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[Manga] OneManga Shutting Down
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Mighty Tor
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Old Jul 24, 2010, 09:44 AM #1 of 12
OneManga Shutting Down

At the end of the month, OneManga will be no more. This is a shame, but not really a shock, especially given what I've read of a manga sales slump. I've always been a big fan, mostly due to the subscription extension that sits in the upper right of Chrome telling me when I had new chapters to read.

Though I have to say the more reaction I read to this news, the happier I was they were closing. The entitlement of leeches and the internet generation is not surprising, but the way people were railing against publishers, mangaka, official distributors, etc, and whining about how they "NEED" their manga and this will kill sales was simply laughable. I have to admit I kind of like seeing their toys taken away even if inconveniences me some.

Of course anyone with the tiniest bit of maturity will nod to the inevitability and move on to other sources, such as mangareader.net or go back to pulling chapters directly from the scanlators themselves. Personally, I prefer owning the books anyways and hope that with something of the flooded market they have, prices will either fall on individual volumes or they'll start selling larger collections/box sets for easier to swallow prices. Happened with anime at least after years of $30 per hour on DVD being a deal, you can finally find complete series for $30 or less relatively routinely.

In any case, reminisce on onemanga here or discuss the potentially perilous future for US Manga publishers, or the whack-a-mole nature of trying to squash digital fan distribution.

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Old Jul 24, 2010, 09:57 AM #2 of 12
It's kind of funny that they're shutting down now after they just finished going through all their Mature rated series and transferring the ones they deemed unsuitable to a sister site.

This isn't a big deal for me. I'll just find a new site that has the few series I read and go there. OneManga just seemed to load the fastest and had the fewest ads last time I went looking around.

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Old Jul 24, 2010, 10:01 AM Local time: Jul 24, 2010, 10:01 PM #3 of 12
Well, there is still MangaFox, but after OneManga's fate, I can't be sure they can hold on for too long.

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Old Jul 24, 2010, 10:44 AM Local time: Jul 24, 2010, 11:44 PM #4 of 12
I'm feeling a bit mixed at this, and being accustomed to having my manga scanlated free-of-charge, so taking my candy away makes me unhappy...

So off I go looking for somewhere new to quench my manga-thirst.

On second thought, it feels like my favourite hangout just got closed and I have to find another one.

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Old Jul 25, 2010, 11:45 PM Local time: Jul 25, 2010, 08:45 PM #5 of 12
I really enjoyed Onemanga.com while it lasted. It had a vast library of manga, where I could always find something new and enjoyable to read. Whenever I was bored, I could always rely on Onemanga.com to entertain me for an hour or two.

Oh well. I guess I'll have to find a new website.

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Old Jul 25, 2010, 11:57 PM 2 #6 of 12
There's no way mangastreamer and mangafox will be around very long, they're really proactively going after the scanlation sites. I'm only mainly curious if the publishers are actually going to try to put together some sort of online pay site that would have scanlation-like turnaround times on manga with some sort of subscription fee that I've seen rumored a bunch. If they do that and it's actually timely and carries the shit I want I would do that. Otherwise though I can't see this really doing anything; people who will not pay under any circumstances will still be able to get these on IRC and other sources. And most everyone else either buys their shit and reads scanlations due to release lag, or is super casual and will just move on completely (which I'm guessing is most people). All this has done is basically encourage me to continue to purchase the couple series I care about, and I'll keep up with those and not bother seeking out all of the other tetriary stuff I was reading. This is ironic because all but one of the things I buy I found by browsing these scanlation sites. I guess ultimately at the end of the day I don't see how this will really generate more sales for the publishers, and it actually hurts the few people who did use this as a tool to find new series, unless some sort of subscription site model comes into play which just seems really odd.

Though I have to say the more reaction I read to this news, the happier I was they were closing. The entitlement of leeches and the internet generation is not surprising, but the way people were railing against publishers, mangaka, official distributors, etc, and whining about how they "NEED" their manga and this will kill sales was simply laughable. I have to admit I kind of like seeing their toys taken away even if inconveniences me some.

