Ten REALLY GOOD Ways to Buy and Not Steal Manga

There’s been a lot of debate going on lately about plagiarism, piracy and scanlations in the manga world. No doubt you’ve heard of the recent trouble Nick Simmons has gotten himself into. With everyone up in arms and the conversations starting to turn to the feelings of entitlement amongst fans who feel it is right to steal, I came up with a few ideas on how to not steal manga and ruin things for the rest of us who actually do buy manga.

1. Go to the library:
Some people have some misguided ideas about how libraries work and think that it’s akin to reading scanlations. WRONG. At some point the library either had to buy the book or it was donated by someone else who had bought the book. Also, if a book is worn out from frequent use, the library will (more likely than not) buy a new copy to replace the old one. Most, if not all, libraries are free. All you have to do is sign up and you can borrow manga for free! FREE!!!!!!!

2. Make Friends, Borrow Their Manga:

Again, unless your friends are kleptos, they bought the manga at some point, so it’s not like scanlations either. Not only does this method allow you to read manga for free (FREE, YOU GUYS!!!), but it encourages you to read manga that you may not have read before because your friends suggested it or something. And it’s always good to have friends, especially ones with similar interests. If you’re still not convinced, look at your mom. Does she lend and borrow books from her friend? If so, you see anyone getting upset over it? Nope. Why’s that? Because this method of sharing allows word of mouth to spread and word of mouth is a GOOD thing for publishers.

3. Watch for deals and sales at retailers that stock manga:

I buy a LOT of manga. I have to save money somewhere, right? Right. So I sign up for every reward benefit thing at every store I go to that sells manga. Barnes & Noble gives members a little bit off each purchase and coupons; Borders often has coupons or buy 4, get 1 free deals; the local comic book shop in my hometown takes $1 off every $10 spent; RightStuf has amazing deals every single week and a well-stocked bargain bin. Those are only a few examples, but most every retailer uses such tactics because they know you’re more likely to come and buy one or two books from them if you have a coupon in your hand.

4. Contests and giveaways:

Let’s start with TOKYOPOP because I know them best. They keep giving away free copies of their new releases if you follow them closely on twitter. There’s plenty of other contests through their website. DMP also gives away free previews online manga to their followers on a regular basis. I’ve seen a number of manga blogs do the same thing. I’ve already gotten a few manga this way myself. VERY USEFUL. Even if I don’t enjoy the manga, I’ve read something and kept myself from being bored for awhile. Again: FREEEEEEEEEEEE!

5. Publisher-endorsed online manga:

Publishers are getting the hang of the whole online manga thing. Viz has it’s SigIkki website, as well as Rin-ne and Arata: the Legend. I know TOKYOPOP is already releasing a few chapters of manga here and there (most notably Re:Play) and is looking interestedly into getting digital rights to put more online. Netcomics has everything online for pretty low prices. So does DMP. Vertical has previews up (the glory of their print editions really demand that you purchase the hard copies, however.) Even Marvel is putting more comics online. Not all of these online manga are free, but most of the prices are pretty reasonable in my opinion.

6. Used Book Stores:

There are a number of used manga book stores in my area, but I’m lucky because there are large populations of Asians in Los Angeles and Orange County. Still, when I lived in my small college town, I was able to find used manga every once in awhile in the many used bookstores the town held. You might have to be pretty diligent, but I think it’s worth it for cheap manga.

7. Go to Cons:

Cons are great places to buy manga because retailers always have great deals going on so you’ll buy THEIR manga. In fact, I just went to Long Beach Comic Expo a few Saturdays ago and got some manga for $1. That’s an AMAZINGLY GOOD DEAL. Sure, it was a little hard to find something I was interested in, but my friends who got there before me kind of cleaned the place out of stuff I really wanted. I also got 40% some hardcover graphic novels! At Anime Los Angeles, I bought so much manga, the retailer gave me an even better discount than posted and gave me a box to carry it all in. Any manga fan who knows where their towel is will be walking out of a con with armfuls of deeply discounted manga.

