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Raw Paradise was closed… R.I.P.

April 16, 2010

Today, Raw Paradise, the best raw manga provider, closed its doors for ever as Shueisha (publisher of Weekly Shonen Jump and other mags) asked them to remove the DL-links. According to the publisher, they’d hurt the industry and the way the mangaka wants the people to read their works.

Although RP is gone now, I don’t think that the WSJ scanlation will be affected in any way as there are enough scanlation groups out there which get their scans privately.  I’m really troubled about the other manga chapters which were only available on RP (like Koe de Oshigoto or Let’s Lagoon).

If Shueisha really worries about damaging the industry, I got a real great solution (you might also look at this article for more ways).

The idea I got is to use available technologies and services to distribute mangas, rather creating new ones. A great way to reach many people all over the world is iTunes. Recently Apple has been starting to offer e-books trough it. So my question is “why not manga?”

The publishers have everything they need to do this. They just have to translate and typeset the pages and it’s almost 100% done. They don’t even need to clean and edit the pages as they have the original manga manuscripts right from the mangakas (on top of that, they already scan the manga pages in order to typeset them in Japanese for the printed magazines).

Just hire 2 or 3 people and within a week, all the Shueisha mags are completely scnalated, then put them up on iTunes for 5 USD each magazine or 1 USD for a chapter and make tens of trillions of Yen. To prevent sharing the scans, just simply set up a DRM-system and after or 2 months make them DRM free.

When you think about it, the manga industry’s is similar to the music industry’s case:

The publishers missed the digital age. The international market is huge and asks for more mangas. But if the publishers don’t get their things done, it’s no surprise that a large community of manga-pirates could build up. They can’t only blame us, they have to blame themselves, too and learn from their mistakes… dammit.

PS: When I’m in Japan, I’m paying them a visit to suggest my idea hahaha

16 Comments leave one →
  1. imgli permalink
    April 16, 2010 11:54 pm

    DRM won’t solve anything. Ultimately pirates would rather just wait 2 months for the cheaper version to be shared, or the crackers to release it the next day anyway. It’s really about not alienating your existing customers by offering them a valid incentive to be an early-adopter, and making it easy and painless to pay so the people KNOW they’re getting a product that’s worth paying for. This is difficult to get across when you sound more interested in fighting the people that will never pay you anyway, than delivering the best product possible. Just hire the fan-translations and scanlators as QC groups, and use their forums as staging grounds for new manga for that audience. Change your business models to get with the times.

    • April 19, 2010 10:00 am

      I know that DRM isn’t a perfect solution but the average user isn’t a cracker or whatever. So I think putting up the DRM for a limited time is a better way than leaving the files without it. You have to find the balance of the time people are willing to wait before it gets DRM free. Is the amount of time too long, more people will download it illegally. Is it too short, the average user might be staring to share too.

      In my case, I want to support the magazines and the mangakas. With with today’s manga distribution it’s waaay too expensive to get the mags shipped from Japan. I would support the shipping company more than the real artists. I would drop reading fan-scanlations completely if all my favourite sereis would be available in a cheap and easy way to purchase.

  2. Aya permalink
    April 17, 2010 3:59 am

    Great idea. As far as I know though, they’ve already started doing this in Japan, but with cellphones (since Japan’s really big on cellphones [almost everyone owns one!]) so it wouldn’t be a big stretch to open it up to a market like Kindle

    • April 19, 2010 10:05 am

      I’d be damn awesome if the Japanese keitai phones would also be available internationally. The U.S. and Europe are at least 3 – 6 years behind Japan.

  3. Aron permalink
    April 19, 2010 2:58 am

    AWSOME IDEA!! I hope this will become a reality sound like a perfect plan to get manga out there. If this does materialised i will definitely buy!!

  4. Patrick permalink
    April 20, 2010 11:14 am

    Honestly most manga readers will support the mangas that do end up over here.. I mean I started Reading R+V online and when the volumes came out over here I went and got them.

    So in this case it didn’t hurt them, it accutly helped them.

  5. MaiNoKen permalink
    April 26, 2010 8:07 am

    I have been involved in some scanlation projects for a while, but I have not heard of Raw Paradise until today, may be I am just be frog in the well (laugh). I personally have downloaded raws as well as buying collections originals. I can read Japanese to high degree, so I often buy the original Japanese release. So I sit in the gray area as a scanlator and also as an current patron for manga artists.

    English releases come too slow, and quite a bit of titles are market too limited to be viable for local license. That itself fuels the downloading, but I think some fans do not understand some titles are simply not viable for licensing. As someone who does research and writing for a career, I do have to say artists, writers, researchers, programmers do required to get money to feed themselves and their family. So I do understand why all this fiscal exists to begin with. I do understand some people are pirating for the sake of refusing to pay even the price is very low; that type of people will always exist, and will never go away.

