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Answerman - Why Don't We Have A Subscription Manga Service Yet?


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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Posts: 7163
Location: Another Kingdom
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:13 pm Reply with quote
Selipse wrote:
The reason fansubs and illegal streaming/torrent sites still exist is because of the dumb region-locks. Also, not everything gets licensed, and there are still also older series that never had the chance.


And in regions where the content IS available, the biggest reason seems to be that they don't want to (or are unable to) spend any money and dislike seeing commercials. There are a lot of households, for instance, where the kids watch through YouTube or a torrenting site because their parents never introduced them to alternatives and the kids don't realize that they're illegal, or in at least one example I can recall, the parents themselves watch everything through illegal means and actively prevent their kids from legal alternatives (the idea is that the parents don't want to pay for it, and even so much as creating usernames and passwords makes them uncomfortable).

Somewhere wrote:
Being first is nearly paramount; it takes a trainwreck of a scanlation job to deter people. And even then, you still have some people so damn desperate for a hit of whichever series they're addicted to*, that being first is the end-all be-all.

*alternatively, addicted to talking about the series with other people, and thus get dragged into whichever option others went with


And, to an unnervingly large amount of people, even a translation trainwreck is acceptable to them. They're reading it to be familiar with what their friends are talking about, to remain in the know. (I don't know how long it takes for them to read One Piece and to realize, say, "Chocheh" is Blackbeard though.)

WingKing wrote:
That's going to depend on how your system handles customer requests. In my system, it's usually people coming up to the info desk looking for a particular book that we can't get for them, either from our system or from interlibrary loan, and then we'll suggest that the customer can make a purchase request if it meets our criteria. We also have a few customers who either call or come in and just plain ask if we can buy certain titles in certain formats. Either way, we're happy to submit requests for them. I've also seen people use our "E-mail a Librarian" service to request items, and that's the most anonymous option since we don't require you to put your name on an e-mail question, just your e-mail address so we can reply. Then there are also some libraries (though not ours) where you can fill out and submit a purchase request right on the website. Those would go straight to the purchasing department, so your friends at the branch would never know anything about it. I'd suggest poking around your library's web site to see if they have an e-mail service or a submission form you can use. If you don't see anything online, you can always call a branch (maybe one you don't normally use if your system has more than one) and ask a staff member what your options are.

And for what it's worth, after 11 years working in libraries and some of the requests I've gotten over the years (like some of those urban fiction titles, for instance), there's frankly almost nothing that fazes me anymore. Whatever series you're most embarrassed about, I doubt anyone who's been in the trade for a while would even blink at it.


I got a question here: What happens when a book is donated in? I remember when I frequented the nearest library to my house, and I noticed kids were frequently asking for Goosebumps books. So I took all of my old Goosebumps books from when I was a child and donated them to that library. When I visited a few months later, I saw them sitting there on a shelf.

What I'm wondering, in particular, is how donated books are checked and if they are kept in that library or not. The Goosebumps books are children's books, so it's pretty clear there wouldn't be anything in there kids shouldn't be reading, but after the talks about manga and libraries in this discussion, I'm interested in donating some of my manga to a library. The thing is, I'd be donating stuff like Sgt. Frog and Ranma 1/2 that would have sexual content that parents might raise a fuss about.

(I've worked in a secondhand store, and books are not checked at all. There are just too many books coming in and not enough people. Manga is always quite popular though, at least when organized such that the volumes are conveniently all in one place. The title doesn't matter. It'll find a new home within a week. BL comes in surprisingly often. I'd say it's the genre that comes in the MOST often.)
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sunflower



Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 1079
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:24 pm Reply with quote
But.... but people can already get X for free! How do we know they would pay for it???

Because they have every other frickin' time this argument has come up.

ITunes. Spotify. Netflix. Crunchyroll. CRUNCHYROLL WAS A PIRATE SITE THAT GOT PEOPLE TO PAY FOR FAR LESS CONTENT THAN THEY HAD ON THE ILLEGAL SITE. We're all happily handing our money over. If you give consumers a chance to legally pay for what they want, they will buy it.
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CandisWhite
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Joined: 19 Apr 2015
Posts: 282
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:39 am Reply with quote
sunflower wrote:
But.... but people can already get X for free! How do we know they would pay for it???

