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News Article
New Poll - Manga Subscription
We thank our member kayue for suggesting this week's poll. What if a manga publisher had some kind of model (similar to Crunchroll or Netflix) where you could pay a (fairly cheap) monthly subscription for access to their digital library of translated manga, would you actually subscribe to such a thing? A bit long-winded, and it's just a yes/no choice, but it's a good marketing research question! (Not that any publisher asked us to have this poll)

You can submit poll ideas here (and try to keep them manga/anime-related)
http://www.mangaupdates.com/showtopic.php?tid=3903

Previous Poll Results:
Question: Which demographic do you hate the most?
Choices:
Shoujo - votes: 1306 (8.3%)
Shounen - votes: 621 (4%)
Seinen - votes: 521 (3.3%)
Josei - votes: 527 (3.4%)
Shoujo ai - votes: 461 (2.9%)
Shounen ai - votes: 844 (5.4%)
Yaoi - votes: 6239 (39.8%)
Yuri - votes: 1988 (12.7%)
Hentai - votes: 3171 (20.2%)
There were 15678 total votes.
The poll ended: March 9th 2013

Yaoi also won our "Favorite demographic" poll back in October 2008. I guess you either love it or you hate it?
Posted by lambchopsil on March 9th 8:39am Comments ( 65 )  [ View ]  [ Add ]
Comments

» FormX on March 9th, 2013, 2:13am

Why pay for one specific publisher...?
Although I wouldn't pay otherwise anyway.

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» Iheartz on March 9th, 2013, 2:20am

The hypothetical company would probably have quicker and better quality work. Also, they may have works that aren't available online (due to copyright, etc.)

For me, I guess it really depends on how much content a publisher has. However, I would definitely be willing to shell out ~$10 for a monthly subscription if there a lot of content that interests me (like as in at least 10+ new chapters per week). Unfortunately, I don't think this is very likely because of the huge effort it would take to translate such a wide spread of content that it would satisfy most people.

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» yarn on March 9th, 2013, 9:34am

Most series are properties done by a couple of top publishers:
http://www.mangaupdates.com/publishers.html?orderby=series

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» SinsI on March 9th, 2013, 2:27am

Why pay a middleman when you can give donations directly to the artist(s) you actually liked?
What we need is to create a system that allows to allocate those same 10$/month towards donations, to be distributed automatically amongst all the works that you "Like"d in that month, not another leech support scheme.

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» yuno19 on March 9th, 2013, 6:53am

A work cannot find its way to you because of the artist alone. There are, most importantly, publisher. They publish works so that they can reach wider market. That is their job. Unless the artist also put some effort as publisher of her own work, your sentiment is cannot be justified.

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» SinsI on March 9th, 2013, 5:50pm

For electronic distribution, publishers are completely unnecessary(beyond some editing help) - fans and specialized sites can handle the distribution just fine.

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» gwkimmy on March 15th, 2013, 12:26am

i guess this is why webtoons exist and are becoming more and more popular as a form of solo publishing (?). i dont know a whole bunch about it though. otherwise the mangaka is always at the mercy of their publishers since their publishers foot the bill of mass printing their work and distributing it in the form of magazines/volumes for people to buy. of course they would get a cut of the profits.

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» Sayori x3 on March 9th, 2013, 12:27pm

Chances are, mangaka and/or authors do not have convenient payment methods for you to donate directly to them. And most of them have probably never even heard of PayPal or other big Internet payment companies before, so that makes it even more harder trying to donate to them directly (as they mostly use a Japanese bank account). And of course, publisher companies would never allow them to publicize direct communication methods. You're a bit limited to the things you can do to support them, but buying the Japanese volumes or magazines are probably the closest bet.

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» SinsI on March 9th, 2013, 5:45pm

That's why I wrote "we need to create". And it should cover not only manga, but all the forms of intellectual works that need support- i.e. books, music, Baka-updates website...
All current internet payment companies completely fail for such donations: they are often unsafe (credit cards), require a lot of effort (thus cutting off all microdonations that would amount to less than the worth of time it takes to set up a transaction) and you can't be sure that you are donating to the author in question, and not a scammer that hacked his website...

