How do you read your manga?

I only ask because according to articles on robot6 and Anime News Network

A coalition of Japanese and U.S manga publishers is coming together to get aggregation sites like Onemanga and MangaFox shut down.

Bottom line, the companies are well within their rights to do so. After all considering these sites run ads they are making money. But are they only hurting themselves by shutting places like this down?

I am currently buying Kuroshitsuji, Butterflies Flowers, Ghost Hunt to name but a few of the mangas I have come across online and liked enough to continue reading and then buy when they have become available to do so.

I don’t know about the majority of you, but I don’t actually enjoy sitting at my computer to read manga, I’d much rather have a nice book in my hands.
So I squealed with delight when I found out Kamisama Hajimemashita had been licensed by Viz. Not happy about the translated title, but the cover art is cute and I look forward to December when it will finally get released and I’ll pay cold hard cash for it.

However had it not been for the aggregate site I found another manga on I would never have known about it. Because I found the manga on that site and then followed it back to the scanlator site and ended up discovering it.

But what of other titles that I enjoy that have no upcoming release date? I adore Love*Com to the extent that I searched out more of Nakahara’s mangas. Sure enough I am really enjoying Nanaco Robin, which isn’t available in the U.S, nor has anyone mentioned licensing it as far as I know.

Well I can’t really bitch, because its not like the scanlators themselves are being targeted, so that means it might be harder to come across and not as nicely set up to read. But you should be able to still find it online, unless they also start going after the scanlators themselves.

I think there is good reason they will leave the scanlators alone. After all much like subbed anime helps companies figure out which animes are worth licensing, I’m sure it works much the same for downloaded, scanlated manga.

So what is a solution that would make everyone happy so I still get to read those obscure one-shots that no company over here would probably even bother to publish. For example the little extras I know exist for Hana Kimi and Koukou Debut but have yet to be published over here if they ever will.

One of the commenters at ANN brought up the idea of a manga type crunchyroll. I would certainly pay a monthly fee to read online manga content. Is it ever likely though? Probably not, after all you have to get a lot of companies to all agree to have their content on the same site.

Hubby mentioned the simple idea of putting links on the pages of licensed manga. So that if you go to the Naruto page on OneManga, you’ll find a button that will link you to a place where you can purchase a copy.

Or have the ads that they run on the site be links which make the manga companies money. Like running ads for etc I think for the vast majority of fans, if the companies can provide a legitimate way for fans to get to the content, the fans will use it.

Much as Funimation has done by having episodes of anime to buy from their site or Itunes, or like both Funimation and Viz have had episodes of their show streamed free on hulu for all to watch.

Why can’t something similar be worked out with manga. Isn’t it common for people in Japan to read manga on their phones? Wouldn’t you pay a monthly fee for an ap that would let you read manga on your iphone or ipad?

Hell if I could do that with both manga and American comics, I’d find the money for an ipad right now!

Whatever happens, if you go to one of these sites and are currently following anything or keep going back to something you liked in the past. Looks like you’re going to have to find out who is scanlating it or who did scanlate it and if they have it available for download.

Because it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to read it from these sites for much longer.


36 thoughts on “How do you read your manga?

    • I know what you mean. I definitely like the convenience of them and if I like something enough to follow it on those sites then I usually end up buying it anyway.

      So its not like the companies are out of pocket from me and for the ones I don’t buy. Well they aren’t available here anyway so its not like there were going to make any money off of me from reading it in the first place.

      I can totally see the companies point of view though, especially for licensed manga such as Naruto and Bleach. Though considering how often Naruto appears in the top ten for sales over here, it doesn’t look like these sites are hurting sales of the manga.

      Because for the most part. I’m sure the majority of people using the sites are young fans that probably have no clue about direct downloads, torrents or IRC.

      (Oh gawds I may have to try and figure IRC out again. I don’t want to put that program on my computer!!!)

      People who they wouldn’t be making money off of in the first place. By which case, they aren’t going to gain much in the way of sales by getting rid of these sites.

