That said… scanlators need to stop translating series when they become licensed. Granted I’m guilty of starting scanlation with Arakure and Ouran, both of which were licensed at the time. At the time I justified my activities by saying the publishers were 2 years behind the Japanese releases. At the time I believed most people were like me and bought the licensed releases when they became available and were using the scanlations to keep current with Japan. That may have been more the case 6 or 7 years ago, but I’m not so sure that’s the habit of folks who came into manga exclusively through the manga aggregators.
Still, even if scanlations for licensed series weren’t available, I’m not sure licensed readership would improve. The truth is, many of us simply don’t have the extra cash to spend on manga. And given the overhead cost involved with bringing manga to the US, it makes me wonder whether selling manga is a viable business outside of the blockbuster shounen and moe manga series in this down economy. I know none of the series that are and were done for this this blog have enough readership to justify the cost of licensing outside of J+K, which was licensed.
Anyhow, this is all of great interest to me because I’ve always believed that the publishers should ally with scanlators to spread the manga love profitably. But old media is old media, and because there are so many lawyers involved, all they know how to do is sue rather than innovate. It’s sad, but that’s the current reality. Fear not, though, it looks like we’ll eventually get what we want from the Japanese publishers. If you haven’t already, please check out Mangabox. I’m still evaluating Crunchyroll. So far they have 12 series that I don’t care for and haven’t added more to their roster. I also do not trust that their old media owners have readers in mind, but rather are more interested in serving their true customers which will be advertisers, which makes the readers the product they are selling and not the manga. If Crunchyroll becomes as useless as Hulu, I will be sad.