Reading Platforms Master Post

Note: This post will be updated continuously. It’s not as thorough as I want it to be, but I wanted to publish it more than I wanted to wait until my second hip dislocation was fully healed (and potentially get stuck in bed for another month or two in case i have the same injury again). It’ll be updated very soon, assuming I can sit more than a few minutes without severe pain.


Not only is today’s post later, but also a little different. I don’t really talk about parenting on this blog, since it’s not the focus, nor do I usually make posts that target parents or other legal guardians.

Well, today that is exactly what this post is about. Well, it’s targeting parents to keep their kids safe, so it sort of touches on parenting.

This post came to be during a bout of insomnia (which I still suffer from) when I went into a webnovel/webcomic binge (which I’m still in). I decided to explore different platforms, considering making some batch posts covering them. This was all fine and dandy until I came across a platform with highly questionable content with users mentioning their young ages. My worry, as a parent, for these kids (who clearly need a lesson in internet safety themselves) led me to the decision to make a post covering all platform I can find and access (and understand!)… and here we are.

I think this post is especially important because I’m in a very unique situation. Most who have pre-teens or young teens are older than I am, at times considerably so. My bonus kid is a preteen and I’m 31 this year, while my partner’s 29. We both grew up on the internet, because we just happen to be of the earlier net-gen to grow up here. The situation is much different though. I (and my partner) had to navigate the internet without any safety network and just our common sense and advice from parents not as used to the cyberweb as we became.

My experience with being a teen on the net includes having people give our phone number together my name, essentially catfishing some dude who thought I was 18. It was one of the early instances of cyberbullying, and I was 13 at the time. It also includes roleplaying, hanging on forums/message boards, the now down AnimeNfo Radio and its chat and encountering content I wish my innocent eyes would have been spared of. I had to learn as i went along, figuring out which sites were safe for me, and how to behave. This include a multitude of now defunked not-so-very-legal manga reading sites. there’s also this one Digimon fanfic site I lost, which had a fic I really liked, and i will forever wonder if it ever even ended.

So while it was in ancient cybertimes, I have grown up being the preteen and teen reading stuff online or downloading stuff to read. It was primitive in comparison, but parents who could learn the internet before having kids is really the only difference between my entirely self-learnt internet behaviour as a kid and today’s generation. That and parental controls. Imagine having that in the early 00’s? Damn. I mean, I have some experience fo late 90’s internet use as well, but let’s face it, pre-10 years of age is a really vague time of my life and I barely used it, though I went through a computer usage course at age of 6.

So while I am the parent who need to keep the kid safe with the tools provided today, I’ve also been that very kid I need to protect. This is what puts me in a unique position, and I believe I have a fairly good idea of how kids behave online. After all, most of my native social circles online were pre-teens or young teens back when I first began using the internet socially and these are the kids that are the most likely to be in need of more heavy control of these platforms.

Well, so do older teens, but I’m assuming you, as a parent, have taught them pbasics of using the internet by the time they’re 15-16. If you’re uncertain what basic use includes, this means knowing to stay away from content inappropriate for one’s age, and knowing that this responsibility is on them, not other people, if you put that sort of trust in them.

Every kid and adult will come across uncomfortable content, yes, but this is when we should move away ourselves, not blame the content creators. Unless a platform specifically prohibits something or is giving faulty information, then it’s neither platform nor creator’s fault if you stumble across it. Knowing to read content policies and when to report content is included in basic use of internet when we speak of these platforms.

Well, that’s enough of my parenting advice and backstory. I got a little long-winded now, but it’s to avoid it later. This is a post about the platforms, not me giving a long lecture at the end on hope to handle the internet before i share which platforms I recommend.

I was planning on posting this much earlier, but I was unfortunate to partially dislocate my hipe twice in two months so right when I was about to recover enough to finish the post for its initial release, I was stuck in bed again. I’m still in pain and this list is far from complete, but I wanted to get it out there, even if it meant suffering while seated at my computer to clean this post up and get it out there.