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» Sayori x3 on March 9th, 2013, 5:59pm

PayPal's pretty safe, and the service charges can be waived easily if you are from a primarily English-speaking country and choose to pay it as a private payment. The issue is mainly the fact that most Japanese artists/mangaka/authors don't know about payment methods such as PayPal, and even if they did, they're probably not allowed (by serialization contract) to accept private payments for licensed works.

Anyways, as I said, the closest you'll probably get is probably buying the original Japanese volumes and/or magazines (but mags spread the profit between the mangas, so it's only a maybe).

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» sensualaoi on March 18th, 2013, 11:00pm

paypal is safe sounds so naive.

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» 狂気 on March 19th, 2013, 9:43am

Quote from sensualaoi
paypal is safe sounds so naive.

It was "pretty safe". I'd say it depends how, for what and where you use it. What is perfectly safe, in the end?

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» CatzCradle on March 9th, 2013, 2:47am

I prefer hard copies. If it was something like a magazine subscription, I would definitely say yes.

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» demonblaze0 on March 9th, 2013, 1:14pm

I agree, as an otaku I'm not happy without a collection

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» JustPassingBy on March 9th, 2013, 2:50am

How about you can subscribe to a particular manga, where in the end you just end up paying for the tanbokons before they are released and by that get the right to read the newest chapters each week?

E.g. you pay the price for one book for some weekly manga, then you get to read the next ten translated chapters as they get released in Japan and when they are released in a book, you just need to add the shipping and you will essentially get it for free.

I mean, the foreign publishers are bound to have a digital version of the manga they release anyways, it's not as if releasing it online would cause that much more trouble.

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» BurningFish on March 9th, 2013, 4:34am

Depends...
if they had some good manga you can't read elsewhere in their library and if it helped to scanlate some interesting manga, maybe I would. Though I couldn't afford even that atm. dead
Where I live manga is slowly getting more common, I feel. Some manga I discovered ages ago on this site were finally published as a hard copy. But somehow my favorites never make it over here. They hardly do in english... So if this publisher scanlated some good stuff I'd be at least interested, though I'd also prefere a hard copy of it then, I guess.

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» dosetsu on March 9th, 2013, 5:19am

There's something like this already outout by the name of JManga, so all of you that vote "Yes," check it out.

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» Oriolidae on March 9th, 2013, 7:03am

Quote from dosetsu
There's something like this already outout by the name of JManga[/url], so all of you that vote "Yes," check it out.

But as far as I can read, it's still a limited service. The highest subscription per month ($19.99) gives you 2500 "reading points", and a volume seems to cost around 500-1000 "reading points," meaning that you'd be limited to only reading (at best) 5 volumes per month(?) - correct me if I'm wrong.

In that way, it really doesn't work like services like Netflix, where you can watch as much as you want for a steady sum per month. none IF there was such a service, I'd support it.

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» yarn on March 9th, 2013, 9:29am

There is Jmanga7. Granted, their library is limited at the moment, but it's free.

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» dosetsu on March 10th, 2013, 12:42pm

You can buy more points at anytime.

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» Oriolidae on March 10th, 2013, 2:00pm

Quote from dosetsu
You can buy more points at anytime.

Of course you can buy as many points as you want, if you have the money, that is. I'm saying that they're lacking a subscription service where you can read an unlimited amount of material for a fixed sum per month, or at least more than 5 volumes (i.e. without buying additional points).

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» dosetsu on March 11th, 2013, 12:40am

That fixed sum would have to be ten times more than your average subscription, otherwise it would be financial suicide. It's just not possible to have a dirt cheap "all you can eat" model for manga.

Heck, last I heard, even Crunchyroll barely breaks even.

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» kayue on March 11th, 2013, 9:09am

Why?
Still taking from the Netflix model, they manage to purchase the rights for movies and tv programs that must support actors, directors, and a host of other people. Or Crunchyroll which does the same for anime and dramas and its equivalent animators, voice actors, et al.

Why couldn't a similar service for manga work to support the mangaka, editors, translators, etc?
Heck, with digital, there's not even a physical publishing or distributor any more.

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» dosetsu on March 11th, 2013, 12:08pm

Read what I said again.

