart topping novel, doesn't matter if its something obscure or popular, a standard volume is around the same price virtually anywhere (though some deluxe editions fluctuate in price due to supply being far below demand)
Digital volumes are often the same price as physical, the pages can loom a little better sometimes but I don't think its worth the price for the same reasons I don't like digital anime, you're still able to potentially lose them if the service you got them from goes down or no longer supports it.

Deleted member 4555

@Demelza - wow, that's a really neat collection of books; and some really great shelving - well arranged there! 😃

(Takes notes) 😄

Plus, cute Poke-plushies! 😄 (will she notice if one or five go missing? ... 🤔 )


I really like owning physical manga because you have the first-hand reproduction of the artwork (as opposed to it being digital I mean), and there are some really great artworks out there that need to be appreciated, like Yoshiyuki Sadamoto and CLAMP! 😃

Deleted member 4555

side table
Also @Neil.T we need one of these - so you can stub your toe on it, but also so we can have some books on it to read 👍


Also, I think if a publisher is going to produce something that's exclusively digital, they're going to end up cutting off their nose to spite their face. I like to think there's still huge demand for printed stuff, despite how much more ecologically aware the world is gradually becoming. I personally don't think it's a good idea to just produce something that completely neglects an entire market. I get that printing costs are high as well (it certainly can't be cheap), but I guess it comes down to the - (at least personal) - pure joy of owning a physical release of something. As Neil mentioned, you might well have a storage device that stores a momumental amount of stuff on it, but, I know I'd end up forgetting it's even there, or I'd be unable to find it, or I'd accidentally delete it, or something! I know that printing has it's setbacks and things can go awry (i.e maybe books not being bound properly or the printing being rubbish), but printed media doesn't corrupt, and it's hard to lose a book!

I think personally as well, a book (to me) feels complete, whereas a digital book is just digital a file. It just doesn't have the same...essence that a book has? - where you have the cover artwork and endpapers etc. It's the same with a DVD/BD - you have the complete cover with artwork and extras, whereas if it's digital, it's just a file.
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School Idol
It's a lot easier with physical copies of games to say "Your pile of games to play is too high. Please stop buying and play the existing games you have purchased before buying new ones." 😆

Watch the digital games on my PS4 list gradually get knocked to the bottom and forgotten. Oh dear...



It's a lot easier with physical copies of games to say "Your pile of games to play is too high. Please stop buying and play the existing games you have purchased before buying new ones." 😆

Watch the digital games on my PS4 list gradually get knocked to the bottom and forgotten. Oh dear...

Ah yes, watching my brother's pile of physical games enjoyed over and over again while my digital games gather binary... games are a bit of a different beast for some people, I like to have more content for the game, you could get that even with digital copies

awadama fever

Za Warudo
I buy most of my manga digitally (on Kindle). The only exception is stuff that's not available there and doesn't seem to be anytime soon (like Zelda). I get novels/LNs and whatever else on there too. Viz do a lot of £2.99 sales. Kodansha books are usually around £8 (which is more than I'll pay), but they're quite good for sales too. Yen Press books are usually around £5, which is alright. The only exception is Seven Seas, who generally charge about £9 per volume and never have sales. No thanks.

I'm not into getting graphic novels (like DC/Marvel stuff) digitally - they're too small on my Kindle and I can't be bothered fiddling with zooming in, so I just buy them in real paper books.

Anime, I prefer to buy on DVD or BD. Exceptions are series that can only be streamed (like Netflix exclusives) or titles that are only available in collector's editions/big card boxes of tat/expensive import only.

So for example, I streamed S1 of MHA (on Funi Now), because I didn't want to pay £60 for a load of odds and ends. Now Manga are releasing a sensible £20 version, I'll be buying it for my collection.

Games - I very rarely buy games when they're new out. I prefer to let them drop below £20. I don't really care whether they're physical or digital, just whatever I can get cheapest.

Exception: Switch/3DS games. I generally avoid Nintendo digital games because of storage and also because they never really go down very much in price. I'm happy to have a physical collection of them - plus stuff like Zelda, Pokemon and Mario very rarely drop in price, so I usually buy them on release (or soon after).


CCG’s Reaper
AUKN Staff
Amazing collection @Demelza!

I’m firmly a physical media over digital kind of person though I have found myself using streaming services a lot more for anime recently. My philosophy is that if I watch a series on streaming and like it enough I’ll seek out a physical version, especially if there’s a CE/LE.

With games I’d say it’s 50/50, especially with older titles and hard to get ones (i.e. Persona 3 FES, LSD Dream Emulator.) I don’t really buy many albums nowadays, and spent most of April listening to my dissertation playlist on Spotify.


I have long been a physical fan for media but I am trying to switch over to things digital/going through stuff to whittle them down.

I have a kindle which I use for books, i heard that they are not very good for manga?

I have over a 1000 CD's and never know what music to put on so have been using spotify lol! My plan is to put it all onto a memory card and then have that in my car so that I can whittle down what I don't like anymore.

I tend to stream anime and then purchase what I like on Blu-ray, to give money to support whatever anime i think are worth it. Plus Blu-ray Anime's is often is tarted up before the blu-ray release.

With PS4 Games, i have been generally buying them physically, as I always think of selling them afterwards but since having VR I am preferring digital games, it also loads faster etc.


Completely Average High School Student
Even though it's more a digital age now a days I prefer a physical copy of a movie or book. I'm old fashioned I guess.


Death Scythe
I love owning anime but I've had to clear out some as I own too many. I'm being more careful with my physical copies now and have embraced Prime and Netflix for some digital anime,