Of course anyone with the tiniest bit of maturity will nod to the inevitability and move on to other sources, such as mangareader.net or go back to pulling chapters directly from the scanlators themselves. Personally, I prefer owning the books anyways and hope that with something of the flooded market they have, prices will either fall on individual volumes or they'll start selling larger collections/box sets for easier to swallow prices. Happened with anime at least after years of $30 per hour on DVD being a deal, you can finally find complete series for $30 or less relatively routinely.
While there's certainly some people reacting this way, a lot of the shit I was reading as far as I can tell isn't licensed, but scanlation sites are going down completely, so I can't even get that stuff anymore. Also I've been waiting for some stuff to get a box set treatment or drop in price for a long-ass time and it hasn't happened yet (see One Piece, although they have started doing the 3-in-1 thing finally). Ultimately as someone who is actually willing to buy shit, this just makes everything a bigger pain in the ass for me, and will actually cause me to buy less shit. Again, the people who want to pirate will still find ways, so I'm just not really seeing how this works out for them long-term.

What kind of toxic man-thing is happening now?
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Old Jul 26, 2010, 01:12 AM #7 of 12
While there's certainly some people reacting this way, a lot of the shit I was reading as far as I can tell isn't licensed, but scanlation sites are going down completely, so I can't even get that stuff anymore. Also I've been waiting for some stuff to get a box set treatment or drop in price for a long-ass time and it hasn't happened yet (see One Piece, although they have started doing the 3-in-1 thing finally). Ultimately as someone who is actually willing to buy shit, this just makes everything a bigger pain in the ass for me, and will actually cause me to buy less shit. Again, the people who want to pirate will still find ways, so I'm just not really seeing how this works out for them long-term.
So here's the way I look at it. Manga sales have dropped roughly a third over the last couple of years which is pretty significant, especially for a relatively niche market. If your market is getting to the point where you're going through layoffs, your sales are plummeting and there are people illegally putting out your product for free on the web I think it's far worse business to do nothing. US Manga publishers aren't doing this solely for the love of the product as shocking and disappointing as that may be. I'm sure they do love the product and that fueled their initial business models, but it is a business. It's hard enough to compete against free when times are good, but when you're just trying to stay afloat, free is a serious threat to your continued existence. If they can't stay afloat, then there will be no more English language manga to purchase and by extension less money getting to manga creators to support new titles and reward existing successful ones.

Yes, there is some collateral damage with unlicensed series becoming mildly more inconvenient to get. But really, let's face it, while some scanlation hosting sites might go down, scanlators, particularly those of unlicensed series aren't going anywhere, torrents, direct download, and even on-line readers will never be terribly difficult to come by if you're interested in it. And maybe some people might be less aware of certain series by not having them all aggregated at one site for free reading, and maybe that might amount to a few volumes unsold.

Now, I have no hard numbers to correlate on-line readership increasing while sales declined, but I'm going to guess that while they may not be directly related, one was certainly going up while the other was going down. I think to anyone in the business that sounds like a lot of lost sales. I'm also going to guess that in their models the loss of "mainstream" title sales (Naruto/Bleach/One Piece etc) is going to far outweigh the few titles someone may have run across on-line and then still be willing to purchase even after already reading it on-line.

I like free and easy access to everything as much as the next guy, but there is no way I could ever construe this as bad business on the part of the publishers. Yes, they have a lot on their plate to deal with, changing demographics, novelty factor wearing off a bit, increasing visibility, needing stronger tv show tie-ins to draw interest, the on-line availability genie being out of the bottle for most of their market. Despite all that though, sidelining what is potentially your most damaging competition probably trumps all of that, especially when that competition isn't entirely legal. If that clears the way for their own subscription service, which seems likely, great, or if it simply clears the way for their own on-line chapter freebie teasers to get people to buy books, also great. The industry certainly needs some changes to remain viable, and chief among them is exerting some control over the distribution of the material they paid for and base their existence on.

Honestly, I always kind of marveled at the fact that OneManga existed long enough to get to the size it was and achieve the status it seemed to have. It honestly just didn't seem possible for something like that to exist unchallenged. In a way, to me, it seems like the reality of the situation just caught up to it.

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Old Jul 26, 2010, 11:15 AM #8 of 12
Why don't they make something like manga online scans to buy like mp3s? I'd consider it really. I'm not a materialistic person, hence buying real books and clogging up my room with it is something I'd rather avoid.

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Old Jul 26, 2010, 11:41 AM #9 of 12
Someone at another forum answered that one pretty easily:

Originally Posted by Zorak
Manga distribution is at its core driven by the Japanese home companies, which are anything BUT innovative or willing to take risks.

