I browsed JManga only a little. Until recently, there weren’t any titles I wanted to read. They kept promising an iOS app, so I held off on purchases waiting for that promised iOS app. Sorry, but I don’t pay money just to keep something open if they don’t sell what I want how I want it. I hear the cries from the anti-piracy folks, but buying something you don’t want only causes the seller to stock more of what you don’t want. Beside that, piracy didn’t bring down JManga. JManga brought itself down.
I could go into all the various reasons for JManga’s demise, but I think the most glaring reason relevant to this audience is that there was nothing to read on JManga. And the shoujo they did have was translated no better than what you could get for free from a crappy scanlation group. Sorry, but I don’t pay good money for crap. It’s sends the message that crap is okay and consumers won’t see any improvement. Heck, I don’t read crappy free scanlations because I don’t want to encourage the group by giving their websites hits.
Anyhow, my major concern is whether this has hurt the chances of seeing more legitimate ways of reading the manga we want and actually being able to get some money to the creators we adore. I don’t understand why this is so hard. The only way to combat piracy is to make the content available at a reasonable price. It won’t stop piracy completely because there are those people who are pirates by nature, but it will stop the casual pirates who just want a legit way to get unavailable content.
New thoughts on scanlation:
I don’t believe scanlation does anything to help or hurt the manga business. As far as I’m concerned, the two are completely disconnected. There simply isn’t enough English translated manga available for sell for scanlation to affect sales one way or another. I do believe scanlation raises awareness about creators and series, but I no longer believe it leads to series actually getting licensed. I believe a different calculus is used for licensing decisions. Unfortunately, until more manga is made available for purchase, scanlation is the only way you’ll get a wide selection of titles. I think it’s stupid to make a moral argument about how scanlation is taking money away from creators/licensors who aren’t selling anything and have no intention of selling anything. No selling = no buying!!! It’s as simple as that. And telling people to ignore what exists and it available is completely unreasonable. Turn those people into customers by selling them something.