8. Learn Japanese:

This is the most expensive and time-consuming way to buy and not steal manga, but it has other non-manga related benefits. If you are around the average age of manga and anime fans (high school- or college-age), then you could actually do with a foreign language in your repertoire. A lot of colleges and certain jobs really really like bi- or multi-lingual people, so it’ll increase the chances of you getting hired in the recession. Hey! You could even get a job in the manga publishing industry. Wouldn’t that be a dream?

9. Turn off your computer:

Being on the computer a lot is actually really bad for your health. It deteriorates your eyes and causes a lot of joint problems in your hands. I know so many people who are slowly going blind or have carpal tunnel from too much computer time. These are pretty young people too. So you might as well save a little bit on your health care bills by turning off the computer and reading a print edition of something.

10. Feed me:

By buying manga you are essentially allowing me to eat. Since you’re reading this blog, I assume that you might care whether or not I live or die. Since I’m currently working in the American manga publishing industry, buying manga (TOKYOPOP manga, but I won’t judge if you buy Viz) inevitably puts food on my table. Now just think of all the hundreds of other employees like me who publish  manga in order to buy their daily bread. If all of  you keep reading scanlations all the time instead of buying the manga, the companies we work for will STOP PUBLISHING MANGA. Sure you may think that’s a good thing, but just wait until you want to read your favorite series and the scanlation group has decided to disband, leaving you in the dark. And what if no other groups take it up? Huh? Well, guess what: publishers (YES, EVEN TOKYOPOP) try REALLY REALLY hard not to do that to you. Yeah.

I’m not going to lie: I don’t really have problems with anyone reading scanlations of unlicensed series. That’s one of the very few nice things about scanlations, you can read some manga that aren’t licensed yet or might never be licensed in the U.S. BUT IT’S NOT COOL TO STEAL FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING. (Trust me, very few people in the industry are raking in the dough.) If you insist on doing so, I’m going to haunt you when I die from starvation. Just so you know. No high horse here. I don’t think I’ve ever read a licensed scanlation, except for one time when I read one in order potentially promote the legit licensed version because I was short on time. I felt so dirty afterward, I definitely don’t want to do THAT again.

If anyone has any other suggestions on how to buy and not steal manga, let’s hear them!

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49 Responses to Ten REALLY GOOD Ways to Buy and Not Steal Manga

  1. Lorena says:

    My favorite: I told my sister about a manga series that was *a lot* like a favorite guilty pleasure young adult series of hers and she started buying it (see: Black Bird and Twilight). By default, I get to borrow ’em when she’s done. So, I get to read something I’d like to read anyway!

    My least favorite: people who read in the bookstore. Come on! Just buy it already…but this is a waaaay better option than reading scanlations.

    • That’s awesome. If I had siblings living in the same country as me, I’d probably try and do that too.

      As for the bookstore gnomes…At least there’s a chance they might find something they REALLY LIKE and buy it.

  2. Thanks for the link, Daniella, and for a great essay! One of my favorite sources for cheap manga: TFAW. Everything in their Nick-n-Dent section is at least 50-70% off the cover price, and in good to great condition. For folks who aren’t fussy about the way their books look, it’s a great way to track down old Dark Horse titles (e.g. Scary Book, 3X3 Eyes, Club 9).

  3. Pingback: Legal Doesn’t Matter: More on Scanlation Sites » Manga Worth Reading

  4. Wendy says:

    You can also rent manga books online. I used this service to read all of Naruto and Boys Over Flowers:


  5. moebius8 says:

    the problem I and a lot of fans have is that simply the scanlations are often a better translation then the licensed work. Take Battle Royale as one glaring example with Gantz as another.
    I have no problem with purchasing licensed manga however i do have a problem with purchasing inferior licensed manga.