Defintions
Let’s start with the definition of “reading platform”, because this can be incredibly vague. Does this include a store? Is it a store? Is it an app related to a store, eg Kindle? Because of this, I decided to get a bit more specific than just broad including anything. Especially since this post will be updated over time, because I will add more platforms or strike out any platforms that are removed later on.

Reading Platform: A website or app with the primary purpose of reading serial published novels or comics. The issues may be free, or maybe cost money. Often uses a platform-specific currency, such as “gems” or “coins”, that can be bought with real money or otherwise received through ads, promotions or daily check-ins. Content is generally self-published in its original form, but may be translated to English for these apps. They tend to have comment features for the community to discuss each issue and/or give the author (positive/constructive) comments. May offer subscriptions.

Bookshop: An online store with books, comics and/or audiobooks. Primarily sells books or issues, and may have an integrated reading feature, app with integrated shop or sell ereaders. The primary purpose is sales and often lack community.

Age Rating: I will use age based on PEGI ages, so 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+ and 18+, for my recommendation. But I have added as much information as I can find for these including PEGI (Europe), ESRB (USA), CERO (Japan) and Apple’s App Store rating (mostly USA).

Note: This post will be updated periodically. I will make a note in future posts whenever this happens.

Also note: I base most of the information on what I easily access and/or am used to, meaning primarily stuff available in Europe and PEGI ratings. Languages listed are languages I know or that are common to list in my area, meaning English,. Japanese, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Swedish, Finnish, and Italian. Other languages are just lumped into “other”.

This posy will focus on the content in context of what is age appropriate. This is sort-of-not a review post, and I will do actual reviews for these in the future.


Bravonovel
Offers: Novels
Website? Yes, lacking only a couple of app features like downloading chapters.
App? Yes, Android and iOS.
Log-in alternatives: Facebook, Google, LINE
Language(s): English,
Subscription: No
Website Purchases? Yes, for the diamond currency and through PayPal.
In-App Purchases? Yes, for the diamond currency.
Ads? Yes, small banners located here and there in app, and the occasional pop-up ad between chapters.
Featured titles? Yes, “featured” banners, “Editor’s Picks” and a really annoying ad for a novel when you start the app.
Free currency/passes? Yes, the pearl currency. You get those from “tasks” and levelling up, but they expire after a set amount of time.
Mature rating & Content Warnings: Unless author adds it in the description, no.
Other features: Rating translations.
Official Rating: PEGI 3, 3+ (Play Store JP), Everyone (Play Store US), 17+ (App Store)
Anny’s Rating: 18+
Comment: This platform includes erotica, so this is best suited for 18+, so underaged folks don’t end up reading inappropriate content. It’s fine if you trust your 16+ year old though. Aside from the erotica, novels may not be appropriate for younger YA (12-15) or below.


Tapas
Offers: Comics, Novels
Website? Yes.
App? Yes, Android and iOS.
Log-in Alternatives: Email, Facebook, Google
Language(s): English
Subscription: No.
Website Purchases? Yes
In-App Purchases? Yes.
Ads? Yes, if that’s how the author gets paid.
Featured titles? Yes. They got plenty of promotions in general.
Free currency/passes? Yes, given weekly for specific titles. Also has some titles that are wait-for-free.
Mature rating & Content Warnings: Yes, marker for all mature content. Officially supported works also have content warnings.
Other features: Mature content filter.
Official Rating: PG, 12+ (Play Store JP), T 13+ (Play Store US), 17+ (App Store)
Anny’s Rating: 16+
Comment: Tapas is a very good platform. They only allow graphic 18+ material on their website, and all mature content in content is marked with an M both in the app and on the site. It’s safe to let your older teens use the app, and if you trust your younger teen or they’re very mature, the app is perfectly fine to use. The Mature Content Filter doesn’t stop kids from accessing mature marked content in the app, but gives a heads-up since it can be easily missed otherwise when reading back-to-back episodes/chapters.


