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News Article
Why Manga Publishing Is Dying (And How It Could Get Better)
Jason Thompson at io9 has written an article on the current and future state of manga. I recommend you read his take on things
http://io9.com/5874951/why-manga-publishing-is-dying-and-how-it-could-get-better
Posted by lambchopsil on January 24th 7:53pm Comments ( 53 )  [ View ]  [ Add ]
Comments

» Tenji on January 24th, 2012, 2:34pm

The problem is that its difficult to gain access to newer volumes in America. Not only is there too much delay in the translation and delivery, there are too less places that sells them.

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» Kaitentsuki on January 24th, 2012, 4:12pm

Dont forget that less popular manga have no way to get read since they are far less likely to get translated, which is a shame because some mangas have appeals to certain types of peoples or personality.
On the side note i have to say damm one piece is owning in sales o_O

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» noctemleya on January 24th, 2012, 4:22pm

They really can't blame it all on piracy. Except for the problems Tenji mentioned, a lot of japanese-to-american translations are really badly made, which is a turnoff for the fans. Censorship is another issue: how do you expect someone to buy his favourite comic if you cripple the story? Of course people would much rather search for mangas online if they find out the quality of scanlations is better than the quality of the bought manga.
Actually publishers should really stop whining and move along with the times. As the article itself says, the manga market has become outdated and publishers should start thinking about digitalizing their content, thus making it more available (plus cheap and ecological) for everyone. Webtoons are a proof of that, and crunchyroll is a proof that you can sell cheap legal anime and still make money. So why not do the same with manga?

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» SAimNE on January 25th, 2012, 12:00am

True post is true. I would really love a pay site(not too expensive) where you could read manga scans and most of the profit goes to the publishers. Then the remaining profit goes to the scanalation groups that translated/cleaned, site fees, server maintenance, and improvements.(they would have to crack down hard on things like mangafox... but tbh... who cares about mangafox?)

Of course they could also have a free version with ads... cuz if every single person who wants manga is going to the same site.... Ad revenue will be freaking awesome. Hopefully someone can find a way to put this together and get a fair payment system(big boys get a set agreed payment, and the rest get based on the number of visitors they draw in)... plus they could market merchandise(and maybe even advanced payment on hard copies) on another part of the site since basically their entire english market would see it.

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» ashi on January 26th, 2012, 11:07am

I also agree that there should be cooperation between scanlators and mangakas (if it's online, leave publishers aside XD). A pay site (not crazy expensive) in all languages as they become available by scanlators. Pay if you want to read the chapter as soon as it comes out and free after a week being up, because they would make manoey out of ads.
You are all talking about publishing in the US, but (besides MU) everywhere I go that is manga related you have people from all over the world reading the scanlations in English, because to be honest, it's the only possible way. If I wanted to buy manga here I would have to go to the capital of my country, where I would find very few titles translated into Spanish by Spaniards, most of the words I would have to look up because I don't know many of the slang they use.
Honestly, internet is the only option for many people out there. If I ordered them online I would have to pay 3 times the money it really costs, not to mention... how could I possibly know that this or that title exist if I hadn't read it before?
If all they want to make more money from us consumers, they should do it smartly and offer realistic, fast options.

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» ratgr on February 1st, 2012, 7:30pm

I agreee totally thi s will be a solution and I can say I buy manga when I can, But its no so simple I tend to read manga not-so-popular I have no problem whit it being in english (it may be even better) but still I cannot buy them even in english and when I can just the shipping price is twice or even thrice the cost of the manga and that just US-Mexico somethimes you need to ship it from europe and that is not a solution.
I think the solution will be to simply Host them online and like you said if you pay see it imediately and if you dont pay then a week or even until the next chapter comes Out an whit lots of advertisement
Or YOu know I would Like to make our own hosting site where using adds we could pay for the rights I Know its really hard but you know if lots of scanlation teams group toguether we can make it and scanlators may even get a profit for it (not a lot).
I will make a Post about this.

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» VawX on January 24th, 2012, 7:27pm

it's theoretically a lot easier in America, while in many other countries just a small number of titles published there (here), not to mention the access to the new volumes of published titles also slow mmm...

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» imercenary on January 24th, 2012, 4:24pm

From the article itself : "while they've [Japanese publishers] dicked around, scanlators have taken things into their own hands."

This says it all.

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» thevampirate on January 24th, 2012, 4:38pm

the solution is simple, keep doing the old stuff since stopping it would kill the industry but start with suing the aggregators into oblivion (millions of dollars on top of shutting them down so no one else would think to do that again sends a nice message). Once the aggregators are gone start giving the manga away for free. Ad Revenue should bring in far more money than licensing. They might even want to allow people to submit translations to them (aka scanlations) making even more traffic.

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» derpMonster on January 24th, 2012, 4:38pm

people always laugh at yaoi fans for wanting a physical copy of books and not getting with vid digital times. Not really. After emanga came along, a lot of us have started buying pretty pricey online volumes. These usually have shoddy editing, poor translations and bad grammar (read sample pages of many emanga titles). A digital volume means it dies along with the company. We can't sell it like a used copy. We can't download and keep it for offline reading and we certainly can't keep it in our multiple devices. If the company prints the title, they won't print enough copies, won't reprint out of print copies, won't give a fixed publishing date and keep changing the date as well.