    Combine that with possible importation issues and even legal ramifications (see the kodomo no jikan arrest as an example of the problem)
    and you have a situation where you are often simply going to have an easier time enjoying the format online.

    • Sir, I am shocked. Perhaps it is just the fact that I am an editor by trade and I have certain high standards, but scanlations have the worst grammar, translations and editing of manga I have read so far. Sure, I’ve cringed here and there while reading licensed manga, but if I had to give an “F” to one entity for consistently awful translation and adaptation work, it would go to the scanlators. This is because manga companies are less worried about putting out the latest chapter ASAP just to feed some greedy fans who’ll whine about it until the scanlators put it up.

      Now as for your examples of Battle Royale and Gantz, I can tell you that Battle Royale was published in a time when manga publishing in the U.S. was still exploring it’s barriers. I can see why fans dislike the adaptation Giffen did of Battle Royale, but it is not the flaw by which to judge the whole industry. As for Gantz, I’m not sure what your problem with it is. Would you please elaborate?

      Although you say you have no problem with buying licensed manga, in your next comment on my blog, I hear you bashing licensed manga for lower quality and complaining about having to move your manga. I’m having trouble believing you there, sorry.

      Now, if you’re going to complain that scanlations are better because they’re going to allow you to read your thinly-veiled child pornography without getting caught, I would suggest moving to a country that has no problems with that kind of thing instead of saying it’s the biggest problem with the manga industry on my blog. While I’m all for digital distribution of licensed manga, you have to understand that there are certain lines you don’t cross if you’re a legitimate business and one of them is publishing and distributing something nationwide that could get you in trouble with the federal government.

  6. moebius8 says:

    im not complaining about moving manga im simply saying that for licensing firms to thrive they need to worry more about embracing new technologies such as digital distrubution methods rather than shipping pulped wood. I dont need a physical copy to be satisfied with my purchase.

    I personally dont take a lot of pride my physical collection its there, i read it, i enjoyed it.
    it cost to much to give away or trash however so im pretty much stuck with it.
    Viz is on the right track with simu translations of Naruto and Bleach

    as for KNJ ive never read the title as i’m not interested in the the lolicon genre. I did however notice with interest that protect was used to charge an otaku for importing the title to the US.

    Given the randomness of the Miller statute Im honestly not sure what is even safe to buy any longer for example even the mildest of titles could be found to be smut.
    One of the first titles i ever purchased A.I Love You may very well meet the Miller test. Im fairly certain other titles i purchased in good faith do as well.
    The industry has bigger problems then scanlators
    however it will probably take a few million dollars that the firms in question dont have to waste before they realize where the real problems lie.

    • I’m sorry… It sounded *exactly* like you were complaining.

      As for digital distribution, it seems that you don’t realize just how much publishers are already trying to put into such things. I suggest you keep up with industry-related news sometimes. Tokyopop just announced a whole slew of digital releases, Viz and Yen Press are releasing more and more stuff online and DMP, NetComics and a bunch of other small companies already have almost their entire archives online for relatively cheap. The only companies I can think of that DON’T have such programs yet are small press companies. Since they tend to produce more mature seinen titles and you seem to like that genre the best, I would suggest pestering that small faction about it instead of saying it’s an industry-wide problem. The industry as a whole is beginning to get there. It’s a process, however, and it is going to take TIME.

      The Miller statute is not the best out there, but the industry has other things to worry about than fans who take it upon themselves to import something that toes the line of child pornography. I’m pretty sure American publishers have a good idea of what they can publish and what is too risque. I would give them that much credit, at least.

  7. Miggy says:

    Hey there, I live in LA/OC too, what/where are some are these used manga stores you speak of?

    • For one, there’s a used Japanese book store called Book Off that is scattered throughout the LA/OC area. I believe there’s locations in Gardena, Torrance, Westminster and Costa Mesa.

      My LCS’s are Meltdown Comics (on Sunset Blvd) and Comic Toons and Toys (In Tustin, on Newport Blvd.) In case you are wondering. I am particularly fond of Comics Toons and Toys. It may be small and a little dingy, but they have a great manga selection and are very friendly.

