Novels BlanketJust in time for February’s rush of romance-related news, Blanket (manta.net), S. Korean e-publishing company RIDI‘s all-you-can read webtoon app/subscription service recently added prose novels to their service. Novel Blanket debuted on February 1 with 10 novel series, most of which are already available in webtoon/comics format on Manta.

While Manta’s webtoon service offers all-you-can-read webtoons for a flat, monthly fee of $4.99/month for “unlimited access to over 15,000 episodes,” the novels are not included in this “all-you-can-read” subscription. Manta Novels are offered for purchase on a per-volume basis, generally 35 gems per volume (which includes 10+ chapters and up to 300+ pages of content). When you convert the cost of the gems ($2.99/30 gems, at the rate without the bonus “free” gems for buying in more, that roughly comes out to $3.50 per volume, but the final cost can be much less if you buy more gems at a discounted rate)

The ten series that are included in this first wave of prose novel titles on Manta Novel are mostly romance-fantasy (aka “romantasy”) series, and all are the original source material for many of the most-read series in Manta’s webtoon library.

“As part of our initiative to broaden our intellectual property (IP) portfolio, we have witnessed overwhelming support for our comics from fans. “We are confident that providing the original narratives will further amplify the affection and delight fans have for each title, ultimately highlighting the impactful nature of compelling storytelling,” said Han Lee, Global PR Lead of Manta Comics.

The 11 series included in the first releases on Manta Novel include:

Under the Oak Tree by Suji (novel)Under the Oak Tree by Suji (novel)
Under the Oak Tree by Suji (novel)

Under the Oak Tree by Suji (Ongoing – 10 volumes) Stuttering lady Maximilian is forced into a marriage with Sir Riftan, but he leaves on a campaign after their wedding night. 3 years later, he triumphantly returns, ready to cherish her. All fairy tales end with a wedding and a happily-ever-after. Their love began with a wedding — this is no fairytale.

lady devil by B. cenci (Ongoing – 3 volumes)
In hopes to escape a forced marriage, Giovinetta makes a wish to the devil to save her, but what she doesn’t know are the consequences of her actions. Read the steamy story of a girl who just wants to be with the one man she is forbidden to love.

I Raised a Black Dragon by Daiseul (Ongoing – 2 volumes)
After dying from overwork, Noa ends up possessing the body of Eleanora, the villainess from a novel. Noa simply wants to lead a peaceful life and tries not to interfere with the original story. That is, until a baby dragon that’s meant to imprint on the heroine imprints on her de ella instead of ella…

The Accidental Heiress by supia (novel)The Accidental Heiress by supia (novel)
The Accidental Heiress by supia (novel)

The Accidental Heiress by supia (Ongoing – 5 volumes)
Florist Riella never meant to catch the attention of Duchess Horssen with her shining flowers, and she certainly didn’t mean to inherit her entire fortune! So when the enraged Grand Duke Hann appears before her to claim possession of her inheritance, what is she to do? Can she defend her de ella newfound title de ella?

Finding Camellia by Jin Soye (Completed- 3 volumes)
Camellia was just 12 when she was taken away from her mother in the slums and forced to live as the son of an aristocratic family. But under the layers of secrets and lies, she never forgets. She continues to struggle to be her true self again, to reclaim the life of Camellia.

I've Become a True Villainess by Flowing HonEy (novel)I've Become a True Villainess by Flowing HonEy (novel)
I’ve Become a True Villainess by Flowing HonEy (novel)

I’ve Become a True Villainess by Flowing HonEy (Completed – 7 volumes)
I’ve died and been reincarnated as the villain of a romance novel! In order to avoid the hidden fate that awaits me, I’ve righted her wrongs and even gotten engaged. I should be home free, but strange things have started happening ever since the heroine appeared. Why n’t her fiancé leave me alone?

Lies Become You by Seoru (novel)Lies Become You by Seoru (novel)
Lies Become You by Seoru (novel)

Lies Become You by Seoru (Ongoing – 4 volumes)
Femme fatale Veronica is sentenced to death for obsessing over the prince. With her life now in danger, she boards a ship to escape, unaware that it belongs to her archnemesis, the alluring Prince Halid. He agrees to help her, but only on the condition that she intends to be his wife!

Amine of the Lamp by Eeyeol Chun (Completed – 5 volumes)
Amina, one of the last wizards, loses her loved ones when her palace comes under attack. Trying to turn back time to save them, she gets stuck inside a lamp. 300 years later, Jakard, a military commander, wakes her up. He has three wishes before Amina returns to the lamp. What will I wish for?

Observing Elena Evoy by Myeongcho (novel)Observing Elena Evoy by Myeongcho (novel)
Observing Elena Evoy by Myeongcho (novel)

Observing Elena Evoy by Myeongcho (Completed – 5 volumes)
Blessed with both beauty and brains, it was only natural for Johann to be the top student at the Academy — that is, until Elena Evoy appears. To make things worse, she seems completely unfazed by her charms, shattering her self-esteem. So why can’t he stop thinking about her?

