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Super Shogakukan: Fighting Scanlations Everywhere!

An interesting piece from Shogakukan.

Shogakukan's First Simulpublish
Shogakukan's First Simulpublish
Now, this is interesting, and I wish I'd noticed it on JapanToday when it went online on Sunday (...in my defense, I was in a Cirque du Soleil show).

Instead I found it belatedly at UPI via MangaBlog, but anyway: Shogakukan, one of Japan's biggest manga publishers and one of the co-owners of VIZ Media (along with publisher Shueisha), has actually come out and said that they're putting their manga online “to limit the spread of illegal copies.”

I was just discussing this recently: plenty of people pirate manga online as well as anime, but for some reason it has never seemed to be as rampant as its anime downloading counterparts. Perhaps the ratio of people willing to pay is just higher with manga, given its cheaper entry price. Or perhaps there are more manga fans who are less connected with the online community and therefore less likely to find the illegal copies...and of course, there's always the big difference of sitting down with an honest-to-god real book, whereas watching a digital file on a screen is the same regardless of the source.

In any case, the result is the same: anime piracy is frequently discussed, while manga piracy tends to fall by the wayside. It's also interesting to see Shogakukan put it out there so freely, when so often you see companies offering up more esoteric reasons for going online (“to better serve the fans” and the like).

At the very least, this is a good sign for more online VIZ releases, and possibly more North American releases closer to (or at the same time as) their publishing date in japan.
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