      Since the people using them don’t have the capital to purchase them in the first place.

      So really what is the whole point? I guess bottom line someone is making money off of their products and it isn’t them.

      So they either need to put a stop to it, or work with the sites to make sure they are getting money out of it too, crunchyroll did with anime.

      I would like for the latter to happen, but the former is more likely.

  1. I don’t think the industry will hurt by shutting these places down, and more than likely, the companies wish they could capitalize on this activity in a controlled (read: less-risky) environment. I wouldn’t be surprised if companies started their own online outlets, but the problem is unification of the data.

    Sharing/posting manga is much more akin to sharing single audio tracks (basic http), as opposed to full anime episodes (torrents), and given the right platforms, I’m positive there is a way to resolve who has the data and funnel it through a single interface.

    I’ve read a lot of manga at the library, some online and some in my own hands. Lately I prefer reading digitally because it’s easier to track (my browser scrobbles manga when I read on sites like OM or MF). I also like the application Comix. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said.

    The company must be trying to figure out a way to make some money off of this.

    The one article states that OneManga alone gets something like 4 million hits daily.

    If OneManga can exploit that to turn a profit, then there has to be some way the legitimate companies can!

    • They’ve currently been earning profit from ads, but I’m not sure they can compensate licensers with that revenue. They can’t outright sell access or chapter access, and if they did, the scan groups would be doing free work [in the event that OM ends up paying out to publishers]. It’s a difficult spot, similar to CrunchyRoll, but what I think they should do is more technical:

      They have the traffic and the interface, but I highly doubt they have an attractive backend which publishers may use to funnel their publications through. Rather than thinking of OneManga as CrunchyRoll, think of it as iTunes or BandCamp. Rather than getting licensors involved with OneManga as a company, enable a platform which allows them to opt-in to paid distribution. Allow creators to post their works for a given compensation, or even free if they like… at the same time, facilitate an environment where creators may find trustworthy translating groups which they may pay or profit-share with.

      In this way, even doujin or indie titles may distribute their works through the platform and be compensated.

      But I don’t think they have the know-how to make this happen.

      • Great idea! But I agree, they would probably never implement it, which is sad because then everyone is happy and I get to read my obscure little one-shots! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. If they take down large collection sites, fine. But if they start taking down bit-players who scanlate stuff they aren’t willing to translate themselves.. well, I’ll stop buying manga altogether. I’d rather donate directly to the mangaka for digital copies anyway.

    I don’t care if the scanlators make ad revenue for their efforts, since it’s mostly to keep up their servers anyway and they ARE providing a service in many cases. The legality of this is grey only because publishers are so damn slow on the uptake, and rarely hire scanlators to begin with.

    If larger sites are actually making serious money, though, then I’ve lost all respect for the publishers. That would mean that they’re being shown how to make money, and are refusing to do it. If they can’t steal a successful business model, while complaining that they’re unable to come up with a better one, then they’re taking the piss.

    • I think a lot of us are hoping the scanlators will be left out of this.

      I think even they must realize that going after them really might hurt them. Otherwise how would outside companies have any idea what mangas to invest in?

      Because no-one would be able to check them out to determine if they like it and so no-one would have any clue if something would be popular or not.

      Viz has never kicked up a big fuss about scanlators despite a lot of their most popular titles being scanlated. Naruto, InuYasha and Bleach are all still selling well despite being freely available online (I buy all 3 of them).

      Out of the three, I read the latest Naruto chapter online, if its in book form over here then that is how I re-read previous chapters.

      I read Bleach as it is released here, for some reason I have no desire to read ahead on that one despite it all being up online.

      The majority of what I read online isn’t available here and isn’t likely to be licensed over here either.

      I think its very true that if these sites are making ridiculous amount of money, then it seems stupid the legitimate companies can’t figure out a way to do that.

      As you say if I can get a digital copy legally from the author, I would definitely do that!

  4. While I’m into anime, I’ve never really been interested in manga. I have a few volumes I own, and the other little bit I’ve read on the aggregates. It’s mostly series I’ve already watched anime versions for, where either the plot diverged or it never finished.