Publishers and translators on twitter being high and mighty about people hunting for scanlation: without scanlators, most mangaka won't even get exposure for english licensing. The popularity of yoneda kou and takarai rihito are pretty good examples.

The world of yaoi scanlations leaves much to be desired, with the closed comms, the rules, rules, everywhere and scanlators who don't care we have a life outside manga. It's not about the mangaka or stories anymore. Just an ego circlejerk.

It's best we learn japanese and import (if we work for manga money, we don't have time for japanese learning. And japanese titles also go out of print depending on how popular a title is with japanese fans - niche genres - not bleach or something). I don't see the licensing or scanlation world getting better anytime soon. Or you could learn chinese and pirate like what's going on in a majority of genres. No one catches chinese scanners, mangareaders or forums based in china. Just look at dm5.

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» catandmouse on January 24th, 2012, 5:08pm

I agree...I've been to e-manga to see the prices, and I think that paying 6-7 dollars for a digital copy of something I will never outrightly own is too much, I don't mind buying and paying 12 dollars for a book, because I know that I own the book and it won't disappear on someone else's whims.
I was really excited when I found out that Hana no Mizo Shiru was licensed in English, until I found out that it was only going to be released digitally, with the potential to be printed if it sold enough. I have not been able to find numbers for the release, but I wonder if enough people cared. I know that I for one have not paid to read the official English release because I am not interested in a digital copy I don't own. Maybe if I was given the option of actually buying my copy, then I would have been ok with the digitalization.

And I also agree with less than stellar official translations. For example, I love Bleach, but I hate Viz's translation, so as much as I would love to own the books, I won't buy them cus of the translations. I'm still waiting on a re-release of Ranma 1/2 that is not flipped, but I wonder if that will happen? And the translation of Seven Days by June was not all that great either, but that was a short series so I could live with that fact.

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» YummiMookies on January 26th, 2012, 5:18am

I hate having this problem. I used to buy a lot of books but after comparing translations...
Now, I only buy the ones I really, really want to keep. For example, I bought a copy of Sugar Milk because I wanted to hold it with my own hands, but if I feel like re-reading it then I'll use the one on my laptop.

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» Galooza on January 24th, 2012, 5:04pm

Part of the reason why the US manga scene sucks is that it takes 3 freakin months+ for a volume to come out. There is no weekly magazine that's consistently imported without maybe a 2 week delay every so often. One day, the publishers are gonna have to suck it up and stop hating on scanlators, and make a plan to incorporate them into the system. Scanlators only host sites and seek reimbursement on costs because they have to. If publishers ever discover the net and provide that, who knows what might come of it. But, I don't see that happening anytime real soon.

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» barbapapa on January 24th, 2012, 5:33pm

It's a pity. As a scanlator, and freelancing letterer, I do enjoy a solidly produced adaptation of a good manga. I wouldn't say the problem is piracy in itself, but despite the recent C&D actions towards onemanga and the likes, online reading sites are still too easily accessible. Every kid has access to the internet nowadays, and it can't get easier than just going to one place that collects every popular manga you'd wanna read. Plus kids don't have money, so there's that. The revenue created from people purchasing these popular manga offered a lot of space for publishers to do some more creative licensing. So in that sense it affects those looking for something a bit more "out there" just the same. Popular manga will always be out there, though, in every form.
As for people who honestly believe scanlations are better by default than published books, you have NO idea.

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» Verito.S on January 24th, 2012, 6:14pm

I still don't understand how they took so long to publish something, some random kid clean things faster, and I read an article not long ago about how the companies were paying people who barely knew japanese to do the translation (something like 6 dollars a page? and that they used to be 14+dollars a page) also, they change the whole volume form, and it's just... lame. I really don't see the point of buying chapters online :/. They should improve, there are tons of amazing manga which poor scanlation that fans would buy (because we can't really ask HQ scanlation all the time).

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» Here_And_Now on January 24th, 2012, 6:20pm

I live in rural America in one of the poorest counties in my state. The nearest Walmart is a 30 minute dive away; the nearest bookstore that carries manga other than Naruto is over an hour drive away, with a poor selection at that. If I wanted to buy any manga I'd have to order the physical copy online and have it shipped to my house (Can you say "expensive"?). Ultimately though I don't want to buy most American releases of manga, for numerous reasons. A lot of American translated manga has lost it's native charm; the honorifics have been taken out, they've been painfully altered to try and resemble American culture and history, or there's no guarantee the next volume (or in some cases the preceding volumes) will ever be published in English. As much as I want to support the manga industry (and I really do), I just can't justify going through the effort and expense it would take to obtain a product inferior to what I can get for free online. I do have a somewhat of a guilty conscious because of this, but I make sure to never keep any manga I download. I feel that if I didn't pay for it I don't have the right to keep a copy of it.