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» Sayori x3 on March 12th, 2013, 6:54am

Non-Japanese publishers earn all of the profit from their sales. Netflix is different. Netflix is generally an English licensee for other English shows or movies. They can actually share their profit. English publishers of Japanese manga do not. They offer a flat price or percentage of sales (usually the former) and sign the contract at that offer or rate. Moreover, they don't license it directly from the author and/or illustrator (since they can't); they license it from the original manga's publishing company, which already has a deal with the author and/or illustrator for a similar contract. Essentially, at the end of the day, all the author and/or illustrator earned was their initial offering of their Japanese publisher's contract, and a possible fan base outside of Japan.

The question of this poll more directly relates to you as a reader, and not so much the authors and illustrators, on the matter of would you pay for this kind of a service. If you're looking to support the people involved with the manga, then no, this model would not support them.

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» imercenary on March 9th, 2013, 7:27am

But would it be in English? Personally, thats my biggest issue.

I don't care about "supporting the mangaka" or "supporting the industry". I'm not going to buy a book/comic/manga if I can't read the damned thing!

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» himexcherry on March 9th, 2013, 9:20am

I would have to go no on this one. I buy the hard copies of the mangakas that I follow (slowly and surely that is), but the way the question is asked gives me the impression that it would be the same as current manga hosting sites available to us (for free, I might add). It seems that a model like this still wouldn't support mangakas, but rather the publishing company which hosts the digital library.

Another issue as some have already suggested, is that this library may not cater to the preferences of everyone. For example, I love my shoujo and josei, but I feel this kind of system, if I were to pay for it, would be targeted at people whom prefer shounen/seinen demographics, which is a problem I currently have in buying hard copies, because there is not as high demand for them.

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» yarn on March 9th, 2013, 9:37am

Have you visited Jmanga? They are primarily targeted to an adult audience. Granted, their definition of "josei" might be a bit loose, but they have a pretty considerable inventory:

http://www.jmanga.com/list/genre/josei

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» yarn on March 9th, 2013, 9:45am

The question as it's written in the OP is different from the question in the sidebar. If I can read the series on my computer, that's a possibility. But if it's to read on a digital device, then no. My iphone screen is to small for that kind of service. I do use the viz manga app, for when I'm out of the house, but I much prefer to read on a larger screen.

Even with that, whether I'd be willing to pay a subscription would depend on how many series of theirs I like. If it's just one or two, then probably no, unless it's back volumes of a few series. And I'm confused about whether or not they are releasing fresh content on a weekly/monthly basis. And who's doing the translation? Are these just the translated volumes done in English already, or are they actively translating more to material for this service? (Which might be a chore for publishers with literally thousands of properties).

Similarly, I'd love to subscribe to Viz's WSJ, I think it's a great idea, but frankly the only series in there I like is Blue Exorcist. I might as well just buy the individual digital volumes as they come out; it would be about the same price. (Now, if they did something similar to WSJ with girls' series, that might be able to tempt me...)

I think overall, I'm not going to answer the question, because there's too many "depends." dead

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» Here_And_Now on March 9th, 2013, 10:17am

I put Yes, but it's conditional. It would have to be a service where I can read it on my computer and have the means to obtain a personal digital copy if I like it without paying an arm and a leg. It would also need to have a wide and varied selection, since I like a lot of different manga, in order for me to want to use it. It would have to keep up with current volumes and releases with consistently good quality, on par with that of the best scanlators. This includes proper grammar. I would also want a system that does all manga in a series. I hate how publishers will do the sequel without ever planning on putting out a prequel or vise versa. Plus I want manga that isn't Americanized. If a manga is good enough to translate it aught to be good enough to put in the extra effort of explaining cultural differences.

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» Sayori x3 on March 9th, 2013, 11:56am

Doesn't JManga do this already? And yes, I felt like reiterating.

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» MewMan on March 9th, 2013, 1:39pm

Library really big and up-to-date?
Sure, why not?

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» Blique on March 9th, 2013, 3:03pm

As a collector by heart, I voted no. If I have to pay, then I have to get something out of it that can flaunt how otaku I am. A single physical book may cost $10, but it becomes a collection I can show off.

What would persuade me: Offering can't-get-anywhere-else otaku trinkets than can be mailed to me based on how long I've subscribed, or some other score count.