    I dunno, I guess I just prefer funny moving pictures to funny stationary pictures. Though I’m going to get the Azumanga Omnibus eventually…

    • I’ve always loved to read, so I LOVE manga! Some anime I watch because I read the manga or vice versa.

      I saw the Love*Com anime before reading the manga and then Viz licensed the manga so I bought that.

      They also licensed the movie, which I netflixed, now if only they would license the anime so I could legally own that!

      • Heh, well I love reading too. In school, it was all we could do when we had free time, and I had lots of it. So I was always running around with a book in my pile of texts for school. Manga… just isn’t the same somehow. I can’t describe it, but the bridge just isn’t there for me.

        Maybe someone just needs to make The Illiad and Odyssey in manga form. ^_^;

  5. Damn, for my end manga never get licensed over here, so it’s not like the companies involved in the manga publishing industry are going to make any money outta me anytime soon, though I have purchased through Amazon some titles that I really really liked. but then again it’s not like I would have ever purchased them nor would I have known of their existence if it wasn’t for the aggregates and the scanlators hard work, so to sum it up, getting the aggregates down is like shutting manga inside of japan, because honestly how would you know of a new series if it wasn’t for the blinking “new” image attached after its title on onemanga, mangafox and other aggregates?

  6. Part of the problem here isn’t so much the scanlations and the aggregators, but that the Japanese manga publishers are losing sales domestically to the people who pirate manga, then release it on the Darknet for others to read – sometimes days before the magazine gets distributed.. and those same sources are then used by scanlators to produce their goods, which the Japanese then go online to read, rather than buying the magazines.

    The authors usually get their money back through tankubon volume sales, so they’re not as affected as the magazines are… and the magazine publishers are the ones who first targeted raw sites, and are now setting their sights on the online aggregators with the willing assistance of the licensors – who all immediately think that every reader of a manga online is a lost sale, period. They’re unwilling to go the digital manga route in Japan, since it would threaten their current (and well understood) model, despite the success some have had with e-novels and electronic distribution.

    But, while you can tell them that… they’re unwilling to listen. I’m more likely to buy directly from the mangaka myself, except that discovering them is part of what the magazine enables (although they act as gatekeepers who can restrict diversity as well) much as an aggregator does.

    • Considering they are losing sales I can see why the sites are being targeted.

      Its sad that they aren’t going to look into electronic distribution, especially if it has been successful.

      Didn’t Tokyopop flirt with it briefly over here in the U.S?

      But as you say I know they are resistant to change. I remember reading something that Gen Fukunaga of Funimation had posted when talking about streaming anime.

      He said that it had taken an enormous amount of time and negotiating just to be able to stream what they are able to stream.

      Funimation knew what the fans wanted, knew they were willing to pay for it, had the technology to implement it, but had to get the Japanese companies to agree to it, before they could do it.

      In the meantime, while the Japanese companies mulled it over, people just download their content for free!

      • TokyoPop sucks at innovation as much as ADV Manga did, and has a similar business plan (license everything, but don’t publish it, drop series partway through even if they’re successful, don’t reprint older stuff even if you release newer volumes of the series), which is why they get a bad rap among fans, as much as for their sometimes questionable translations. DMP is the only one doing e-manga in a big way… which is great if you’re a BL fan. And I’m not.

        Cell Phone novels are big in Japan (or were) due to bring easy to get, and being easy to read on the go, and didn’t depend solely on the literary magazine companies as the sole gatekeepers who decided what was sold. They have gone on to paper sales in some cases, bypassing magazines entirely. This sort of precedent (which Western newspaper comic syndicates have seen through self-publishing amongst cartoonists doing web comics and then branching out into other sales, bypassing their contracts) is what electronic distribution enables, and why the magazines won’t go this route. They want to retain sole kingmaker status and financial control (via access to customers), which the Web removes from them.