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» 0oKat~0 on January 24th, 2012, 6:24pm

Apart from availability and the speed of the translations by those US publishers, one of the biggest problem in this entire thing is mainly the cost, IMO. I've always found it weird that one volume of english-translated manga costs SGD9.00 - 12.00, while the chinese-translated version of the manga costs anywhere from SGD4.50-7.00, depending on the quality.

The english publishers should really either lower the cost of manga or speed up and increase the quality of the translations so that the english versions aren't lagging too far behind their japanese counterparts.

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» Quantum Mechanic on January 24th, 2012, 7:32pm

Indeed, what you are seeing is piracy acting as a market force. People dislike pirating things; most people would much rather pay a reasonable price to get their hands on something legitimately than pirate it. The key phrase, of course, is "a reasonable price".

An interesting example of this is Baen (an American Science-Fiction/Fantasy publisher) and their foray into ebooks. They priced their ebooks (their entire catalog of novels, BTW) at a little more than half that of a paperback, with absolutely no DRM in a multitude of formats. You'd think that this would set the stage for them going bankrupt due to the ease of pirating their stuff, but they're making money hand-over-fist. People would rather spend the 5 bucks to get the ebook than steal it. Contrast this with Tor (another American Science-Fiction/Fantasy publisher) and their foray into ebooks. Tor was charging more than twice as much as a new paperback for ebook versions of a limited selection of their new titles. Fairly soon, they stopped bothering offering them because almost no one would buy them.

American manga publishers are in roughly the same situation; they've set their prices too high. Readers *will* buy from them if they make quality translations easily available at a reasonable price. Until they do, however, they'll be in the same situation as the music industry in the pre-Amazon/iTunes, Napster-era.

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» kurosawaFan27 on January 24th, 2012, 9:20pm

Chuang Yi has been stellar with their English translations, release times of books, both paper quality (the bad paper used for Ouran and Otomen is a concern though) and pricing (And they pick some interesting titles like Karneval, Evangelion, Midori Days, TokiKake, Hoshi no Koe). It's under $10, making it even better than the raws that Kinokuniya sells anywhere from $10.70 to $20+ (understandable because the shipping can be high and renting their premises, paying people - all that costs money).

Wish Chuang Yi could pick more titles bigrazz

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» Myuym on January 24th, 2012, 7:11pm

I missed the manwha scene, of course someone could say "It's about Japan, so only manga" They are wrong, It's about the problem and the possible solutions to 'save' manga.
He should definitely have looked add or at least mentioned the format that Daum and Naver use for their webcomics.

http://cartoon.media.daum.net/webtoon
http://comic.naver.com/webtoon/weekday.nhn

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» dokko-dokko on January 25th, 2012, 6:20pm

i agree with you that he didn't do justice to webtoons and webcomics, but even then, i don't believe Daum/Naver are that much better at least from the pov of the creators. in that business model, manhwa has gone digital, but most artists work as salarymen, barely earning enough to make a living. some still wait for paperback sales of their works to draw in some earnings, and others go the way of limited-run publishing (set number of pre-orders from fans), depending on their publishers.

how do you increase sales, return more of the profit to artists and writers, have quality translations available to new markets quickly, at a reasonable price.... the manhwa and manga world have a lot of work cut out for them if they wanna survive. and labeling scanlations as "piracy" is no real solution to their problems.

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» FormX on January 24th, 2012, 9:33pm

Quote
As manga moves digital, I predict simpler art and more color.

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» archknight on January 24th, 2012, 10:41pm

look at webtoons, their all colors(noblesse,tower of god, god of highschool, etc etc)

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» RS456 on January 24th, 2012, 9:36pm

Well you have to consider the fact that we are now in the digital age. Except for newspapers, weekly and monthly mangazines, and educational books no one really reads books (exuding novel addicts). Now people want everything in movie or tv series format. If it is on the internet they might read on their free time while on the internet but they certainly will not bother with it if you have to pay for each and every chapter. Plus you have to look at the availabilty, manga is not available in most areas and the limited titles in english. Look what happened to Marvel and DC comics for not getting upto date twith the newest formats both went to backruptcy and one became part of Disney and the other became part of TimeWarner. Best suggestion I have for manga publishers is translate every manga they have and adopt mangafox way where everyone can freely read manga while they earn money for amount of hits they get plus give the option to buy the print versions of the manga for those that are interested. This will also cut losses for surplus manga plus they will earn money weather people buy the print version or not.

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» maine12329 on January 25th, 2012, 5:45am

Mixed opinions on this. Enough said.

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» RS456 on January 27th, 2012, 3:48pm

Well it would be legal plus some good scanlator groups might be hired to keep up with demand and on top of it free manga for all. So basically nothing realy changes except the ad revenue will go to the actual publishers than some middleman and its 100% legal.

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» T1 on January 25th, 2012, 8:06am

I know someone will be bitching about scanlations not being the fault so I wanna post this reality check:

Can they blame it on scanlations?

Of course they can. I would. I mean please, why should we buy a copy when we can get it for "free"? I mean I pay for the mode, laptop, router, electricity too so why can't I use the net to read it?

In the old days only those who wanted to find the manga found it so it was kinda hard since you had to find their sites and forums....then manganews came....and then mangaupdates came....and then the nice online readers who actually advertise openly here and there where to find the manga.