And this is assuming I can't find their works somewhere else in higher quality and free.

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» That3rdGuy on March 9th, 2013, 3:36pm

No. Free and fast is what the populace desires. That is what will win in the long run. That's why groups like MangaPirate, MangaCow, etc. are becoming popular. They release faster with sub par translations and anyone who is a native English speaker can figure out the bad translations. Quality is nice, but quantity is better. That how almost everything in the world works. Nobody wants to pay. Most people would just give up on manga. I sure as hell wouldn't pay. no
It's either free or I don't bother with it. Simple as that. I highly doubt this strategy would work.

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» imercenary on March 9th, 2013, 3:53pm

Except Gundam G (the anime) went that route, was so poorly translated that the entire plot ended up being re-written and ultimately (arguably) hurt the Gundam franchise in the West.

Quantity is better than quality; but quantity is not better than REALLY BAD quality.

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» Sayori x3 on March 9th, 2013, 3:55pm

If everybody in the entire world just stole everything they wanted, people would stop producing said wants, and the society would become even more of a wreck than it is already.

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» quark1020 on March 9th, 2013, 9:13pm

Well, that would be an interesting topic for thought.

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» AliceinAmestris on March 9th, 2013, 4:33pm

Depends on the publisher but most likely yes.

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» deadphoenix on March 9th, 2013, 5:28pm

Why not making it free of charge like naver or daum? biggrin
The ones I like, I buy them.

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» Sayori x3 on March 9th, 2013, 5:57pm

Those aren't exactly free-of-charge; the authors/artists just produce works for fun. We're talking about commercial works here.

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» -shiratori- on March 10th, 2013, 9:18pm

Although I have no idea how it works, the webtoons on Naver/Daum are made by professional artists. They don't just produce "for fun".

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» gwkimmy on March 15th, 2013, 12:36am

if it's free, though, then they aren't trying to make a living out of them. therefore "hobby".

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» -shiratori- on March 19th, 2013, 1:47pm

Quote from gwkimmy
if it's free, though, then they aren't trying to make a living out of them. therefore "hobby".


Google is free too, yet they make billions of dollars revenue. The manhwagas making webtoons do this for a living, I just don't know how.

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» switchgear on March 9th, 2013, 5:43pm

It would depend on the publisher. But if one with a significant number of the manga I read and got them out with the pace of the weekly groups that do the big names like Fairy Tail, Medaka box and the big 3 then yes.

If a couple of the big name publishers came together to offer one service or a Netflix like service was created then absolutely.

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» StephKuran on March 9th, 2013, 7:27pm

There are several considerations. We have to point out that the company is providing a reading service exclusively. Supposing it'd be excellent with the releases at the same time as Japan.

I'd definitely say no if:
*I had to acquire a manga device or something of the sort.
*There is zero downloadable content.
*There are extra fees of any kind.

I'll suscribe in the case:

*I could buy the manga volumes later on at a fair price, like 5 USD. I don't mind if I have to buy 10+ units or wait a period of 6 months to 1 year with the subscription.
*No more third parts, mostly a mangaka organization (I guess they can't get rid of publishers, at least). It'd be good if scanlators are hired since most of them do understand what quality is.
*Earnings accordingly to the number of visits. Popular mangakas don't have to worry, and beginners stand a better chance.

At least, it'd be convenient for those who don't have much access around the world; I don't see much future with that in the countries of origin because they buy magazines and physical manga. I ignore if this already exists there.

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» caozhi on March 9th, 2013, 10:21pm

Jmanga does that, but it isn't a single publisher. It licenses across many different publishers to deliver English translations. I would pay for the service. It isn't a bad idea, it's actually nice for the modern digestion of manga.

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» Nirhtuc on March 10th, 2013, 6:08am

For some reason, I don't like the idea of paying for online manga. I don't mind paying for hard copies of my favourite manga, though.

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» darkraiders on March 10th, 2013, 7:02am

No...
Not that i don't want to pay to read manga online, but to few manga i'm interested in reading get translated.
I wouldn't pay 10$ just for 2-3 updates a month i'm interested in reading.