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  9. Erica says:

    Let me also add that if you’re at a con, or planning on attending one, check to see if the AnimeNEXT/MangaNEXT traveling Manga Library is there too. The Manga Library travels around the country to as many events as it can. The Library catalog is growing every day, with books in every genre and it’s absolutely totally *free* for anyone at the event. The Library has a Facebook page, where you can learn where it will be next!

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  11. Mel says:

    What about the manga that were abandoned and weren’t fully translated by the licensing company?

    Looks like I’m learning Japanese!

    • If you’ve been legally supporting the series through buying them or through one of these other legal means, I’d say this is one of the few times I’d be OK with scanlations.

      But learning Japanese can benefit you in other ways, so you should go with that.

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  13. anonymous says:

    May I just point out that I live in a place with access to a pretty good-sized library, but there are two problems:

    1) Seriously, about 20% of all of their manga is missing (just an estimate, though).

    2) I read anything, especially manga, too fast to wait around for books, and there aren’t enough series’ at the library.

    So I read scanlations a lot. I also buy manga a lot, but I’m not going to friggin buy every single one I’m interested in reading! Come on, in Japan one book is the equivalent of a few dollars. Here, it’s more like ten dollars a book. And I have yet to find a used bookstore that has more than five manga books.

    And seriously, looking for deals at stores that have manga? Winning a book in a giveaway? Honestly, I laughed when I read those. When are things like that going to happen anyways?

    Well, scanlators are doing it out of the kindness of their hearts, while professionals tend to be more interested in money. Thus, it may not be as good of quality. Also, may I again state that manga prices are a rip-off? And it’s not cool to use all-caps, it hurts the eyes.

    • A library is just one option, especially to check out series you haven’t tried before. At the same time, have you let your librarians know that you’d like to have more manga on the shelves or that a volume is missing? It’d be a great help to them to know what their patrons want from them. Be persistent (and thoughtful) enough and they might just do a lot of the things you ask them to.

      You laughed when I read those, but there are plenty of blogs and publishers that do regular giveaways. Digital Manga Publishing for one, The Manga Critic for another. (Heck, the Manga Critic just GIVES books away to the first person who claims ’em pretty often!) Bookstore or online deals? Pretty common too. (After all, they are a great way to free up precious shelves for more volumes of Naruto) You really just have to look for them. RightStuf has a new deal every friggin week or so, it doesn’t cost anything to sign up for a Border’s Rewards card, get their e-mails with coupons and whatnot in them.

      Finally, I’m a little hurt by what you said. Do I put any less effort and love into my work just because I get paid a little bit to do it? I got into the manga industry because I was sick of journalism and I wanted to do something I was really passionate about. Just because I didn’t become a scanlator instead makes my love for manga cheap? I don’t understand how that makes sense. No one I know is in this business for money, either. The manga publishing industry in the US and other places abroad doesn’t even make that much money. Every company I know is reeling from the economy. Yes, this might have to do with the price points being too high, but sales are low enough that these publishers don’t have any other options.

      While you make some points, I just don’t see how the fact that I willingly depend on others just to survive in order to pursue a career in manga means I love it less than people who distribute it for free. If I was driven by anything other than love and passion, I’d quit this field right now and go get a job that paid me more than a couple hundred dollars a month instead of asking my boyfriend or my mom to take care of my next meal. If I was driven by anything else, I wouldn’t be finding every excuse to keep at this job just because I feel so lucky that my job is reading manga every day.

      So yeah, it really really hurts when you say stuff like that. Think about what you’re saying, man.

      • anonymous2 says:

        a library would be wonderful. if it was in the UK, that is. all this talk about “english” manga, they actually mean ‘american’. there are plenty that we have to ship over here. so think about that. if they were in the UK at reasonable prices i would buy them.