        That’s also why the RIAA, MPAA, and the Japanese publishers and anime companies so fear the net – it’s a completely different culture, and a threat to their established and profitable (for them only) business models.

  7. I don’t like reading online either, even as an avid collector, there are plenty of series I burn through online, end up disliking, and never buy the manga for. For an extreme example of this, I turn to Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle which plenty of us were buying and reading online at the same time, but stopped when it ended in a way not quite to our liking.

    So, I’m fine with OneManga and MangaFox being shut down. The way both of those sites are run have been bothering me since I started up my blog, my third or something post was a rant on how OneManga only puts a manga on their site when it’s “recognizable” which half of the time means when a licensed version was just released. -_-

    Plus, new fans of manga are getting entitled, just like anime fans have been for a while. They’ve never had to spend money on a manga, thus they never do. And they think that’s their right as a fan (lolwut?). It’s just shocking how many people don’t even know of the original scanlation group where they get their manga, especially when you compare it to anime fans who almost always have a favorite fansub group.

    So, I second the crunchyroll-type manga site. I’d pay a subscription for a decent collection of manga and ongoing series. E-books are becoming popular so they should really try to make it work now. Not like the anime industry who let YouTube get a few years on them befor they went into simulcasts.

    • @ FuyuMaiden,

      Its less annoying if you have something like a laptop and can sit in a comfy chair.

      But I for one would rather sit in a comfy chair with a nice book in my hand ๐Ÿ™‚

      So I would totally be up for sitting in my chair with some kind of book reader to read manga.

      Yeah that was one thing hubby brought up when we were discussing this, that really no one can argue about it where the licensed manga is concerned.

      I understand why they do it, the licensed mangas like Naruto are popular and probably drive people to their sites and while they are there they will check out other mangas.

      Which makes sense, except for the fact they are using a licensed product! If its available freely in the country to buy then it shouldn’t be up on a site like that.

      Would these sites be targeted if they pulled all their licensed manga and just had unlicensed titles up there?

      I totally know what you mean about entitled and not knowing about scanlation groups. I will love Aerandria forever for scanning Kamisama Hajimemashite.

      Which they will probably stop scanning come December once Viz starts releasing it. Will I be mad about that? Hells no I can buy it now! Sure they’ll be pretty far behind Japanese releases by that point, but they’ll get there in the end.

      Though I’m not sure they are ever going to catch up with Bleach… particularly with the release schedule for that. I’ll probably be in my 50’s before we’re done collecting it at this rate.

      Oh well I’ll have plenty of reading material then, because I just can’t be arsed to sit in front of a comp and read all the chapters. I’d rather wait and have the book in my lap and at least be comfy.

      I totally agree, the technology is there, USE IT!

    • I actually prefer screen-reading than book-reading, but I completely agree with Fuyu here. Shutting down manga aggregators really won’t bother me much, especially when half of them are out especially to grab money from the publishers by ripping off the scanlation groups’ work with minimum (if at all) mention. It’s like they’re leeching off all sides and just trying to seize all the credit.

      Going into separate scanlation sites might be a pain (especially when it’s one of those “post 10 times before you get access to download links” forums), but at least it informs people whose work you’re benefiting from, and encourages some proper thanks to be laid.

    • Why would you stop buying manga?

      A lot of the titles you’ll probably still be able to follow, you’ll just have to go to the scanlators site and follow their rules to view the chapters.

  8. Lol, to think that people get pissed because their online reader get pawned by publishers. Trust me there would be other that replace sites like onemanga, mangafox and other sites like them. Right now they targetting the big shots jackass of manga scanlation scene (those who gain the most profit but they dont scanlate anything altogether, just bundling up every scanlation they could get out there and post it in their site).
    If you think all over again, those who scanlate your favourite manga arent sites like onemanga, or mangafox etc but some low profile websites and groups that try to keep scanlation as a hobby while trying to keep the eye of IP lawyers away from them.

  9. Yeah, which is why they are being targeted, they are big and easier to find and prosecute.

    Rather than going after 10 different scanlation sites.