The readers?
Well most of them think it's legal, rest knows it's illegal but uses the excuse "I'm poor", the last part...well they know it's illegal and can buy but why do it?

The best excuse it to blame the ones who make the manga; "If they just made it available in the proper order as we like it then we wouldn't be doing it!"

lol please stop with the excuses. It's not your work, you got no right to decide what the mangaka and/or publishers can do and can't do it. If you want to decide then make a work yourself. It's easier to excuse your bad behavior than to admit you are bad xD

/me lols as he goes to read more manga on a manga online reader that advertise free manga to him

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» Quantum Mechanic on January 25th, 2012, 9:30am

I'll take "The Black and White Interpretation" for 500, Alex. No one said scanslations *weren't* part of it. They are, beyond any hint of an argument, a factor. Factor is the word to use, as in "variable". It is not, however, one which only has negative effects. Now, the manga industry can, to some degree, control that variable, whether through working with scanslators on one extreme, to filing DMCA takedowns to everyone and their grandma on the other. What they choose will influence how well they do. How it will influence it... Now that's the question.

When it comes to the ignorant, publishers have options that they rarely exercise (Highschool of the Dead and the "Buy the legally cool comic" comes to mind). As for people stealing, that's another variable they can control to some degree. Most people (you can exclude yourself, if you want) will choose to pay a reasonable price for something if it is available rather than steal it. All the existence of scanslations does is drive down the price that people consider reasonable. In a market where you have a preferred consumption method and a less preferred but cheaper consumption, if you drive the price of the preferred form up too much (or the supply down), consumers will switch to the less favored version. I mean, this is simple economics, for gawd's sake! Make no mistake, people do pay a price for scanslations: that nagging feeling that what you're doing is wrong.

All the internet does is add a new environmental factor. A business that completely ignores a fundamental change in their business environment will suffer; they either need to adapt to the new environment or try to change it and they have all the control they need to do that. Which, come to think of it, is the point of this entire thread. Spouting "We're the Devil and we're here to stay!" really isn't contributing much.

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» thevampirate on January 25th, 2012, 3:48pm

actually both Scanlations and Raws hurt the both the Japaneese and American manga industry. most aggregrators and places to find raw manga dont block Japanese IP addresses, so people in japan are reading manga online instead of buying volumes or magazines. I already said what I think the solution is. The 'free' model could essentially save the industry in my opinion. if you look at the amount of people who visit aggregators and assign a monetary value for each visit the manga companies are loosing anywhere from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions (in theroy at least) from aggregrators each year. Its obvious things need to change starting with cracking down on blatant piracy.

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» Quantum Mechanic on January 25th, 2012, 8:12pm

Both of which fall under "adapting to their new environment" and "acting to changing their business environment", respectively. I'm pretty sure I acknowledged that scanslation does have negative effects. I believe my phrase was "beyond any hint of an argument". However, it has not insignificant positive effects on the market as well.

Anyhow, in your proposal, the question becomes whether or not ad revenue would be sufficient to offset operating costs. In the case of less popular series, the answer would almost certainly be "no". At that point you have popular series having to pick up the slack and carry less popular series along. And there will be many more mediocre series than popular series. This is as opposed to their current model, where series both great and "meh" come bundled together (A yen for Naruto is a yen for Double Arts! or something). Thus, your proposed model makes popularity, and all of the appealing to the lowest common denominator that entails, much more important. Unless, of course, you could get many mangaka to do a full-time job for free.

Now, suing aggregators into oblivion is a little tricky. You can certainly sue them for hosting content which has been licensed in their country of operation (which always leads me to wonder why Mangafox hasn't been sued into a bloody smear for Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, etc.). However, IIRC, if the material isn't licensed in the country of operation, then you can't sue for hosting it. At which point, if aggregators follow the Scanslator's/Fansubber's Code, there's not much the publishers can do through legal means. Now, *scanners* are a different story.

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» T1 on January 27th, 2012, 1:53am

Very simple example:
I make a cookie, I decide who to give it to, not you. If you want to decide make your own cookie. So who are you to tell me to make an internet cookie instead of a real cookie?
You don't like people to tell you how to adapt when you don't want to, so why should they?

I don't get how people can't understand that you don't do something to others that you wouldn't want them to do to you...that's how black and white it is^^

You probably don't follow the japanese news but even if you go to animenewsnetwork, you can read how different authors have tried to work with people or just plainly hates people using their titles for pirating cuz that's what scanlation has become. The first group got people like love hina's and black jack's authors, the second got black lagoon's and berserk's authors.

Now coming to license, I'm quite sure that licensing is done when the titles is made and released in the original country. The only license other countries buys is a time period where they are allowed to translate, release and earn money on the title. If the publishers don't like it they can get their license back or stop the license, something Kodansha did when they opened up in usa or when they got tired of Tokyopops shitty work.

Now about mangafox, you won't find naruto, bleach or one piece on mangafox as I remember but I may be wrong. They were "told" to take them off. They are an illegal firm in China...China being the country where lots of copies are made and sold.