        • Trust me, if I had anything to do with it, both the US and the UK would get tons of cheap manga. But honestly, in comparison to Japan, neither country has a large enough audience to support low prices. It kind of sucks that it has to be this way, but until people start BUYING manga en masse, prices aren’t really going to go down. Of course, digital could change a lot of things, but to get it any lower than around US$5, a lot of people are going to have to buy.

          I’m sorry that I can’t really cover the UK. I wish I could, it’s actually where I bought my first manga, but I live and work in the US, so my viewpoint is definitely American-centric. I would love to get more commentary about the UK manga scene, so please keep sharing your thoughts with me.

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  15. Daniela Fernandez says:

    I am living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I always buy my manga in my trips to USA. Unfortunately, the manga industry here is very scarce. There is only one comic store in the whole city, which is actually very far. In normal libraries and book stores, I have only been able to find common series such as Naruto. Any suggestions on where I could find manga where I live or in Canada in general?

    • I don’t know anything off the top of my head, but my first suggestion for you would be to try online stores like Right Stuf. As for Halifax-specific places, I can’t help you there, but I’ve asked a few people I know living in Halifax on your behalf. Hopefully they’ll have better local solutions for you than I can give. ^_^

    • One of my Halifax natives said Strange Adventures is good (and if they don’t have it they can get it at a big discount), so I hope that’s not the only comic book store in town you were speaking of. Also she mentioned that Chapters has a massive multi-publisher section (at retail price, however.) and that the library has a big selection. If you can’t find something at the library physically, they say you can order it from another branch online and pick it up at your library later.

  16. Andre says:

    Daniela [one L :)]- Strange Adventures is very awesome, and often has comics on sale, and charges US cover price for any books [so you pay $10 instead of $14 :)]. There’s also a Strange Adventures in Darthmouth [who can order stuff in for you- Calum’s very good about it, and he has a large stock of stuff at the Halifax shop he could probably look into for you], a comic shop on Gottigen, and another comic shop on Robie [Quantum Frontier- we’ve had them at Animaritime, they’re nice folks], both of which can also get you all kinds of manga if you ask [and probably have a little in stock]. Pretty much any comic book or manga currently in print can be ordered at any comic shop and arrive in 2-3 weeks.
    Calum’s Strange Adventures http://www.strangeadventures.com is very welcoming, and has lots of female staff members if you’re worried it’s a guy hole [it’s a little crowded, but that’s because of all the awesome stuff], and is right downtown, so is easy to get to by bus on the weekend.

    There’s also two Chapters- One in Halifax, one in Dartmouth. They have fairly large sections devoted to manga/comics- when you consider how big those sections are, and the large among of comics Strange Adventures stores go through PLUS the other 2 comic shops, Halifax is a very keen city for manga fans. The Coles in the Halifax Shopping Centre also stocks a decent range of newer manga titles.

    And 8 or so branches of the public library, which all have extensive stocks of manga and can get holds for you, means you have lots more choices than you might think. They have tons of OOP titles, new titles, obscure titles [they buy a lot of their stuff from StrangeAdv. btw], and have lots of programs just for anime/manga/comics fans- recently they had a nice talk with Faith Erin Hicks, who did the GN’s Zombies Calling and Brain Camp.

    Also, http://www.animaritime.org is a convention dedicated to anime/manga in the Maritimes- it’s located in Moncton primarily, though we’ve held events in Halifax in the past, and hope. StrangeAdventures and other retailers often come to the con, so it’s a fun place to check out if you’re hunting for manga/anime.

    BTW- For anime, try any of the 3 HMV http://www.hmv.ca locations in town. They can special order titles in for you taht you don’t see on the shelves [namely, the 20-30 dollar boxsets from Funimation’s SAVE line or MediaBlasters Economy sets], which StrangeAdventures and other comic shops can also do for that matter.
    The library system also has an INSANE amount of anime. I mean that, they usually get a few new anime dvd set’s a month, and have an extensive back catalogue of 100’s of anime dvds, even OOP stuff like Utena.