  10. @ Haesslich, Funny you should mention ADV I was discussing them yesterday and saying pretty much the same thing.

    I finally decided they sucked, when one of their V.A’s (I forget who) was bitching out fans for taking money out of the companies pocket by watching anime on netflix.

    Which, last time I checked was a legal way to watch anime. Sure they aren’t getting as much money as they would if all those renters simply bought the product.

    It was that kind of attitude and as you said blanket licensing, without bothering to see if anyone actually liked said product first, which killed them.

    Towards the end fans hated, them, myself included.

    Funimation played it so much better where the fans were concerned and did their best to not alienate people.

    “Thatโ€™s also why the RIAA, MPAA, and the Japanese publishers and anime companies so fear the net โ€“ itโ€™s a completely different culture, and a threat to their established and profitable (for them only) business models.”

    Absolutely true. Look at how the recording companies keep trying to get Itunes to raise their prices.

    Why should I pay c.d prices for songs, when there is no case, actual c.d or cover insert to pay for?

    What’s really annoying is when they force certain songs to be only available if you buy the whole album.

    So, because you want to make more profit, you’re going to force someone to buy an entire album just for one damn song?

    Instead what’s going to happen is that person, who was willing to legally pay for that one song, is now going to give your company the finger and find somewhere else to obtain it free.

    Its all about control. I hear so many good songs, that never seem to make it to radio, because all it plays is the same Top 40 day in day out.

    I can her Kelly Clarkson til my ears bleed, but the only way I get to find out about Shout out louds is by listening to

    Recently Warner Bros forced Netflix to hold off on some of their new releases in the hope that people instead of renting said movie will go out and buy the dvd instead.

    Sorry, if I wasn’t sure about it enough to see it in a theater and instead wait for rental, I’m not going to waste my money on the dvd either for a product I’m iffy on.

    I’ll just wait longer to rent it and watch other stuff in the meantime.

    Sorry that turned into a rant in general.

  11. Dunno if someone said it already, didn’t read all the comments, at Onemanga when a manga is licensed they remove it from their site the only exceptions are the super popular shonens which like you said doesn’t hurt their sales. I’m not for sites like onemanga closing, I thinks it’s fine as long as scanlators stop doing it when it get licensed or if they do a crunchyroll for manga someday. And again like you said Sakura we would never discover those one shot/shorts stories gems if it weren’t for those sites . Would have never saw TWGOK,Lock on!, Countrouble or Nana mix if it weren’t for scans.
    Too bad that they will close for sure if I’m not wrong.

    • I’m not sure if its that they remove mangas once they become licensed.

      From my understanding in the past any mangas they removed were actually because the company releasing them requested that they did so.

      A lot of scanlators do indeed stop scanning something once it has become licensed. I know Aerandria at least has that policy, so I expect once it comes closer to Viz’s release of Kamisama Hajimemashite, they’ll probably stop scanning it.

      But some don’t and so these aggregate sites just continue to have those mangas posted.

      I like a lot of the suggestions here, which would work nicely for getting to read those one-shots and extras that we might otherwise never know about or see.

      But I doubt it will happen and for sure its wrong for licensed material to be posted.

      Its even worse when scans of a licensed series are posted. Look at the company Go-Comi over here which just recently shut down.

      One has to wonder if their sales were hurt by the fact After School Nightmare was posted up on Mangafox for everyone to read!

      • hmm you’re right just checked at onemanga, mangas are removed because the licensing company tells them to, not on their own good will. And I’ve read some comments now and yeah it’s all about money sadly.
        And I mostly read on screen, I don’t buy much manga , but my sister buys almost any shojo she can find so yeah.

  12. I use onemanga and mangafox for the latest chapters I still buy manga though right now only Skip Beat! With any regularity. I can’t lug around my manga collection in theater so having it online allows me to pass time without hassels with customs and saving weight and space luggage-wise.

    I wish I could just take it all with me digitally on my iPhone or an iPad once the gen 2 comes out. BTW welcome back, comrade.

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