Because they have every other frickin' time this argument has come up.

ITunes. Spotify. Netflix. Crunchyroll. CRUNCHYROLL WAS A PIRATE SITE THAT GOT PEOPLE TO PAY FOR FAR LESS CONTENT THAN THEY HAD ON THE ILLEGAL SITE. We're all happily handing our money over. If you give consumers a chance to legally pay for what they want, they will buy it.

On one hand, I agree with you; Many people just need the access to contribute.

On the other one, the sorts of people who will pay are the ones who have always paid, one way or another; The ones who willfully don't pay, for easily available legal releases, will always be the ones who don't.

While I do believe the biggest concern is more likely making sure that the profits from "all-you-can-eat" streaming services don't cut into individual purchases without having revenue make up for it, lighting a fire under the butts of chiselers is still an issue.

Sadly, there is a not insignificant number of people who try to consume all media for free because they can: They see only things that they want, not the human beings who earn a living making those things. Ironically, I'm sure that such people would complain that they are not paid enough for the work which they do.

Simply because there are many fans who will pay their share of the lottery pool does not make it any less wrong for the ones who don't to share in the jackpot.
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AnimeLordLuis



Joined: 27 Jan 2015
Posts: 1626
Location: The Borderlands of Pandora
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:25 am Reply with quote
Well you know what they say If it ain't broke don't fix It and as long as printed Manga continues to make as much money as it does things just aren't going to change and besides a lot of people like it this way. Smile
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Collectonian



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 101
Location: Texas
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:26 am Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:
I got a question here: What happens when a book is donated in? ... What I'm wondering, in particular, is how donated books are checked and if they are kept in that library or not.


Different libraries may work differently, but from my understanding from the librarian at our local library systems, any donated books will be checked. They will usually pull up the info online, generally through the Library of Congress listing and/or a system like Baker & Taylor to get the basic info on the books (categories, plot, release info, age range for YA and children's books, etc). Libraries usually give preference to newer releases, though if they are actively trying to fill in a collection, they will consider older titles too.

From there it all kind of depends. Does the library already have manga along the same lines? Or is it all sweet, "clean" titles? You can usually get a good feel for whether the library is excluding higher age manga by browsing the existing collection. My local library, for example, has Ranma, but isn't going to go so far as to carry say Sensual Phrase.

If your library is fairly modern, check their website. Most have their donation policies there and often the info on who to contact to arrange a donation (many times they will let you know in advance if they will take it for collection or just to resell in their library sales).
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CoreSignal



Joined: 04 Sep 2014
Posts: 720
Location: California, USA
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:39 am Reply with quote
I think one really good point that Justin mentions is that sometimes the long licensing time is partly to do on the Japanese side. The example that comes to my mind is Dark Horse licensing the Gantz manga. Apparently, one of the Dark Horse editors had pestered Shueisha three times a year for 7 years before Shueisha finally agreed to offer the license. Otherwise, I have to agree with Somewhere in that official localized manga will never compete with the speed of fan translations. The truth is that most manga readers only care about the reading the latest chapter of the latest manga as fast as they can, regardless of translation quality or supporting the mangaka. And for better or worse, I think that mindset will be around for a long time.


@thenix, here are two reasons I like to reread series:
1. Sometimes you pick up on details, notice things you didn't see before, or see something in a new light. For me, the mark of a good story is one where you see something new whenever you reread it. Obviously, this depends on the manga. A good example for me would be Berserk. It's one of those manga where I can pick up new details or see something differently whenever I reread it.

2. There are times where rereading something will change your opinion. When I go back and reread some of the first manga I read, I realized that some of them weren't as good as I remember. Or vice-versa, there's some manga I disliked or thought were mediocre the first time but I changed my opinion the second time. Occasionally, a positive or alternate opinion on something I didn't like the first time may convince me to revisit it.

Both points are true for rewatching anime as well.

CandisWhite wrote:
Sadly, there is a not insignificant number of people who try to consume all media for free because they can: They see only things that they want, not the human beings who earn a living making those things. Ironically, I'm sure that such people would complain that they are not paid enough for the work which they do.