  17. Andre says:

    http://halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/ PS- the library’s website
    Just search for manga, or by the publishers names [VIZ, Tokyopop, etc], and you can find a TON of random manga to place holds on 🙂

  18. Frosti says:

    Ms. Daniela I want to support the publishers and I would gladly buy the manga I love, but tell me how can I support a publisher when I see a manga in a bookstore that is censored? Some ex: Sanji from One Piece has his cigar censored, but the smoke is still there. In Gantz I have seen many things that they taken away, even censored some blood scenes and there are many other examples from others manga. The publishers look to me like they just want moneys and they don’t care if they ruin the manga. If the comics have sex scenes, blood scenes and so on and aren’t censored, then why should the mangas be? I buy my mangas from Japan and I don’t care if I pay extra for them since I can read them and they aren’t censored, but I hope someday I could enter in a bookstore or on a online store and see the mangas I love uncensored.

    • OK. First of all… You won’t buy One Piece because Sanji doesn’t have a cigar and that’s the ONLY reason? I understand that it’s the principle, but I cannot fathom how that would seriously affect the story enough to kill it. Sure, it sucks that Viz does that (or did that, something tells me it’s did), but if that’s your only reason…Well, I guess paying extra money for an only slightly different version of a manga doesn’t bother you any more.

      Second, you have to look at this from a publisher’s perspective and that is that America is really freaking conservative. Comics culture in America is not, but, especially when manga first started to become big in the U.S., a lot of the readers were terribly young. And because readers were middle-school/high-school or younger, publishers didn’t want to have to deal with people not buying their manga because it had a crotch shot in it. So they put panties or underwear on said crotch shot to prevent parents from freaking out that their kids were reading this stuff and giving the company bad press because of it. For a small scale publisher (as compared to larger American publisher), not having a bad reputation is pretty vital, especially when a large majority of your audience is having mommy or daddy buy their manga. Yes, censorship sucks. It’s a slippery slope and all the manga publishers that have censored should not have gone there. But, at the same time, they felt like they didn’t have a choice. And look where we are now? Parents are still complaining about Dragon Ball and stuff like Gantz (yes, that censored version of Gantz!) and trying to ban it from public libraries. Banning is just as bad as censorship. Worse even. Censorship still allows a book to be read in some capacity. Banning doesn’t allow it to be read at all.

      Now I know there’s a long, long list of companies that have censored manga in the past, but from my understanding it’s a practice that has stopped for the most part other than piddly things like the characters in Rin-ne saying “earthbound ghosts” instead of “suicide ghosts.” (From my editor’s perspective, that’s an editorial choice, not censorship. As an editor you have to change the wording so it flows better sometimes.) If you’re going to continue to ignore U.S. manga publishers because of a practice they’ve largely stopped years ago, there’s nothing I can do to stop you. At least you’re buying the Japanese manga and supporting the creators and the Japanese publishers somehow. That’s something I can stand behind.

      • Frosti says:

        That was only one of the reasons from One Piece, I have many others like when they didn’t show us how Luffy stabbed himself with the knife because Shanks told him that he can’t come with him because he’s just a kid, among others examples and even if this won’t affect the story, if I wasn’t able to read it I would wonder how he got that scar. I won’t even mention Berserk since that title is already known with so many problems and I wasn’t referring at how the publishers edits the writing because I know that there are some that needs to be edited, I was referred at the scenes. Yes I ignore the U.S. manga publishers, but I have friends that buys from them and that’s how I know that the mangas are censored. So you are telling me if I would buy Gantz and Deadman Wonderland knowing that Tokyopop has it now among other titles it won’t be censored? Somehow I doubt it, but I will ask a friend of mine to see if that’s right.

        • The stabbing thing is a little bit more crucial to the story (do you know if they fixed it in subsequent printings? You should find out.), but the cigar example was just a bad example. I mean… It’s a cigar. I can deal with it’s non-existence.