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» GuttedGnome on March 10th, 2013, 8:05am

A no from me.

Pros
- Unlimited amount of manga.
- Can read it anywhere and mostly on anything.
- $10 is pretty cheap.

Cons
- There aren't enough licensed manga I'm interested in.
- Most online readers by e.g Jmanga are made in flash to counter downloading. But it's slow and annoying.
- Region locking is a given (Jmanga already has it) and therefor what I'm interested in may not be available where i live.
- Publishers wouldn't get along in one place for long and therefor ridiculous capitalistic cash grabbing drama occurs (happens with Spotify all the time).

However, if they made a software where you could read a manga at fullscreen with a black background that doesn't steal focus then I could reconsider it. But it would still be a no in the end. biggrin

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» kayue on March 10th, 2013, 11:26am

Lol. I posed this question a while ago. Before Jmanga was well known.

I think I thought of this when I wanted to read an out of print manga and thought, "Do I want to try to find used volumes for a 20+ series?
But do I want to pay over $100+)for something I'd read once?
Well, the publisher should still have it on their computers..."

Jmanga charges $5/book or more, as does Vizmanga. Similar to a used book. But I can't resell the 'book' if I don't like it. Most times, i cant even download it. If it were closer to $1/book I'd consider it.

I'd support a Netflix model more. I just thought a 'one publisher' idea would make it easier to implement. But yeah, I'd like MORE. Then I'd be able to try books that I might not look at before.
I also want to support the authors, and the publishers who support them, but I'm not rich. A reasonable monthly fee would allow me to do both.


And by 'digital', I meant computers, tablets, etc. biggrin

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» Gradonil_Ral on March 10th, 2013, 12:19pm

I don't read that many series anymore, so I'd rather pay... $1 for each of the 4-6 series I keep up to date with, than have access to everything. Especially since the series I enjoy the most are nearly all from a different publisher.
Though, I'd still leave the option of choosing either a single series or the entire library (for a higher price) to the subscriber.

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» Dragonkin550 on March 10th, 2013, 9:10pm

I believe the best response to such a service is the bottom right panel of the following comic:
http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20120305 biggrin

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» mirahsan2 on March 11th, 2013, 10:52pm

The new poll is tough! It's not really a Yes or No answer. It largely depends on how copyright, licensing, and publishing laws will evolve. It's going to be annoying when some very good series potentially go exclusive to specific distributors. Imagine paying $10 a month to several different companies. It'll add up.

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» AndyProk on March 12th, 2013, 10:52am

It would really depend on the size of said library. It would have to be quite huge to be worth it in the long run, considering that only a fraction would be interesting enough to read and time for reading manga is limited.

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» Baniita on March 12th, 2013, 12:45pm

Depends on the publisher and the range of manga.

For me to subscribe, they must:
- Not tamper with the original SFX's--dealing with them like Del Rey does would be perfect.
- Keep honorifics.
- NOT TAMPER WITH THE ART like Viz does to censor their series. (I was so pissed when they blacked out the yuri and yaoi henge of Konohamaru's, and when they put a towel on a formerly naked Rangiku.)
- Have a BL, or BL subtexted (Kuroshitsuji, 07 Ghost, etc) selection. Well, of course.

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» lynira on March 12th, 2013, 4:58pm

Well... I'm going to say yes, although I've modified the question a bit (I'm ignoring the single publisher part). The reason is that I'm thinking of companies that sell digital manga (currently, it's per volume prices), such as ebookjapan, rentapapy, or amazon (via kindle). They have a large library from multiple publishers, and I'd be willing to pay a reasonable monthly fee for access to their whole library.

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» asdfffdsa on March 13th, 2013, 5:46am

From a single publisher? Not a chance.

The distribution medium, whatever it is, needs to be less painful than pirating, and only then will people use it (and mangaka will be better off). That means cheap, simple, and extensive (not a single publisher ... in fact, how about making publishers optional altogether? One should be able to choose if they want a filter between them and the mangaka. If one wants something "more reliable," they could look in the publishers' category, which I imagine would be pretty popular). To be frank, the medium needs to be designed from the standpoint that it's competing with piracy. Anti-piracy measures can make getting what you want a little bit harder, but since piracy can never be entirely eliminated, one needs to accept that reality and make something better.