Yeah, people are used to getting stuff for free and it's a hard mindset to change. Fortunately, with the overseas manga industry growing, it's good to know that there's more and more people supporting the industry.
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Tylerr



Joined: 13 Nov 2010
Posts: 460
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 2:08 am Reply with quote
Selipse wrote:
The reason fansubs and illegal streaming/torrent sites still exist is because of the dumb region-locks. Also, not everything gets licensed, and there are still also older series that never had the chance.


It's also hard for me to justify paying money for an inferior product.
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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Posts: 7163
Location: Another Kingdom
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:08 am Reply with quote
Collectonian wrote:
Different libraries may work differently, but from my understanding from the librarian at our local library systems, any donated books will be checked. They will usually pull up the info online, generally through the Library of Congress listing and/or a system like Baker & Taylor to get the basic info on the books (categories, plot, release info, age range for YA and children's books, etc). Libraries usually give preference to newer releases, though if they are actively trying to fill in a collection, they will consider older titles too.

From there it all kind of depends. Does the library already have manga along the same lines? Or is it all sweet, "clean" titles? You can usually get a good feel for whether the library is excluding higher age manga by browsing the existing collection. My local library, for example, has Ranma, but isn't going to go so far as to carry say Sensual Phrase.

If your library is fairly modern, check their website. Most have their donation policies there and often the info on who to contact to arrange a donation (many times they will let you know in advance if they will take it for collection or just to resell in their library sales).


Thanks for the really detailed answer! I was concerned if the manga I donate would cause some parents to get upset or something. That local library mainly serves children, so it has a very large children's books section (so my old Goosebumps books fit right in) and a lot of books for kids to do school research on. Most of the libraries closest to me fit that profile to some extent or another, so I wasn't sure if there's even a place for something like the pervy Sgt. Frog.

Speaking of Sensual Phrase, the aforementioned secondhand store got a complete set of the English-language manga for that series one time. Because there is no checking for content, it was brought out in its entirety (though it couldn't find a buyer, as community servicepeople were putting these books on the shelves, and without proper directions, they'll just stuff them wherever they find space and so the volumes were scattered everywhere, sometimes upside-down and sometimes in front of each other). The presence of Sensual Phrase never created any complaints though.
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laceblade



Joined: 22 Jul 2010
Posts: 51
Location: Wisconsin
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:36 am Reply with quote
While the content doesn't originate in Japan, I absolutely consider Sparkler Monthly to be my manga subscription service.
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WingKing



Joined: 27 Apr 2015
Posts: 584
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:03 pm Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:
I got a question here: What happens when a book is donated in? I remember when I frequented the nearest library to my house, and I noticed kids were frequently asking for Goosebumps books. So I took all of my old Goosebumps books from when I was a child and donated them to that library. When I visited a few months later, I saw them sitting there on a shelf.

What I'm wondering, in particular, is how donated books are checked and if they are kept in that library or not. The Goosebumps books are children's books, so it's pretty clear there wouldn't be anything in there kids shouldn't be reading, but after the talks about manga and libraries in this discussion, I'm interested in donating some of my manga to a library. The thing is, I'd be donating stuff like Sgt. Frog and Ranma 1/2 that would have sexual content that parents might raise a fuss about.


Again, that's going to vary by system. In the library system where I currently work, the general rule is that we only add donated items to the collection if we already have an existing record for it in the library catalog (everything else gets sold or recycled). If the librarian in charge of donations gets something we don't already have and thinks it would add value to the collection and should be added, then they can send it to the materials selector for the system, who will review it and make a final decision. I got a very nice manga donation of complete sets of Lucky Star and Ballad of a Shinigami last year and sent those in, but our selector rejected them because they were out of print and she didn't want to add just one set to the system without being able to replace any volumes that might get lost or damaged. I also sent in a Korean manhwa series that is still in print, and she accepted that one. On the other hand, in my previous system, where I was actually in charge of donations at my branch, I reviewed everything that came in myself and had a green light to send anything upstairs to the materials selector that looked like it might be a good addition. Again she'd look at them too and make a final decision, but that system was much more liberal about being willing to add things.