The original companies control how licenses they sell are used, and how much it costs to do things with the licenses.
You have to realize that for example, the Japanese business model still relies on selling two episodes of anime per disc for something absurd like $40-80. The concept of supply and demand is literally lost on them and convincing them that going fully digital with stuff like manga is a fight you're never going to win.

Edit: That said, some companies ARE trying to work out a kind of inbetween. Yen Press is trying an online access of it's monthly titles (limited to the current month and the previous month though, you'll have to buy the actual books if you want older stuff), and there's Square-Enix doing this:

Quote:
"LOS ANGELES, July 21 -- SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. (Square Enix®) today announced that it will launch a digital manga store serving customers in North America and France in the fall of 2010. Localized electronic editions of such popular Square Enix manga series as Fullmetal Alchemist® and Soul Eater® will be made available for the PC via the Square Enix group's North American and European websites.

Square Enix will be demonstrating the new service on machines at Comic-Con International, which starts today through July 25, 2010 in San Diego, California. In addition, the first chapters of Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, Black Butler and O-Parts Hunter™ are available for download free of charge on the Square Enix group's North American and European websites in advance of the paid service's launch, with other series planned to follow."

Also of note is that their previews aren't region locked, so hopefully people will be able to "import" the digital english version to their country if it isn't licensed there.
But that's pretty much it. It's just those two.

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Last edited by Tails; Jul 26, 2010 at 11:50 AM.
Old Jul 26, 2010, 12:28 PM #10 of 12
What publishers need to do is gather together somehow ala something as groan inducing as crunchyroll but offer something more enticing like perhaps how Telltale Games releases their content. Telltale Games releases episodic content and if you purchase all of a season's content they'll send you an actual box copy of the full season should you desire it. So what publishers could do is sell a subscription to view their content but at a severely reduced price allow you to keep digital content to put on ebook or view on your computer but if you buy enough chapters to complete a volume they would send you that particular volume for free should you want it. That's just an idea but I can imagine it would satisfy complaints about turn around time and also those that like having physical manga.

That said I'm doubtful that sort of thing will ever happen. You might have one or two publishers come out with something similar but one real place to visit and one subscription if reasonable would be desired more than the fragmented library we probably will receive paying one subscription for Shonen Jump and another for Del Rey and one for Viz and one for Tokyopop which is sort of unfortunate but I can see why they would do that.

In any case I'll continue to find my sources. They can never take away irc and it will be very difficult to start going after individual scanlators.

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Old Jul 26, 2010, 09:38 PM #11 of 12
I like free and easy access to everything as much as the next guy, but there is no way I could ever construe this as bad business on the part of the publishers. Yes, they have a lot on their plate to deal with, changing demographics, novelty factor wearing off a bit, increasing visibility, needing stronger tv show tie-ins to draw interest, the on-line availability genie being out of the bottle for most of their market. Despite all that though, sidelining what is potentially your most damaging competition probably trumps all of that, especially when that competition isn't entirely legal. If that clears the way for their own subscription service, which seems likely, great, or if it simply clears the way for their own on-line chapter freebie teasers to get people to buy books, also great. The industry certainly needs some changes to remain viable, and chief among them is exerting some control over the distribution of the material they paid for and base their existence on.
Yeah sorry, I didn't mean to sound like the US publishers were filthy assholes or anything; they're completely within their rights to do what they've done. I'm just questioning ultimately what the long-term results of this would be. If they had cracked down like this when these big sites first started popping up, it would have been a different story. But big, easily accessible sites have been around for so long now that a lot of people are basically spoiled and won't buy anything.

Also ignoring the vast majority of people that won't buy stuff no matter what, I'd personally attribute the decline in sales mostly to either:

-Delay in release schedule; at this point even most people I know (including myself) that actually buy stuff still read scanlations because you're usually looking at months or longer for those same chapters to be release stateside.

-Honestly, the market has been completely flooded with a ton of crap. Right when manga started to first get really big in the US around 2002 or so TokyoPop, Viz, and other companies were just shitting out practically everything. I know myself and lot of people got burned eventually because there was just so much crap out there, there was no quality control (especially Tokyopop) and I just stopped buying stuff because at a point I'm looking at a shelf and almost everything I saw was either something I'd never heard of, or something I knew was bad.

