Honto.jp Ebooks Legal?

Recently, I exchanged emails with Fabio from Italy, who contacted me about honto.jp’s eBooks, particularly regarding the legality of it. As it seems, he was able to buy and read eBooks/eMangas on honto’s PC program found here: http://honto.jp/ebook/dlinfo.html.

But his inquiry to me was how legal was it? Would honto.jp just delete all your ebooks one day when they find out you don’t live in Japan?

I couldn’t find much information on the internet about this, only in their FAQs that it’s only supported within domestic Japan. As a result, he contacted honto’s customer service in English and honto replied back in Japanese. It seems that they understood his inquiry and he sent me their reply for translation. I am not going to copy and paste the email here, but the gist of it is that:

Their eBook service is limited to customers within domestic Japan. It is a possible to purchase eBooks from overseas, but using, or the means of using the computer/devices overseas is outside of their support (basically they are not subjected to providing support for their eBooks outside of their region).

They do not explicitly say it’s illegal or that it will someday disappear…just that if you buy and can’t read it for whatever reason (no supported devices), you would be on your own. For the most part, it should work! but only on the Windows app (no native Mac app at this time; you can Bootcamp or run Windows on a VM for Mac).

See Fabio’s screenshot below for what the Windows app looks like:


There is also a protection lock for the program that prevents you from using 3rd party programs to capture pages of the ebook.

Maybe the browser plugin works for reading honto ebooks as well. I do not sure

Don’t forget that you still would not be able to read the ebooks/emanga on a non-Japanese tablet/smartphone and quite possibly, if you’re not living in Japan (because of region lock for app store). It has been confirmed by ETf that the honto app on iOS does work; however, non-Japanese Android devices may not work. From my previous post, I mentioned that the honto app is not available for out of Japan devices to download (if you don’t own a device from a Japanese mobile provider). I have not tested installing the honto .apk file outside of the Play Store. If you haven’t read my previous post on what doesn’t work for honto’s eBooks, it’s at: https://kaizora.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/honto-jp-ebooks/

Hope this helps! Thanks again, Fabio!

About Kaizora

A front-end web designer/developer with an interest in the human side of things.
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13 Responses to Honto.jp Ebooks Legal?

  1. Pingback: Honto.jp Ebooks | Without Restraints

  2. ETf says:


    I’d just like to say that you can read honto ebooks on iOS tablets, as long as you have a Japanese account that you use to download the app in the first place. The app is free on the iOS store, at least, and Apple doesn’t frown on the practice as far as I know. I’ve been using it for half a year now without any problems. Confirmed. I prefer it to reading on the PC, because the font is handled that much better. True antialiasing, yay! (You’d think this would be easier on the PC than in tablets, but I guess whoever wrote their PC app just had no idea about ease-of-use functionalities.)

    I think it’d probably be different if it’s Android, but at least they don’t try to check your physical location like Kindle.

  3. Pingback: ebook Seller News | Ebook Sellers Reviews

  4. Pingback: Where to buy Japanese manga, digitally | 夜の向こうには 光がある。

  5. seiyuubcn says:

    Just some questions about Honto and their e-book files management…
    I’ve just checked on Googleplay and the Honto app doesn’t seem to be available in Spain (where I live). Does that mean that I wouldn’t be able to read any e-book that I’d purchase from them?
    When you buy e-books at Honto do you get the epub file straight away or do you actually need to go trough their app so as to manage the files?
    I was thinking of buying some e-novels, but if I can’t eventually obtain the files by any means (since I can’t install their app because it is not available in my country), it doesn’t seem to make any sense at all, does it?
    If someone knows the answers to my questions, I’d be more than grateful to get a reply :)

    • Kaizora says:

      If you can’t read the e-books on a mobile app, then you can still read it in their PC app. Do you own a PC? Try downloading it by clicking on the first button out of the 3 that says “PC windows” when you get to this page: http://honto.jp/ebook/dlinfo.html. I don’t think they’re epub files… I believe you need to login to your honto account once you download one of their apps and then you would be able to access it that way…

  6. seiyuubcn says:

    Wow! Thanks for replying! You were so quick! :)

    I tried downloading the Windows version as you suggested, and it works properly on my PC. I also tried downloading a random free e-book out of Honto and could actually open it on the PC software.

    However, what’s the point in getting e-books if you can’t read them in other devices? I’d like to manage the files I pay for so that I could read my e-books on my e-reader (Kobo) or, at least, on my android tablet, since I really hate reading on my PC.

    I can’t really see the advantages of buying an ebook if you don’t really own it and you can’t even read it when you’re not home… :(

    Thanks for your quick reply, anyway. I appreciated that! :)

  7. Pingback: Free eBooks from honto.jp | Without Restraints

  8. amVspR says:

    Hi, please help me with this issue. I bought a manga from honto.jp, the manga showed on the menu マイ本棚 but I cannot read it on my PC (I’ve already install honto app) T.T. It didn’t show on the app.

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