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Why Manga Publishing Is Dying (And How It Could Get Better)

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Quantum Mechanic
Post #539113 - Reply to (#539110) by 0oKat~0

2:32 am, Jan 25 2012
Posts: 4

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.

Post #539114 - Reply to (#539110) by 0oKat~0

4:20 am, Jan 25 2012
Posts: 1

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

Post #539115
user avatar

4:33 am, Jan 25 2012
Posts: 679

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

"I'll shut your mouth~~~~~ with mine~~~"

Post #539116

4:36 am, Jan 25 2012
Posts: 207

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.

Post #539117 - Reply to (#539115) by FormX
user avatar

5:41 am, Jan 25 2012
Posts: 67

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

Post #539118 - Reply to (#539101) by noctemleya
user avatar
penguin king

7:00 am, Jan 25 2012
Posts: 757

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.

Few favs
Kyou kara ore wa!!, Mx0, Angel Densetsu, Skip Beat, Ai Kora, The Devil King is Bored

Hana to Akuma, No bra, Shinigami Trilogy, kindan no koi de ikou, Usagi Drop, Threads of Time, Girl Friends

Most under rated:
Kindan no koi de ikou, kyou kara ore wa!.
m0r l83r... maybe >_>
Post #539119
user avatar

12:45 pm, Jan 25 2012
Posts: 25

Mixed opinions on this. Enough said.

Post #539120
user avatar
The H Emperor

3:06 pm, Jan 25 2012
Posts: 453

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

Post #539121
user avatar

3:32 pm, Jan 25 2012
Posts: 72

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

Quantum Mechanic
Post #539122 - Reply to (#539120) by T1

4:30 pm, Jan 25 2012
Posts: 4

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.

Post #539123

8:06 pm, Jan 25 2012
Posts: 3

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.

Post #539124 - Reply to (#539122) by Quantum Mechanic
user avatar

10:48 pm, Jan 25 2012
Posts: 116

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.

Post #539125 - Reply to (#539111) by Myuym
user avatar

1:20 am, Jan 26 2012
Posts: 61

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.

Take your stinkin paws off me, you damn dirty ape!
Quantum Mechanic
Post #539126 - Reply to (#539124) by thevampirate

3:12 am, Jan 26 2012
Posts: 4

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.

Post #539127
user avatar

3:45 am, Jan 26 2012
Posts: 131

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.

I don't use "bad" words, I use SENTENCE ENHANCERS.
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