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» mysstris on March 13th, 2013, 5:57pm

I'm ambivalent b/c we all know that north american publishers censor stuff and rephrase things that make certain parts of mangas lose its initial meaning. Even for things that aren't that bad, they censor.

So....if it was translated by the country of origin where the meanings and context and such weren't censored then maybe. But translate in context of the setting in the story like for honorifics, if it takes place in japan, use japanese pronunciation of honorifics. If it's an english speaking nation, use english.

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» cecropiamoth on March 13th, 2013, 7:15pm

I agree with the last poster. This would be a good idea, if done right. However, I doubt that it will be.

I can only read manga in English, and one reason I read it is to see the world of stories from a point of view other than that of the USA (When you can't afford to travel there's no better way to see what the world looks like through the eyes of another culture.)

If the choice of manga, and the contents of translations, on such a site routinely get narrowed, distorted, and censored to cater to the narrow puritan demands of American publishing, I won't use such a service much. I already have subs to the Jmanga and Vizmanga online reader sites, and I don't actually use them much for that reason.

When you live in the USA, it turns out that the whole world is Disneyfied, even on the Internet.

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» Lilanar on March 13th, 2013, 11:40pm

For me it's a No. I would pay money for the manga volumes I like, but I want to have my own collection if I'm paying for it. So I prefer to buy the Original Japanese tankos instead, no matter how much it costs me. That way I can support the mangaka, too. Not only that, some of the online publishers don't really do a good job on translating those manga series while the scanlators are doing a much better job on it. So it's hard to subscribe to those sites while you know their quality is not that good either.
One more thing I didn't like about those sites is, I had this feeling before that Some of those sites are taking advantage of scanlators.They sometimes pick up a manga that's already being scanlated and has proved to be popular. And after strating to publish it, threat the scanlator group to drop the series. This has happened so many times already. Not that scanlators have any rights over the manga, but I could bet that some of those series would never get published if it wasn't for the scanlators that introduced those series to English readers. Then again if they were keeping the quality I might have subscribed to them, but not like this. Sorry for my bad English btw.

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» CatzCradle on March 14th, 2013, 12:31am

Just got this email today, and considering it's rather relevant to the current poll:


JManga.com Retail/Viewing Service Termination and Refund Notice

Quote
Dear JManga Members and Supporters,

It is our deep regret to inform you that JManga.com will be concluding its retail and viewing services on May 30th 2013.

Below is JManga.com?s Service Termination Schedule.

JManga Point Distribution and Sales Termination:
March 13th 2013 at 11:59pm (US Pacific Time)

Digital Manga Purchasing Service Termination:
March 26th at 11:59pm (US Pacific Time)

Manga Viewing Service Termination:
May 30th at 11:59pm (US Pacific Time)

All JManga Members will be issued Amazon Gift Cards for use on Amazon.com as a substitute the amount of unused JManga Paid Points (*1) possessed at March 13th 2013 at 11:59pm.

Refunds will be processed between March 21st 2013 to March 25th 2013 (US Pacific Time).

For further details regarding JManga.com?s retail and viewing service termination, please visit http://www.jmanga.com/urgent-message

As of March 13th 2013 at 11:59pm (US Pacific Time) JManga7.com has concluded its services. JManga7 Premium Members who signed up between February 14th 2013 and March 13th 2013 at 11:59pm (US Pacific Time) will be refunded. For further details regarding JManga7.com?s service termination, please visit the Jmanga7 FAQ at http://www.jmanga7.com/

Thank you for your support and understanding,
JManga

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» Sayori x3 on March 14th, 2013, 6:02am

Got it as well and made a forum thread about it. It surprised me how short the service lasted and how JManga didn't further comment on why they're ceasing activities.

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» sweeEli90 on March 14th, 2013, 10:18am

I'll pay for it, the subscription, if they offer something that interest me, that is worth spending the money on it smile

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» gwkimmy on March 15th, 2013, 12:43am

i think sublime manga (yaoi) used to have a model like this? i just checked their site, though, and it seems like they changed it. damn.

anyways, under the right circumstances, i would pay. if by having a subscription i get hard copies at a discounted price, even better.

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