Scanlation has become such a big problem that the japanese were one of the first to discuss about ACTA with usa and south korea. Because they can see on the net that stuff is happening to their products, stuff they don't like cuz it affects their economy.^^

PS: I dunno with you, I don't feel any nagging guilt reading scanlations cuz "I'm a poor student and need my 200 titles" and "they could just license it in my country" and "It's normal, right?" wink

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» Milleniummaster18 on January 27th, 2012, 6:22pm

I don't see what the problem is with some mangakas, do they not want for their work to go international?

If they don't, too bad, but they're not getting it. Global is the future and we sure aren't stopping it because of them. Don't want your stuff to go on the internet? You don't want your stuff to be read by anyone, period.

They want a bigger slice of money (which I believe is the true reason behind this)? They're going to have to play ball, that means they HAVE to adapt to what the consumers demand (price, format, etc), down in Japan and out in the rest of the world (US primarily). Else, they don't have grounds to complain.

Don't like what people are doing to your work? Either keep it to yourself or work for an alternative where everybody wins.

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» Sayori x3 on January 27th, 2012, 6:57pm

A lot of mangakas precisely do not want their work to go international. They know that their works, or derivations of them, will be on the Internet. It's not rocket science to figure this much out. And for one thing, they're not exactly the ones asking for people to take them off, either. Most of the time it's the companies publishing them that want them off, because it hurts THEIR profit. Not the mangaka's.

As far as the mangaka's concerned, he/she gets paid his/her set paycheck for each chapter they do. That's about it. It's not a stock market to them. They don't get paid more because people like it more, or get paid less because less people like it. If the company wants them to work harder to push out more chapters (due to high popularity in Japan, note, JAPAN), they will do so.

Popularity internationally barely affects any of a Japanese publisher's plans. And mangakas do have a little bit of space to request a larger paycheck, but it's usually very difficult, since many other competing mangakas would be willing to work for less.

You're right. They don't have the grounds to complain. Moreso, even if they did, it wouldn't matter, because Japanese publishers only give them a set pay for each chapter. Demand matters not unless they're moving from, say, monthlies to weeklies. But that's extremely rare, and most mangakas can't even keep up at that pace.

You're being a bit ignorant by telling them to just drop it and suck it up. You don't realize how hard mangakas work just to maintain a solid paycheck. And the earthquakes happening randomly the last little while aren't making life easier for them, either.

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» Milleniummaster18 on January 28th, 2012, 11:41pm

Would you rather take on the alternative? And have nothing but what the manga companies in the US decide to license out of an unclear demand?

I'll take my chances, for the greater good.

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» icassop on January 25th, 2012, 8:32am

I have no idea about the French comic/manga market but apparently, it works well - for both the publishers and the scanlators: English German

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» LadyBlue on January 25th, 2012, 1:06pm

It seems to me that the Japanese publishing companies are failing to grasp the bigger picture with all the "hate" they have and direct towards Scanlators. In fact, I believe the Scanlating community has shown them "a golden egg", so to speak. The majority of scanlators scanlating these manga titles are for English readers, like myself. Scanlators have shown that the market is large and the demand is great. So why are the Japanese publishing companies not capitalizing on this? Why do they need to go through American companies? Why can't they create there own English version mangas that stays true to their materials. I mean, it is really hard to hire English speaking translators/editors. They have the original works. All they have to do is change the text. If they want to test the waters, they can digitize it and sell it on their websites. I'd definitely buy it. I would love to buy a correctly translated version of manga titles. It doesn't have to start out big. It could start out small. Japanese companies need to stop be darn stubborn and territorial. They should look at the online reader sites and find out what is being scanned. Does it have a following? If they were to produce their English version, would they attract would be buyers? Hell, why don't they use the online reader sites and advertise their own English digital version (for free of course, since these sites understand that they could be in serious trouble). The publishing companies could even release the first chapter to the online reader sites as a test and then sell the next chapters or volumes on their sites. The Japanese publishing companies can do so much. I would buy one and test it out. If it turned out better than the scanned version, I would definitely become a loyal customer and probably spend quite a bit. If this turned into a success, they could then try releasing in other languages. Why don't they see the big picture? They could create a whole new market, an international market. I just don't understand. Perhaps these ideas are just to out there.

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» iamsoocool on January 25th, 2012, 8:45pm

The way I see it is they are using scanlators as the scapegoat for a failing industry. True, scanlations have played a part in dropping sales, but regardless, the the option provided here were limited. As an avid Yaoi reader, I can say that the publishers have greatky under provided teh demands for yaoi reader like myself.

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» Naeko on January 26th, 2012, 4:52am

The problem with manga is that the market for READING material is small since many of today's youth think that reading sucks (who wants to read?). Thus, the market is essentially the non-casual dedicated manga fan. Unfortunately, such a customer is driven to find things out such as scanlations being readily available. As a consequence, the customer has higher anticipation and thrill of reading for the arrival of each manga chapter rather than the arrival of the official trade volume.