Betrayal of Dignity by KIMPA (Completed – 5 volumes)
In order to save her family from ruin, Chloe Verdier must find a groom for her sister, Alice. She soon runs into the handsome but arrogant Duke Thisse who makes a proposal that could save them. When Alice flees with a mysterious man, Chloe must seek out the Duke in the biggest gamble of her life.

Wish Upon a Husband by hesese (novel)Wish Upon a Husband by hesese (novel)
Wish Upon a Husband by hesese (novel)

Wish Upon a Husband by hesese (Ongoing – 2 volumes)
One wrong wish and now I have two husbands?! After finding a wish-granting statue, Renea jumps at the chance to turn her love life around. However, what was supposed to be a wish to make her cheating husband fall in love with her ends up as a wish to marry the hunky statue instead! Can Renea pull off having two husbands without getting caught?

While these initial offerings provide fans lots to read from the get-go, there’s more to come. According to Lee, We plan to provide regular updates with new series and volumes on a monthly basis.”

Many Manta webtoon series are also offered as “simulpub” releases, with new chapters available in English very shortly after they’re released in Korean. If webnovels prove to be as popular as the webtoon versions, then it’s possible that fans clamoring for the latest developments in their favorite series will be able to read it in English faster than ever, a move that will theoretically discourage unauthorized translations and online piracy – a problem that plagues webnovels as much as manga or webtoons.

One reason for the appeal of webnovels is that they allow readers to “read ahead” of the webtoon stories, to see what happens next. For stories with a lot of cliff-hangers and drama, waiting a week for a new chapter of the webtoon to come out can feel like forever. But reading the novel version can give readers immediate, binge-able gratification – at a price, of course! But if you wanna know if the reborn villainess is going to get out of that nail-biting turn of events in the latest chapter of the webtoon, or if you want even more details about the story that somehow doesn’t quite make it into the webcomics version, well, webnovels are going to be your jam.

Webnovels are a “prolific source of intellectual property” and they’re big business in S. Korea. According to the Korean Government’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea, in 2021, the webnovel industry generated approximately $750 million (USD) in revenue, with an estimated 5.87 readers in S. Korea alone.

Manta Novel Under the Oak Tree prose previewManta Novel Under the Oak Tree prose preview
Manta Novel preview page

Webnovels are also the source material for numerous webtoon, TV drama series and movies, but it’s only relatively recently that more of them are being translated from Korean into English and made more readily available via apps and websites. Besides Manta Novel, other apps, including Kakao Entertainment‘s Tapas Web Novels, Content First‘s TappyToonand Yonder, a webnovel-focused app/service run by Naver (the parent company of WEBTOON) have been offering webnovels to readers by chapter or by volume.

According to Lee, The genesis of webnovels in Korea dates back to the late 2000s, coinciding with the monetization of serialized novels on various small to mid-sized platforms. The term ‘webnovel’ gained mainstream recognition in the early 2010s when Naver introduced its webnovel service. Subsequently, major players like Kakao and RIDI entered the scene, contributing to the significant growth of the industry.”

While webtoons are steadily making their way into print graphic novel format in English, webnovels in print are still a relatively new phenomenon, with only a handful scheduled for print release in N. America so far. But given that translated light novels from Japan and danmei (BL) novels from China have been steadily finding their way into readers’ hearts (and getting them to open their wallets), more webnovels from Korea are likely to find their way to more bookstore shelves eventually.

Under the Oak Tree by suji, P and Namu (webtoon)Under the Oak Tree by suji, P and Namu (webtoon)
Under the Oak Tree by suji, P and Namu (webtoon)

One notable upcoming release is Penguin Random House Inklore‘s upcoming print release of the Under the Oak Tree novels along with the graphic novels. The hardcover edition of the first volume of the Under the Oak Tree novels by Suji will hit shelves on July 9, 2024, with the first volume of the full-color Under the Oak Tree graphic novels illustrated by Q and adapted by namu to follow on September 3.

Under the Oak Treea romantic, often steamy fantasy series about a shy, stuttering young noble woman who marries a warrior/hero is one of Manta’s most read webtoon series.

Under the Oak Tree has garnered a devoted fanbase due to its profound character development, epic narrative, and intricate world-building,” said Lee. “What begins as a seemingly spicy romantic fantasy evolves into a journey that elicits a range of emotions, from laughter to tears, with readers wholeheartedly supporting the characters.”

While Under the Oak Tree is the only novel series from this initial group of Manta Novel titles scheduled for print release, it’s clear that Manta/RIDI has their eye on finding more ways for these stories to reach readers, including more possible print releases.

“As part of our commitment to growth and collaboration, we welcome partnerships with publishers and remain open to exploring various opportunities that contribute to the expansion of our intellectual property,” said Lee.

Travis Kim, CEO of Manta, added, “The introduction of our exclusive, unique, and exceptional novel collection to our global audience is a testament to Manta’s commitment to building a robust and sustainable IP ecosystem. We have a long history of offering the most proven stories, some of which have already achieved global success through digital comics and screen adaptations. As a company deeply rooted in the power of stories, we understand what fans seek, and we are proud to provide them with outstanding story IP in every way possible.”


To check out Manta’s webtoons and novel offerings for yourself, visit Manta.netor look up Manta on Apple’s App Store or Google Play to download the apps for iOS or Android mobile devices.



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