Tag Archives: publishers

Former Aurora Publishing Employees Start Manga Factory

Just when I thought the manga publishing industry was waiting for another awful blow, the industry gets a leg up instead!

Aurora Publishing was supposedly put on sale last month by it’s Japanese subsidiary Ohzora Publishing, but Aurora’s former staffers have now opened up Manga Factory completely free of Ohzora.

The new company is selling old Aurora manga on their website and at Anime Expo this week, where they will have a booth in the Exhibit Hall.

The company is also selling it’s first new title, Teen Apocalypse: Guilstein, in the Amazon Kindle store. The company website states that they will “also provide digital and print production services, as well as mobile device development for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle and more.” Will the company put more effort into digital distribution than print? It remains to be seen, but with their first title only available online, my bet is on digital.

I am personally looking forward to seeing what Manga Factory brings to the table and excited to hear that from the ashes of one company, another can arise. The best of luck to Manga Factory!

For more imformation on Manga Factory, check out their newsletter and the Anime News Network’s post.

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My Life as a (Rookie) Editor: Job Security

As a freelancer I have a lot of worries about my job security. And a lot of other things. But that’s normal for freelancers, or so I’m told.

What I wish I didn’t have to worry about is my area of specialty potentially becoming obsolete. If I could work solely for manga publishers, I would be one happy freelance editor, so I’d rather pursue those jobs rather than something in another field. Lucky for me, I don’t have to worry as much anymore because my (current and potential) employers are beginning to fight back against the one of the biggest things holding their success back: SCANLATIONS.

Now, I’m not totally against scanlations. As Erica Friedman of Ozaku pointed out scanlations were a solution to a problem. Manga lovers didn’t have enough manga on the market and there were plenty of series that weren’t sure to see a licene. But now, timelier releases, free digital manga and a large, diverse amount of manga titles are more prevalent. Manga aggregators take the top spot on Google instead of the legitimate manga sites and now our solution has turning into a problem, especially since manga doesn’t get taken down when a manga is licensed anymore. I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out that those scanlations are hurting sales when three companies were shut down and another one laid off nearly half of their employees in the last month!

Because of the coalition formed by Japanese and American manga publishers, manga aggregators will hopefully be wiped out or forced to go legitimate, like Manga Helpers is attempting to do. (Honestly, considering their previous forays into legitimacy, I smell BS.) If the coalition is smart enough, they’ll only topple the aggregation sites and maybe a few of the larger scanlation circles that put out new chapters of some of the top licensed titles out there. But there will still be a few small scanlation circles doing the unlicensed or the never-to-be-licensed manga that’s one of the best things about scanlations in the first place: the unique gems that we’ll never see (or won’t see yet) on the bookstore shelves.

And I’ll still have a job because my employer won’t go under from too many fans who love manga too much to pay for it!

For a little bit more on how scanlations hurt not just publishers, but the creators themselves, read this blog post by Helen McCarthy.

Just to keep you updated on what I’ve been working on lately:

August:

Junjo Romantica vol. 12

Karakuri Odette vol. 4

Gakuen Heaven -Endo- Calling You

Kyo Kara Maoh vol. 7

Lagoon Engine vol. 7

I’ll also be in Georgia until next week visiting my boyfriend’s family, so my apologies for late replies to comments or on Twitter. I’ll be busy seeing Atlanta for the first time!

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West Coast Manga Publishers Map

I made this nice little Google Map of west coast manga publishers for a class assignment. If you know of any other manga publishers on the west coast, please feel free to comment and I will add them to the map! :D

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The Rise of Online Manga

This blog post won’t exactly be news, persay, but more of a discussion on an emerging trend in the U.S. manga market.

I saw this tweet this evening as I was trying to think of what to write:

manga_critic New blog post: Rin-Ne, Vol. 1 http://mangacritic.com/?p=2187

Rumiko Takahashi's Rin-Ne (copyright of Viz)

Rumiko Takahashi's Rin-Ne (property of Viz)

The link is a review of the first volume of Rin-Ne, a manga by the famous supernatural manga creator, Rumiko Takahashi. Rin-Ne is a part of a very new movement in the American manga publishing industry, a fight to battle scanlations, fan-made translations that are posted online and completely free, by putting content online.

Obviously, free material is a huge problem for any industry and many fans of manga don’t feel the need to pay for what they can get for free. Cease and desist orders are able to stop scanlators, as the creators of these translations are called, but publishing companies don’t have the means to police all the scanlation sites. Some scanlators are polite enough to take down a manga when it is licensed by U.S. publishers, but this does little to stop others from keeping content online through other means and even then thousands of people have read it already.

So how do publishers battle a scourge like this?

By posting these manga online before they’re even released in stores.

But how is this different than scanlations? How can the publisher make money?

It’s not much different than scanlations, which is the point. The publishers want their manga to be read online. That’s where their readership is right now. Then, right before the book is released at bookstores nationwide, the manga is taken off the internet and if manga fans want to read it, they’ll have to buy it.

Pretty ingenious in my opinion.

Rin-Ne and Viz, its American publisher, are at the forefront of this battle against scanlations. Rin-Ne is released chapter-by-chapter each week simultaneous with the Japanese release. This prevents scanlators from getting their hands on it before American publishers can, allows fans to read manga online for free and allows the company to control the profits by keeping the content on their site and taking it down when it’s time to sell it in stores.  Everybody wins.

Although Rin-Ne is currently the only manga Viz is releasing simultaneously with Japan, the company is putting out large quantities of online content for their Ikki and Shonen Sunday lines.  It seems to me that Viz is really just testing the waters here. If sales and advertising bring in enough, then Viz has cornered the market and given scanlators a real run for their money. Then again, there are some series, such as Bleach, where the Japanese version is way ahead of the U.S. releases, allowing scanlators to put up chapters that the U.S. publishers haven’t gotten to  yet.

Viz isn’t the only publisher with similar plans in the works or already online, but so far they are the only one to have done so to such an extent. Will such control revolutionize the industry and prevent scanlators from taking away valuable profits? Not completely.

In the end, the manga industry in America isn’t nearly the same size as Japan’s. This is a great solution for some series that are just being released like Rin-Ne or are relatively unheard of like  most everything from Ikki, but not for others that have already been released or extremely popular such as Bleach. At the same time, some of the manga that scanlators pick up will probably NEVER be published in the U.S. for lack of popularity, for their content being offensive or controversial or for just being old and scanlations bring about the only way for them to be read by non-Japanese speakers. But sometimes, it’s just a matter of not knowing whether a series will be picked up by U.S. publishers.

What’s your take on the rise of online content from manga publishers?

An article on Rin-Ne from Deb Aoki.

An article on Ikki’s U.S. debut.

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