Publishers’ Weekly on MangaNovel Service

Via Publishers Weekly:

MangaNovel will revolutionize manga distribution by bringing manga to an international audience at affordable costs to readers and publishers….Using Toshiba’s DRM software, MQbit, MangaNovel allows individuals to download and read translations, and also provide their own translations for the Web site.

MangaNovel plans to allow consumers to purchase manga at prices comparable to those in Japan and East Asia. Formally launched last month, MangaNovel will attempt to keep consumer prices down by removing the middleman, in this case the translators and editors. All of the manga on the site is originally available only in Japanese. MangaNovel encourages users from all countries and languages to purchase manga, download the content and use Toshiba’s MQbit MangaReader to translate the manga. Translated manga can then be uploaded to MangaNovel to be sold in exchange for MangaNovel credits.

Mike’s Take: now this is more like it! I don’t like the DRM, and BOO to the fact that the proprietary reader is Windows only, but everything else about this idea is great–this is how you compete legitimately with scanslators, by offering manga at Asian (ie, much, much lower) prices, and allowing those very same scanslators to get actual reward rather than legal punishment for their work. You get translated copies of manga not long after they are released in Japan, legitimately. Perhaps this is the future of fansubs in anime down the line, too?

Actually, the greatest potential this service offers isn’t for professional manga artists. This might be a wonderful platform for Japanese doujinshi aritsts above all, who can expand into an international market and make some bucks in the process. Webcomic artists could also benefit from it too, though what makes this unique is the translation hosting and credits, so it will primarily be those who write in other languages who will see the most out of this system.

Anyone care to try out the system and see what it’s like? This sounds great in theory, but I wonder how it runs in reality.

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