The print and video media industries have chosen to fight the scanlators by lobbying for new laws in the USA and they will be getting them. The ACTA Treaty will be signed in Tokyo soon by the EU representatives and after that it will have a discussion period followed by a ratification vote. The preliminary ratification confidence vote by the EU Parliament in nov 2011 had ACTA passing. Perhaps this will get manga fans back to buying official items since ACTA redefines sharing as counterfeiting and gives a hefty criminal record to downloaders and sharers of digital versions.

Despite punishing the customers, the manga companies should set up some easy subscription method with the aforementioned example of Baen.com as one example.

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» Ascension on January 26th, 2012, 9:53am

A really well-made article. I hope manga artists will check it out.

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» Sayori x3 on January 27th, 2012, 6:58pm

Chances are, they can't actually read English. And chances are, they probably wouldn't ever even see this article over in Japan.

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» That3rdGuy on January 26th, 2012, 10:12am

And this comes as a surprise? Of course mangakas hate scanlators. Manga is dying and scanlators are partially to blame. Maybe if MF and sites like that would pay publishing companies to host their works they wouldn't be in the shit hole their in today. Sure, the economy is in a slump, but Shounen Jump published a page begging people not to scan their manga, proving that's it's having a significant effect on them.
I don't really care either way, but I'd prefer to have some manga so I'll keep supporting scanlators. I just hate it when they wont admit what they're doing it pirating. Yea, they give a lot of credit to the original artist and such, but people don't really take credit for bootlegged movies saying it's their movie either lol. You don't have to make a profit (in some cases, however, they do) to be considered an internet pirate. You're mixing up pirating with plagiarism or something. Won't matter if SOPA and PIPA(?) get passed anyways.

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» Black_noir on January 26th, 2012, 12:06pm

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» Sayori x3 on January 27th, 2012, 12:22pm

Was going to say something similar. You hit the nail exactly.

Yeah, manga is dying over HERE. People need to realize that it's mostly North America dying in sales.

Over in Japan, it's still one of the biggest markets, and they earn a LOT of money off it.

Japan outsourcing their manga to the rest of the world is just to see if they can earn some extra cash out of it.

What people over here need to realize is that Japan is a different society altogether.

Sure, over here, everybody knows about ripping, and piracy, and etc etc etc. Tons of methods to get stuff for free and whatnot.

Japan? Most of the people there don't even know you can pirate games or use Share to download raws or stuff. Explains why video rental stores still run perfectly fine and people still favour libraries over everything else.

And hell, I'd prefer their society stay that way. It keeps it running stable, not experiencing a lot of the issues we have here now.

Yes, Japan does have its feed of people who throw out stuff illegally for others. It doesn't make a huge dent in a company's profit margin though. And it's not like the police over there are letting it slide entirely, either. Programs like Share just make it difficult for them to track down.

There are video and book stores practically in reach around any block or corner, as long as you're not living in some extremely rural area. The average manga only costs like $8 CAD/USD. It's like a meal or two to them, or a couple hours worth of their paycheck. Really affordable and easy to purchase.

Japan's standard of living is just good enough for most citizens there to afford "wasting" (note quotes) money on manga and anime DVD's and stuff. Over here, everybody keeps having second thoughts about paying for just about ANYTHING really, thinking that it could be a waste.

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» Sayori x3 on January 27th, 2012, 12:37pm

I also want to mention that if we're talking about manga publishing over here as an account of, say, American publishers, yes, it is affecting THEIR business. By a lot too.

But do realize that ultimately, American publishers license manga from Japanese publishers specifically because it is a business possibility for them.

And as common economics go, there will be losses, and it is entirely up to the American publishers how they will figure out how to avoid them, or just drop out of the market entirely.

Nothing ever runs perfectly fine for a company. If it did, they would be monopolizing whatever it is they're selling, hands down, no questions asked.

On a consumer-level, yes, if American publishers die, and consumers have for the longest time relied upon these American publishers, they will lose a major source of their reading (if they actually buy the manga).

But as we all know, on a consumer-level, there's a huge 10:1 ratio of those who just read it somewhere for free, compared to those who actually buy the manga. And 10:1 is probably a very conservative ratio.

Ultimately, consumers who actually WANT to buy the manga have no way to avoid a situation like this. It's reality. They will just have to wait it out and see how it turns out in the long run.

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» 0oKat~0 on January 27th, 2012, 9:53pm

May I add my few cents into this? The average price of a weekly magazine like SJ in Japan is around 480-500 Yen, which is around $6.50 USD. The monthly magazines are even cheaper than that, around 300 Yen or more, which averages to about $3-$5 USD per magazine. I'm sure you people can get an idea of how much more the publishing companies are charging.

Further more, buying those magazines will actually benefit those readers in Japan as they are given a chance to vote for their most loved manga and keep it in the magazine, something that those reading illegally would not get a chance to do. Think of it like the American Idol, you know that it'll cost money to vote for your favorite contestant, yet millions of people still do it because they know that their vote counts. IMO, I feel that that is one of the key reasons why magazine like SJ are still flourishing in Japan.

Simply translating a manga volume few months (or even years) after its Japanese counterpart has been released is no longer enough anymore. Not with the internet around.