I think the release schedule hurts it way more than anything, but that's unavoidable to some extent just because of weekly releases in Japan vs. volumes in the US, but even today I still can look at a manga section in Barnes and Noble and not have any clue what half of the shit there is. Honestly the only way I could say that there would be zero excuse to grab scanlations is if the publishers did a subscription website of some sort where they had turnaround times same week like scanlators do. Like Acer said though, there's huge hurdles to that, and the few series I read are spread out across three different publishers IIRC, so it's just not practical for most people even if that happened.

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Old Jul 26, 2010, 11:12 PM #12 of 12
Yeah sorry, I didn't mean to sound like the US publishers were filthy assholes or anything; they're completely within their rights to do what they've done. I'm just questioning ultimately what the long-term results of this would be. If they had cracked down like this when these big sites first started popping up, it would have been a different story. But big, easily accessible sites have been around for so long now that a lot of people are basically spoiled and won't buy anything.
No worries, I think I was responding as much to you as I was things I've read elsewhere slagging on the publishers for this as well as the general argument/rationalization that piracy in any form is good for an industry's business, which is honestly a bit silly. Won't say I haven't done it myself in some variety in the past, but fundamentally it is silly and wrong (but then there always is the public library argument, so what do I know).

But yeah the point you make echoes one of my worries of the genie ultimately being out of the bottle. People have been reading weekly updates so long, that the vast majority of the market who would've been interested in buying has already probably been hooked on it and can't really consider going back. Which makes a competing crunchyroll-esque model with maybe a week lag time the only real option. Weekly print releases would be nice I think, but I just can't see any way to make that viable with the struggles being found in print media. If they could put together a digital storefront for ipads/android tablets that I think would be a good start.

The upside to the struggles of the industry I think is that collaboration from the big players like Viz and Tokyopop becomes more likely for them all to stay alive and build a bigger market to share since they aren't competitors to eachother in the traditional sense. It's not like they're offering competing Naruto translations or something, so perhaps some mutually beneficial agreements can be forged. If Capcom and Namco or Nintendo and Sega can get along these days for the hopes of printing more money, anything can happen.

I also fully agree on the point of a flooded market. I can't blame them for trying to bring over as much diversity as possible, but there is just so much it's staggering and then assuming you find something you dig, getting up to date on a series is daunting as hell. Would you like to get into Bleach? Well that'll only be some $200+ for the last 30 books an that's figuring the relatively cheap $100 price tag for the first 21 volume box set. Comparatively you can get the first 121 eps of the series for that, value that as you may. Considering I know I used to pay $35 for 3-4 eps on a DVD and nevermind the old $60 for 2 eps of dubbed Lodoss War on VHS that I could never stomach, anime certainly seems to be making more reasonable price advances.

Release speed is a double edged sword. I remember when I started buying manga back in '04/'05 I think. It quickly got to be a $200 a month habit in those early days and I had to scale it back. Anytime I wander by a manga shelf at Barnes and Noble I'm still shocked by how much is out there and honestly by how close to up to date they've managed to get (I had no idea Kurohime was even licensed let alone how many volumes had already seen release here). The amount of ground they've covered in a few years really is very impressive, but I think it's also caused a bit of an overload.

It's a very damned if they do damned if they don't situation. If they don't make everything available, people will complain about not getting their favorite series. If they bring everything over people get overwhelmed and they invariably end up with losses on the more niche of the niche titles. If they followed a Japanese tank release schedule we'd be interminably years behind and there would be even more complaints about being behind. However, if they play catch up at a reasonable pace, there is again just too much to buy too quickly.

Sorry, this has gotten awfully rambly and I've lost focus several times while sitting here watching Top Gear trying to write this so this is going to be horribly proofed and edited, but oh well. In the end though, I think we all fundamentally agree that the US manga situation is a thorny one by any measure. I have no idea how one can really walk the line of market flooding and at the same time trying to meet all the exacting demands of manga nerds, and keep up to date with the insane Japanese release schedules with relatively low manpower and keep it all profitable on top of that. I do hope they employ someone smarter than me who can sort it out and can help actually grow the US market successfully, probably with some sort of digital distro.

(To anyone who knew my posting style before, it might not be much shorter these days I guess, but hey I've added line breaks, that's something... right?)

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