          I worked on Deadman Wonderland a bit (I’ve copy edited a few volumes now), so I can tell you that nothing was edited out or I would have noticed the missing pages or panels or lines. It’s definitely not the current TOKYOPOP staff’s thing to censor. And I think Dark Horse publishes Gantz, so you’d have to take it up with their editorial team, but I can tell you right now that TOKYOPOP isn’t censoring manga. That’s just BS.

  19. Andrew Shaw says:

    Could you take over the scanlation websites and sell chapters to people at a relatively cheap price? Let’s face it. people aren’t going to stop. I’ve tried and failed many times once I found out it was illegal. Instead of trying to shut them down, can’t you use them for your benefit? Many people read scanlations because a series we liked was discontinued, many series aren’t available in the U.S., or we don’t have access to manga or anime. I don’t want to break the law and I will find a way to prevent myself from taking what’s not mine. But I would ask that you consider my idea of taking over Scanlation sites. You would gain many customers which would in turn boost your companies revenue instead of damaging it.

    • I’m kind of shocked you’d suggest this. Taking over a scanlation site would: A) Cause a lot of legal problems because not everything on the site would be from the same Japanese publisher and some American publishers might have licensed titles. It would take a long time to negotiate for all those titles and/or take them down. B) Publishers are already kind of putting manga online for cheap. Yen Press, Viz, Tokyopop and DMP all have lots of their manga online already. If a title is discontinued, however, there are usually some reasons for that like a license being taken away from the Japanese publisher. C) The company who took over the site would have to go over every chapter of every scanlation and fix all the art, grammar, spelling and translation problems that most scanlations have.

      Overall, it would be way too complicated for an American publisher to just simply “take over” a scanlation site. They would have to acquire digital distribution rights for every single scanlations, and if they truly wanted to banish scanlations, acquire world distribution rights so that no corner of the Earth is unable to read the manga. Then they’d have to go through and fix all the quality problems with scanlations. Both of those would take so much time and money it would be simpler just to open a separate site. Not to mention the fact that the users of such a site would go ballistic if a publisher suddenly took over and forced them to pay. What would probably happen is the users would all leave and just open another site elsewhere, thus rendering the new scanlation site you’re envisioning completely fucking useless.

      So pretty much the only way your idea would work is if every single scanlation reader decided that piracy was wrong and if every single publisher who took over a scanlation site had an unlimited supply of money and production staff, plus really good relations with every single Japanese publisher. (And on top of that, no publisher cared whether a series was also posted to another one of these new scanlation sites.)

      In other words: THIS IS TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE.

  20. Andrew Shaw says:

    Yikes, sorry you sound kinda upset. I would hate getting crap that interferes with my work too. I see your reasoning, I guess I was just trying to make it easier for myself, cause I love reading manga. The legal free stuff that is online, isn’t really what people are looking for, and I think a separate pay site would be a good idea. Sorry again if my idea upset you I just was looking for ways I could continue enjoying manga and not break the law. Most of your really good ways is actually how I got involved in manga, which led to my use of scanlation sites, then I found out they were illegal.

    • Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound upset, I was just kind of shocked at the proposal. I guess that just goes to show how messy & ineffective it would be?

      Certainly, it would be easier for the readers, but I think it would have to be more like Crunchyroll where the site’s creators decided to make the effort to go legit. Sure, it changed the site a lot, but it was still Crunchyroll trying to do the same thing. Unfortunately, Crunchyroll going legit did very little to stop fansubbers and there is still plenty of that going on. So the separate pay-site idea already hasn’t worked very effectively.

      May I ask why you still use scanlations even though you know they’re illegal?

      • Andrew Shaw says:

        I got addicted to what I was reading. I’m even considering blocking the sites to prevent myself. I’m making so head way now, trying to stop, but I’m not sure how long I can hold out. I’ll just try to find a different alternative, and any other idea you have that can help me would be wonderful too. If anything I guess I should just go into the business that way I’m surrounded by what I love to do.