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» Sayori x3 on January 27th, 2012, 10:45pm

If you're referring to the amount of influence that internationally outsourcing manga has on Japanese publishers and the mangaka's themselves, then you're right.

Buying any manga volume or magazine outside of Japan has basically zero influence on what a Japanese publisher does, since they are only licensing out the rights to redistribute the material. If a series "dies" in Japan, the Japanese publisher would just cut it right then and there, regardless of any foreign company overseas that has licensed it. No overseas licensing company can just "tell" a Japanese publisher, "no, don't cut it." It just doesn't work that way.

If anything, buying a licensed manga volume probably just convinces the licensing company to want to keep the license going. That is to say, if some series is dying out here, the company won't see a point to keep licensing it, and will just drop it, similarly to a scanlation group that looks for whether one of their series is popular or not, and if not, they drop it. It's just that their popularity is determined by the amount of revenue they get from sales.

Shounen Jump is probably an extreme example of a high-tier publishing company, but if you're considering a not-so-big magazine publisher in Japan, they usually look to see how popular a series in for at most a month or two after each chapter. They then increase (or decrease) their demand for more chapters and/or quality from the mangaka after that.

Japanese people who actually do illegally read manga online still contribute, since their own hearsay and fanservice helps improve the overall popularity of the series, since the people they introduce it to may possibly purchase it, since they may not like the whole idea of reading it illegally.

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» naikan on January 27th, 2012, 5:11pm

It is cheaper for me to ship a raw volume of manga from Japan than to buy the translated version in North America. Since I can read both Japanese and English and many English translations leave much to be desired, the choice for me is simple: I pay less for a higher quality product.

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» Dionaea on January 29th, 2012, 3:35am

I know, it's rediculous isn't it... A couple of months ago I decided to support the mangaka of my fave story ever, by buying the original Japanese tanks, I figured since it was just 3 volumes it wouldn't be very expensive... And it wasn't. They also look so much better than anything I've seen from the english publishers. Now I'm going to learn Japanese so I can switch over permanently.

I'm more than willing to pay for manga, but they should: A. Publish the stuff I like (they generally don't) B. Improve the quality (it often sucks compared to scanlations, which sometimes suck too) C. Sell stuff onlime for a decent price and allow downloads (I don't want to read online, I don't have internet on the bus or train D|) D. Allow the use of paypal (I wanted to join emanga, figured I'd make screenshots to reread, but they only accept creditcards, how stupid is that? What kid has a creditcard?)

I know scanlating is pirating, but the publishers are just acting like idiots. Who's gonna pay for something of bad quality if better is available for free? And they're making the same mistake as the rest of the ebook community, charging way too much for some bytes you can't even hold D|

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» Dionaea on January 29th, 2012, 3:44am

Forgot to say: I do actually own 40 volumes of english manga, so I'm not just making excuses, I really do buy stuff I like, even after reading scanlations. But some of these translations greatly disappointed me. I love oneshots and short series, but these don't get published often...

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» deadphoenix on January 30th, 2012, 1:17pm

It seems the publishers still don't know that this is the 21th century, people have more demands in this century. If they just follow Daum and Naver, it would solve a lot of their trouble.
And don't blame it on the reducing birth rate, even if the sales drop in Japan, they raised a lot overseas( In my country you couldn't find any manga at all 10 years ago). In the USA it's another matter, their is the source a lack of trust in the publisher a major reason (most series are never completed, dropping quality, lack of information (the publishers don't give much info with their releases, only the release date, summary(incomplete sometimes), an unfinished front page and off course the price.

Another problem with the publishers in the USA is.... why do they license that? Oh please, license good series, the ratio between good and bad dropped a while. On the end of last year, it became a bit better but the major problems are still the same.

An other problem lately is a lack in plot in most manga, and most of them with a good plot won't even be published.

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» akuma_river on February 21st, 2012, 3:45am

All the Republicans like to say, it's the Free Market. And it is. Just like before the big companies are making things too difficult so people came up with their own way. They made it cheaper, faster, and better quality than the big guys and the big guys want to kill off the 'competition' instead of upping their game and actually working to put out good stuff.

In the 80's MAFIAA worked to kill the VCR and Home Taping. Called it theft and piracy. We called it innovation and sharing and they eventually relented once they realized they could still make money. What we are seeing now is the last push back in our era of the old dinosaurs way of doing business which is ruthlessly attacking any and all competition even if it comes from your customers.

Just like in torrents and other file shares the PIRATES are the biggest CUSTOMERS. They learn of titles and series and follow them via the internet and if they like it, really like it, when/if it comes to them they buy it up.

But then again because of DVD Region and DRM and such and all the frecking warnings on the dvds and blurays you buy...you gotta wonder why you put with them calling you a thief all the time when you could just get the stuff online with none of that crap.

Which is why Hulu and iTunes came around.

Now the book publishers need to do the same.

But they gotta keep up with the paper publishing. DMP went the KickStarter route. Bring up a series they want to do, let people know about it, and take in the donations and confirmed sales. They raised three times the money they needed for their first product within the first week. That is how you do business in this generation for a small title.