As the other person said, you should check online for your library's donations policy, or call and talk to a librarian about it and find out what their procedures are. I can tell you that we have Ranma 1/2 in my system (in the teen manga section) and I've never heard a complaint about it. We have separate manga sections for kids (which has things like Yokai Watch, Pokemon, and Yotsuba), for teens (that's the majority of our manga, including most of the big titles like Naruto and One Piece), and for adults (which is where we keep titles like Attack on Titan, Seraph of the End, Hot Gimmick, and Blue Exorcist).
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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
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Location: Another Kingdom
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:14 pm Reply with quote
All right, I see. This means different libraries have very different systems, and I should definitely check to see how a library works before I bring books to the people there.

A manga subscription service would be something I'm definitely down for. I'd want to donate that manga because I don't have any shelf space left for them (though admittedly, my plush collection is partly responsible for that). It probably won't be cheaper than installing new shelves on the walls, but it'll definitely be safer because I'm no good at carpentry.
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Collectonian



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 101
Location: Texas
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 1:22 pm Reply with quote
On the topic of manga subscriptions, I would love to see Viz or the like actually be able to put their releases into a subscription. I always have and will prefer print books, but a subscription would be a great way to actually read the first volume or two of a series before buying it.

As it is, if I can't at least see a sample first chapter from the releaser's site or on Amazon's look inside, I won't pick it up until I can find at Half Price or Barnes and Noble to flip through or borrow from the local library. Once I have read the first 1-2 volumes, I will generally just buy up the rest, but want to at least check it out first.
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lys



Joined: 24 Jun 2004
Posts: 938
Location: mitten-state
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:56 pm Reply with quote
Viz does provide a pretty good-sized completely-free preview of all its volume-1s at vizmanga.com (usually the entire first chapter or so: spot-checking a couple titles, that's 74 pages of Aishiteruze Baby, an older series, and 59 pages of Behind the Scenes!, one of their most recent series debuts).

I think the Weekly Shonen Jump subscription gives access to back-issues(?), but again, that seems to work because it's limited to a smaller number of titles than their entire print catalogue, and because many of those titles are among the biggest sellers here to begin with. I would guess that successful subscription services work by establishing a consistent brand and community, attracting loyal customers who are willing to pay for the service and support its cause.

(by the way, since I mentioned earlier that I work in this industry, I want to be clear that I am just a freelancer with no inside information beyond what I need to know to do my job, so this is all just my own thoughts and hypothesizing!)
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Asterisk-CGY



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 378
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:24 pm Reply with quote
I think between the few services that attempted a subscription system, including Crunchyroll, a lack of features that would drive me to revisit their page versus an aggregrator kept me from really wanting to buy in. Has CR added following and favorites to their manga? There are things I want to read there, but manually checking for updates means missing out and it makes me feel like I'm wasting my money. Get me over that hump and I will mostly likely stay with a subscription service.

They need to pretty much lift the better parts of the user experience of aggregators if they want a service like this to succeed.
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Mr. sickVisionz



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 2047
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:03 pm Reply with quote
Whis-pur wrote:
There are people out there who only read manga once? One of the best parts of reading manga is rereading your favorites. I can't even count the number of times I've reread Naruto since I picked up the first volume....almost ten years ago (?!) and one of my favoirte binge reads is to try and go through Hunter x Hunter all in as few days as possible (I think my record is 3, and I was exhausted afterwords). But maybe that only appeals to people who physically buy the manga and loves to look at them on a shelf....who knows.


I have a decent anime collection and a small manga one. Most of it has never been watched or actually read in a physical form, let alone rewatched or reread. For me and maybe others who don't tend to rewatch stuff, I can get really caught up in things. I get wrapped up in the story and characters and seeing what happens next and how it plays out. That's a major major part of what I like about experiencing a story. I don't get any of that on a retread. Even if I've forgotten the story completely, after like 5 chapters or 3 episodes I remember it all and it feels like, "why am I wasting my time with this when there's so much new stuff out there?"

Especially anime. They make like 200 shows a year. I was following 5 actively last season and that was a ton for me so I'm missing the vast majority of what comes out in any year. Add on Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll letting me go back and catch stuff I missed years ago... it's hard to do a redo. I know that most of what I loved won't be there when I revisit it. Something new might be able to give me that experience so I take the chance on a might.
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