        • I can understand that. I feel like I’m addicted too, but I always preferred buying the books. Reading scanlations never did it for me. Blocking the sites is one option, actually that might be the best option for the time being.
          There are sites like emanga.com and Netcomics that sell or rent manga for cheap, but they mostly focus on shoujo and yaoi titles. (Or their Korean equivalent in Netcomics’ case.) Considering you’re guy (or at least appear to be based on your name), there’s not a lot of cheap online manga out there for guys. There is SigIkki and Shounen Sunday, which are free, however. They might have more titles to a guys’ taste. Other than that, if you have an iPhone or iPad there are an increasing number of manga titles on those platforms. Actually, you should check out Comixology, I think they have a computer-based viewing platform if you don’t have a device they support. They’ll have more guy stuff, I think, and American comics too.

          Honestly, I wouldn’t go into the industry JUST to read the manga you want to. It’s not like you get handed freebies every day and sometimes you have to work on titles you don’t want to. I’m not sure what sort of job you would go for either, but there’s also jobs where you don’t get to work directly with the manga. Of course, if you work full time for a company, they all have company libraries you can pull from, which can be fun. I just feel that a better reason to get into is: my job involves manga somehow and I absolutely adore that idea.

          • Andrew Shaw says:

            Ha ha ha, yes I am a guy, and thank you for helping me out, I’m making some head way. My main titles that I’m addicted to are Once Piece, Naruto, Bleach, Fairy Tail, and Histories Strongest Disciple Kenichi. I checked the pricing for the manga volumes and they aren’t that expensive. I guess like every one else I hate waiting. I’m actually in college right now studying so I can open my own publishing company, so I guess if I’m going in the industry I should respect the work of the authors. That’s also why I thought about going into the industry.

          • No problem. This post is supposed to be about finding real solutions for people willing to go from scanlations to legal means. I know Viz has done something with a lot of their big titles on the iPad, but double check Comixology if you haven’t already. They *should* have those serialized there and if they don’t…maybe you should contact them about it!
            I hate waiting too, but at the same time, there’s PLENTY of other legal manga to buy to fill the gaps.
            You should respect the work of the authors. When you put your own sweat and blood into work, you suddenly realize how awful it is to steal from authors. Trust me, when I started working in the industry I slowly began to feel guilt over EVERYTHING I had pirated before. o_o

          • Andrew Shaw says:

            I feel guilty right NOW. I’ve read SO MUCH, but guess better late than never. Thanks again for all the advice. If I have any more questions or concerns I will definitely turn to you. =]

          • Sorry! It’s totally unintentional, but you see what I mean, right? It just hits you and you’re like: “SHIT, I FEEL LIKE THE WORST!!!” Definitely better late than never! Actually, it would be really cool to have another big surge of paying customers for the manga publishing industry again. They’d be able to take on more innovative stuff (I would hope.)

            Anything you want, let me know! And if you start a publishing company (before I do) give me a call if you need an editor!

          • Andrew Shaw says:

            I most definitely will!!

  21. morte says:

    This suggestion may show a lack of knowledge on he subject, but here goes: why can’t the manga companies just take a percentage cut of the money made by scanlsting sites. The readers of the top.sites wouldn’t leave and the companies would get the business and more.importantly, the cash they deserve.

    • Let’s start with the fact that scanlation sites are illegal and work from there?
      1) They’re illegal.
      2) Why would the owners of the scanlation sites give manga publishers any of the money they earn?
      3) There are many scanlations out there that are not of the same quality as the real deal. And I am not necessarily speaking of translations. Sometimes the actual images are scanned so poorly…
      4) Would every mangaka get the same amount of money from scanlation ad money as they would from legit print and digital sales? Because, let’s face it, it’s people like the mangaka who need the money. Mangaka, their assistants and the production staff of the manga companies that publish these books.

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