    What really needs to happen is to make releases easier accessible from other countries (say Hello to Internet) without going through a third-party (like Shueisha themselves sell to other countries) without going through all the hassle of local licensing (just even deliver the translated product over the Internet!) – faster and cheaper for local fans as well. We will have no gray area dealing with scanning – everything original, everything legit, and everything fast.

    Frankly, how copyright restrictions work now is incompatible with the state-to-the-art technology (the Internet) nor globalization. Region locks, inflexible licensing rules – this all have to change.

  6. MaiNoKen permalink
    April 26, 2010 8:17 am

    Sorry if my last post missed some of the ideas of the original blog post. Yes the way how Apple is doing is what needs to happen. What is really slowing all this done is no longer a technological issue, but a human issue. That is just simply too much resistance to change. Anyway for a large part of the music/publishing/entertainment industry has made money using the old model. Dropping the old model for something else may be is just too unthinkable for some – the fear of replacing the old golden tree with a younger one, and the young one cannot produce as much.

    • April 26, 2010 2:26 pm

      You don’t have to apologize xD We are thankful for every comment we can get plus I agree to what you said.

      Although I’m still learning Japanese, my long term target is to read manga fluently without looking up every second word. Then I would buy the Japanese manga releases, too. Even some scanlation groups are too slow and I can barely keep myself away from looking at the raws to spoil the whole story…

  7. MaiNoKen permalink
    April 26, 2010 2:53 pm

    Looking at raws are good for learning Japanese 😛

    Getting digital raws of pictures are far more laboring compare to digital raws of videos. There are also more procedures to prepare raws for release – you have to clean up the pictures, remove the text originally on it, and replace it with something else. Translating manga is quite a bit easier however than videos, but there will be never enough translators haha.

  8. Ryuzakixd permalink
    May 4, 2010 10:34 pm

    I would pay with pleasure for official scans.

    I already buy all avaible manga in my country (i also buy some japanese manga for about 15-20 USD).

    Nice idea.

  9. June 21, 2010 1:39 pm

    Good. I hope they rot. They put out horribly low-quality scans and had to use MINE to make up for their own shortfalls. I told them to remove my stuff from their site.

    Good riddance.

  10. Cookie permalink
    July 12, 2010 5:13 am

    Messed up D<

  11. Sorou permalink
    August 26, 2010 1:56 am

    I really like this idea. iTunes is a huge company, and so is apple. If they had official manga up for sale, like what you said, for 1-5 USD, I would totally buy it, and I’m sure every American manga love out there agrees with me, because not everyone can read Japanese. And also, you wouldn’t need Internet to read it. Say you’re on the subway, like in New York, or on a train, or a plane, or just somewhere with really bad Wi-Fi. Just read the chapters on your computer, iPad, iPhone/iPod touch, kindle, or some other device. So once again, MEH LUVVES DIS IDEA! So if you make a petition or something, I’m in.

  12. Nataruma permalink
    September 14, 2010 8:56 am

    I don’t like the iTunes idea much myself, since I live in an unsupported region. Our manga supplies here are pretty much non-existent, so I have to order online if I want the official releases of something. Which I do, when I can, or when I feel the series is worth the extra money for shipping and handling.

    If the publishers were to make their products available for distribution by digital means (e-books), I would much prefer if they were made available through many of the popular online book retailers like B&N and Amazon, who don’t have region-based restrictions on digital products of that nature.

    Keep in mind that, a lot of the manga piracy going on is also due to restrictions on regional distribution. People in countries like mine who cannot get their hands on manga easily, or who suffer from anally-retentive customs checks where confiscations are common, are less likely to bother buying something that may not even make it past customs, and more likely to find an online solution, one that unfortunately hurts the industry.

    There’s also the issue of licensing. There aren’t enough western-based publishers doing good enough business to license manga fast enough to meet the demands of the fans and readers. Titles seem to be picked randomly for translation, as opposed to by popular demand. This creates a supply and demand mentality, in which scanlators supply what the general fandom is demanding.

    There’s no perfect business model to completely reduce piracy of any product, but the industry has to realize that there are more effective distribution options, and that scanlation can help the industry, rather than hurt it, if they would somehow adopt the process and make it work in their favour rather than against it.

  13. Naeko Ro permalink
    December 15, 2010 4:12 pm

    The publishers probably do not want to hire fans due to inconsistent quality and undependable scheduling. Fans have been consistently shown to have a poor track record when working with actual businesses and business-level responsibilities. Small projects have been tried before where fans were hired and they turned out bad. And it is not just in Japan, but also in other countries. For example, in Singapore, Odex hired fans to work on translations and those fans did a poor as well as unethical effort by plagiarizing or other illegal actions of which they didn’t notify the publisher. Such problems then damaged the publishers’ reputations. That is unacceptable.

    Business publishers are undeniably looking forward to the ratification of the ACTA Treaty by Japan, USA, Canada, the EU, Australia, and various other major intellectual property creation nations. ACTA sets a minimum response, but individual members can legislate their own punishments for piracy. Ireland is the first country in the EU to introduce a three strikes approach.

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