WebComics
Offers: Comics, Novels
Website? Yes.
App? Yes, Android and iOS.
Log-in Alternatives: Email, Facebook, Google, LINE, Twitter
Language(s): English, Chinese, other
Subscription: Yes, monthly, quarterly and yearly.
Website Purchases? Yes.
In-App Purchases? Yes.
Ads? Yes.
Featured Titles? Yes.
Free currency/passes? Yes, coins, and 12-hour and 24-hour passes. They also have free events that makes a comic free for a day. You get coins through reading and may be given free passes.
Mature rating & Content Warnings: Yes, for comics. No specific content warnings.
Other features: Gold Miner “game” and spinning wheel to get coins.
Official Age Rating: PG, 12+ (Play Store JP), T 13+ (Play Store US), 17+ (App Store)
Anny’s Rating: 18+
Comment: They mark all chapters that may not be appropriate because of mature content or violence, but it’s not always this rating is correct, meaning a PEGI 16 chapter might just follow PEGI 12 guidelines. I can’t say I’ve come across it being the other way around. I don’t recommend this to ages below 18, unless an older teen that can be trusted though. Annoying frequent ads.


Webnovel
Offers: Comics, Novels
Website? Yes.
App? Yes, Android and iOS. Has a Lite app too.
Log-in Alternatives: Email, Facebook, Google, Huawei, LINE, Twitter
Language(s): English, Chinese, Spanish, other
Subscription: Yes, monthly.
Website Purchases? Yes, through Paypal and Stripe.
In-App Purchases? Yes.
Ads? No.
Featured Titles? Yes. List of daily recommendations, etc.
Free currency/passes? Yes, through check-in rewards and “missions”.
Mature rating & Content Warnings: Yes, you’ll find it below the description, while in the app it’s at the bottom on the about page.
Other features: AI to tailor your recommendations in app.
Official Rating: PG, 12+ (Play Store JP), T 13+ (Play Store US)
Official Rating (Lite): PEGI 16, 16+ (Play Store JP), M 17+ (Play Store US), 17+ (App Store)
Anny’s Rating: 18+
Comment: Age ratings aren’t always accurate or might even be missing. There are 18+ material which aren’t market appropriately so I don’t recommend this to anyone below legal age.


WEBTOON
Offers: Comics
Website? Yes.
App? Yes, Android and iOS.
Log-in Alternatives: Email, Apple, Facebook, Google, LINE, Twitter
Language(s): English, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, other
Subscription: No
Website Purchases? Yes
In-App Purchases? Yes.
Ads? Yes, some.
Featured Titles? Yes.
Free currency/passes? Not really.
Mature rating & Content Warnings: Yes.
Other features: Nothing specific.
Official Rating: PG, 12+ (Play Store JP), T 13+ (Play Store US), 12+ (App Store)
Anny’s Rating: 12+
Comment: Webtoon is likely one of the safest apps I know of. They have a stricter content policy that other platforms, with sexual content being very PEGI 12. Violence seems to be a little more acceptable, but it’s still limited to somewhere between PEGI 12 and PEGI 16 levels.


Will be added in the near future: apps Mangatoon, WeComics; Overall Recommended Platforms; list of bookshops with similar functionality

Would you like to see more master posts like this? Posts with some parent angle? Add another platform? Let me know in a comment!


This post is available thanks to the love and support of my readers and patrons. If you find this post useful, drop a tip on Ko-fi, subscribe on Patreon, donate through Paypal, like this post or give me a comment. All funding goes directly to the blog so I can keep it going. It’s a serious money sink.

Want to chat with other lovers of any form of fiction and creative work? Join Anny’s Cosy Cottage on Discord! You can also follow The Anny Blog on Twitter for updates and live-tweets, or The Anny Blog on Instagram to get some scarce behind-the-scenes content.

All posts are scheduled! You can find out what is coming up and has been in the past by looking at the Master List! It’s updated sporadically, though so check the last update date, and feel free to poke me on Twitter.

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