Dealing with scanlations of your titles

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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby alexar » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:17 pm

Wasn't it a batch license? So that DMG didn't really have any choice about individual titles?
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby TropicanaTina » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:41 pm

I don't understand your argument, nycmango. Are you suggesting that publishers shouldn't even bother licensing titles that have been scanlated, or that if they do get licensed, they shouldn't care about turning a decent profit? That's a double-edged sword right there. It's great that scanlation groups want to spread the word about talented mangaka, but if that discourages publishers from ever producing an official version, one that would actually pay the mangaka, that's definitely not a good thing. And people doing professional work deserve to be compensated accordingly, and there's nothing wrong with that. Manga isn't a charity. It's a product, and the fans that enjoy the product should show their gratitude for all the people that bring said products to their hands/screen. The mangaka is the most important figure, of course, but don't belittle the huge amount of work put in by others.

And, personally, I have seen a lot of tweeting by Guild groups, and it's not uncommon at all for the groups to comment on how cute/sexy/dramatic/funny/whatever the art and/or story is in the books that they're working on. But you need to consider two things. First, a lot of groups are trying to keep their group pages fairly professional (or they don't have the time to post a lot), so they keep it to the basic facts of what's being worked on, how far along it is, when it's released, and where it's available. Second, Guild members don't choose what they work on. They might not be fans of a particular mangaka/book, or they might not even be fans of yaoi. Who knows, maybe some Guild members aren't even manga fans and just want translating/editing/lettering experience. And, really, there's nothing wrong with that. Fangirls/boys don't automatically make the best localizers. As long as someone is talented at what they do, can show respect to the mangaka, and respect to the readers, that's all you need to produce a wonderful localization.

Most of the DMG releases have been excellent too, so I don't know where you'd getting this idea that the Guild isn't doing a good job. There have been a couple lower quality localizations and I imagine there might be a couple bad apples in terms of being rude, but these generalizations about the Guild as a whole being rude, egotistical, producing bad work, and whatever else is being thrown around the 'net are just unfounded and show a lack of knowledge and experience with the Guild and its products.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby Scryren » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:30 pm

I think what nycmango was trying to say is that by releasing a title solely in digital format that's been available as a scanlation for years, and already on a vast amount of harddrives, isn't the best business model if making money is the main priority.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby TropicanaTina » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:53 pm

The problem with that is that some titles just can't garner enough sales to be worth the cost of producing a physical book. So digital-only really is the only option for an official release. It's that or nothing. And if nothing, then the mangaka never sees a dime from any of the non-Japanese readers, and the readers can be in a bad spot too because not all scanlations are high quality. Then you're stuck with a poor localization or learning Japanese.

If fans want physical books, they can't blame the publishers. The publishers are happy to bring them any book that they can actually turn a respectable profit on. Like I said, manga isn't charity, so they're not going to lose money just to print books and make a small number of fans happy. The fans are responsible to show with their wallets what they want. If there are enough fans willing to put down the money, a book will get printed.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby Scryren » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:06 am

If the only way for a publisher to turn a profit on a book is for us to pay twice, and that debate has already been beat to death by others on the AF forums, you cannot expect the digital sales to be high.

I keep seeing Guild members fall back to the old argument of "think of the poor mangaka", but if Guild members are going to keep rehashing this as a defense, then they should be happy that their titles are selling at all. Just like how scanlators should mind how much the Guild could pay them because we were doing it for free anyway.

Neither of those statements are fair, and it just shows how much each side doesn't understand the other.

We're just going to have to agree to disagree on how the Guild does business, but I do believe that it's important for Guild members to be aware that the days of anime fans buying everything they can get their hands on ended a long time ago.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby chirechan » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:02 am

...but I do believe that it's important for Guild members to be aware that the days of anime fans buying everything they can get their hands on ended a long time ago.


I don't think such a time ever existed... Other than adult BL/niche readers with disposable income, fans have NEVER bought everything they could get their hands on. It has ALWAYS been a pirating world. My view on the guild model (and no, I'm not 100% sold on it either) is that it is an attempt to change the status quo and provide a legal alternative. Hopefully some day, it will evolve into something that benefits all parties: readers, manga-ka, localizers, etc.

Sadly, I kind of agree with the argument of "don't bother legally publishing a title that has already been scanlated because of course sales will suck." But if we go by that logic, then as soon as a group who "loves and supports this manga-ka and wants more people to read his/her work" scanlates a series, it's a nail in the coffin because now, it's not worth it for that series to be licensed.

To show I'm not always cynical, maybe a better approach would be to negotiate licenses as soon as a book is released in Japan or even before. That way there is no time for scanlators to get their hands on it before a legal option is available. You can't change the past, but you can change how you deal with the future.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby TropicanaTina » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:07 pm

I'm not sure what you mean by paying twice, Scryren. You mean the passing comment by Digital Manga that DMG releases might get printed versions if sales are high? I was speaking more in a general sense myself. Like if the sales for a series, artist, yaoi as whole, etc. were stronger, then a publisher would be happy to produce printed versions of new books right from the get-go. It's all about expected sales and what is worth taking a risk on and what isn't. The best thing BL fans can do to improve the state of official English releases is to buy everything they want to read (because, let's face it, a lot of people are comfortable reading scanlations and then never paying for an official version even if one is/becomes available) and to try to increase the size of the (paying) fandom.

Personally, I do care about the mangaka getting his/her fair share, but again I'll repeat that it isn't and shouldn't be charity, not for the readers, not for the mangaka, not for anyone. I'm not in this to do a mangaka favors. I want to build experience, get paid a respectable amount for my time and effort, enjoy the fact that I'm working on something fun instead of a dry textbook or some such, and also enjoy the fact that I'm allowing others to enjoy something that they wouldn't have access to otherwise (at least not legally, in the case of titles that have been scanlated). It's not something that I personally would be doing for free, and, really, the fact that there are those willing to do this for free or very little is damaging. Pay in this industry has only been sliding downward over the past 10+ years. Part of it is the economy, but a large part is the desperation of fans that want to work on something fun even if they're being totally exploited. Scanlation and official manga publishing needs to be kept as two very separate worlds/mentalities, because as soon as you have people approaching legitimate business like scanlation, you're entering dangerous territory. Just look at all the damage Tokyopop internships and entry-level positions did. All these people working for nothing or very little, and as soon as they have the experience and the desire to make a real career out of it, they realize that no one is willing to pay them enough to actually live on because there's a never-ending line of fresh blood willing to work for a pittance, and a lot of businesses don't care that those people aren't as experienced and talented. It's an even worse situation for freelancers, so the last thing we need is people suggesting that we should be happy even if we're making next to nothing.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby Scryren » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:07 pm

I don't think such a time ever existed... Other than adult BL/niche readers with disposable income, fans have NEVER bought everything they could get their hands on. It has ALWAYS been a pirating world.


That has to be the most ignorant summary of the manga industry in North America that I have ever heard. Please read up on how the manga and anime industry has evolved in the US before you say things like that; you're coming off as a troll.


Tina, there are two threads dedicated to DMG on AarinFantasy (Enter the Digital Manga Guild and Looking for Scanlators for DMP); I believe that debate is brought up on both.
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Re: Dealing with scanlations of your titles

Postby crayon » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:51 pm

Thank you everyone for your input.

This section of the forum is for DMG'ers - where DMG'ers can discuss DMG related biz, issues and policies.

This is turning into something else - and I am locking this topic.
If you have any concerns or issues you would like to discuss - please send me a PM or email to: contact (at) digitalmangaguild.com

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