Data is corruptible. Viruses wipe out hard drives and servers. Paperback is always better for something your truly want to own and share and love.

But data is good for a quick read.

I'm in publishing, small press, not manga translations. Look at the current book business you have only 6 different corporations who push 80% of the book business. We only have about 2 major printers left in the nation. And you hear about how badly the big guys are doing. Layoffs and what not. Guess what, the small indie presses aren't failing. We are expanding into the market.

It also helps that we don't screw over the authors in their contracts.

DRM and locked-in devices are the problem with e-books now. Not to mention the formating wars. It's beta vs vcr bluray vs hdvd vs dvd out there now. You don't own an e-book they license it to you. That's what their contract says. And they can revoke it.

Which is why a lot of people like me are wary about buying ebooks and why a LOT of people are jailbreaking the ebooks.

This is old business model vs the internet with no real new business model except those on the internet who are creating it.

It's a revolution in the works and the money hungry owners do not like it and like how big oil is keep trying to kill climate change and environmental science so they can keep making their money is how the content OWNERS (not creators, big difference there) ie COPYRIGHT OWNERS (not creators) are at war with their customers. Be it the MPAA, RIAA, MAFIAA, IPF, or the manga and book publishers it is all about the money and all about controlling THEIR product and how to make money off it and enough is never enough. So they want to kill off ALL competition including the fire sharers who are their customers and the scanlators who help create monetize their business.

You could say it is the rich corporations against their poor customers who are sick and tired of being given the shaft. So they buy off congress, make up new laws, pay the police to hound them and shut them down. Because they know the tide is turning because the internet generation is getting older and we are about to be get into political office and start to change things by booting out the old foogies who made up the damn stupid overly complicated and arduous copryight laws in the first place.

In ten years, things will be changed. We just need to keep up the fight for privacy and civil rights online and they won't be able to stop us.

That's how the Civil Rights Act got passed. You wait for the old people to get kicked out office. It's how gay marriage will be passed throughout the major first world nations. The racists and bigots are dying off and the younger more accepting generations are getting to voting age and age to serve in Congress and Parliament to actually change the laws and make things better.

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» Darkchime on March 5th, 2012, 1:25am

Online viewing is the way to go. The Korean market is certainty aware of the change. I don't know what is going on with Japan.
Webtoons viewed online at naver.com such as Noblesse, Cheese in the Trap or Utopia are rendered with beautiful color and if I'm not mistaken actually free! I would pay a premium to a legitimate site for all the manga/manhwa that I read, if it was all in one comprehensive place.

They don't want too share their manga space with rivals!? What are they in high school? I search genre and categories, when I look for manga not publisher.

Then we talk lost of profits in America. It's certainly the publishing company fault.
If Corporations are "people" then they can certainty take the blame.

The American publishing company biggest issue (IMO) Is how they sterilize the stories. I've read manga for many years now; so I understand that using -san, vs -chan or -sama could mean a great deal in story plot. All which is usually lost in translation.
It's the biggest reason I stopped watching dubbed anime (that and slow release times).

Translators and Scanlators have their own problems too.
Biggest of all. Most of these guys do it for free. Manga does not come cheap (which I'm sure everyone knows). Sure some may donate for website up-keep or actual manga. But a lot don't want or need that help.
Plus they have personal live which can (and often does) interfere with actually getting fresh manga put out. That's the QC'ers, Editors, Translator, and Typesetter (just to name a few positions) all with there own personal lives.
They are not getting paid for this. Still sometimes I do have to catch myself from bitching, especially when only 5 chapter are out, But 7 volumes are already out in Japan.

It's forcing me to try to learn Japanese/Nihongo in my very small spare time. All of that so I don't have to wait on either water down Americanized manga. Or slow translation, often with years between new chapters. *sigh*
Yeah online is definitely the way to go.

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» kentaikaiten on May 27th, 2014, 8:09am

Quote
Data is corruptible. Viruses wipe out hard drives and servers. Paperback is always better for something your truly want to own and share and love.

But data is good for a quick read.


Data is corruptible. Paperback wears out overtime (doesn't any physical object does? especially with paper). Paperback is better for collectors, but Data can always be backup with over thousands of copies and distributed faster than a printed book. Plus, Data doesn't wear out over time. It keeps its quality timelessly.
Data is not just good for a quick read. Data is perfect for storing information that you want to keep for tens of years. I used to buy comic books back when I was 10 but now I'm over 20 now and those books are so old I have no other use but to throw them away. Now if I was to keep over 100 volumes of manga on a USB which I pays around $10 for which is about less than the price for a printed manga in the US, I won't need to worry about it being worn out for 20 years later. PLUS I can make copies of it on more than 10 USBs and keep them, OR I can share those files among my friends and therefore the backups keep increasing. You can even upload them online and let people around the world anonymously download them and create more backups, then people upload those files and more people download them.
Data is actually much more secured, reliable and safer way to keep a digital media file intact. Plus it's lightweight and convenient. Right now I'm reading several manga on my tablet devices with PDF or JPG/PNG format, and I don't actually have to worry about carrying over 100 books around with me all the time smile

Aside from that, I agree with everything else you have said.

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