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Post Reply Crunchyroll begins Manga Service!
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Posted 11/12/13 , edited 11/12/13

tinman23 wrote:

I think manga is great and all , but for me at least when I try using it on my ipad it doesn't work. No manga pops up on my screen at all. Once all the bugs get worked out it might be worth it until then. I don't know.


Do you have the CR Manga App? The regular Crunchyroll app only has the Anime and Drama. There's a separate app for the Manga--I've had no problems with it on my iPad mini.

https://itunes.apple.com/is/app/manga-by-crunchyroll/id617048063

If you do have the Manga app and are having trouble with it, you should use the Contact Us link to get assistance from Customer Support.
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Posted 11/12/13

kardonius wrote: The bootleg releases wouldn't have as much effect precisely because they were unlicensed though. Kodansha certainly wasn't getting money for them, so they still had incentive to try to reach the market that would either still purchase after reading, or who were not exposed to the scanslations.

Hold it right there ... the incentive of Kodansha to sell print manga is the same whether they get money from the online reading or not. The impact of online reading would be if it reduces the opportunity to make money from the print manga.
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Posted 11/12/13
Oh, also may I recommend you change the chapters available from just the latest to the first and the latest? That way people can read the first chapters of available manga, get hooked and decide they want to sign up for all-access because they want to read the rest/the parts in between rather than seeing a manga they don't know and just ignoring it.
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Posted 11/12/13 , edited 11/12/13

agila61 wrote:


kardonius wrote: The bootleg releases wouldn't have as much effect precisely because they were unlicensed though. Kodansha certainly wasn't getting money for them, so they still had incentive to try to reach the market that would either still purchase after reading, or who were not exposed to the scanslations.

Hold it right there ... the incentive of Kodansha to sell print manga is the same whether they get money from the online reading or not. The impact of online reading would be if it reduces the opportunity to make money from the print manga.


It isn't necessarily so though. If you can reach 90% of your previous market while cutting publishing costs in comparison to physical, going all digital becomes a much smarter proposition. Of course they are competing now more directly with the illegal sources, but still essentially targeting the same audience that bought the physical media and then some.

In contrast physical publishing is an additional expense, but one that essentially allows them to avoid competing as directly with illegal sources by offering something that the illegal source can't, a physical book. Again they're targeting the same base audience as an official digital release does however, with the addition of the ones who will only buy physical manga.

If they feel they can compete directly with the illegal source via digital, then there's comparatively less incentive to expend more resources for that physical media advantage that only targets a portion of their consumer base.

Like I said, if 90% embrace digital, and 10% are physical only, and they feel they no longer need the physical advantage, there's no reason not to go pure digital if the expenses saved not printing physical makes up for the 10%.

Of course those numbers are pulled out of thin air, but we can't know how far they'll bet on digital until at least a few years have passed, and we see what new physical releases come out from Kodansha's library. And there's never been any real publicly available analytics done to discover what percentage of manga readers actually require physical to purchase.
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Posted 11/12/13 , edited 11/12/13

kardonius wrote: It isn't necessarily so though. If you can reach 90% of your previous market while cutting publishing costs in comparison to physical, going all digital becomes a much smarter proposition.

But that is a pure hypothetical that is not relevant to the case at hand, because:

(1) it presumes that what Crunchyroll is putting up can indeed satisfy 90% of the existing demand for print publishing, and there is no reason to believe that it can; and,

(2) It treats the existing market as the maximum potential market for print publishing, but if the Crunchyroll Manga venture is successful, it will grow the audience for manga, and some of that new audience will want printed copies of the work.

Your argument is equivalent to arguing that making the manga available in Japan chapter by chapter in extremely cheap-per-page serials will be the death of tankoubon volumes, when the reality is that it is a primary platform for creating demand for tankoubon volumes.


Of course they are competing now more directly with the illegal sources, but still essentially targeting the same audience that bought the physical media and then some.

And the same audience that bought the physical media were buying the physical media despite the easy availability of the manga on digital reading sites.


In contrast physical publishing is an additional expense, but one that essentially allows them to avoid competing as directly with illegal sources by offering something that the illegal source can't, a physical book. Again they're targeting the same base audience as an official digital release does however, with the addition of the ones who will only buy physical manga.

You are talking yourselves around in circles ... for the part of the audience that prefers the printed book, many of them read the online scanlations and buy the printed version of the ones that they particularly like, to collect them ~ just like a large proportion of DVD/BD sales are sales to people who have already seen the anime by some other means.

If they prefer the printed work as a collectible, they prefer the printed work as a collectible to both bootlegs online and to legit content online.


If they feel they can compete directly with the illegal source via digital, then there's comparatively less incentive to expend more resources for that physical media advantage that only targets a portion of their consumer base.

You are talking as if its a fixed market, divided up in different ways. If Crunchyroll Manga is successful, it will be a substantial increase in the size of the market, by capturing a part of the audience that is at present outside of the market entirely, as well as by exposing the content to those who were not previously

And you are also talking as if Crunchyroll Manga has not cost-sharing impact on the cost of printed publications. Remember that the majority of the cost of a printed manga volume is the localization and editorial costs, not the physical print costs. So its quite possible for Crunchyroll Manga to make a printed edition cheaper, if the manga works the same way as anime normally does, with the localization content going back to the original rights owner as part of the deal, so it will make it profitable to print a smaller run, because the majority of the costs of a printed run ~ the editorial costs ~ have already been covered by a different revenue source.


Like I said, if 90% embrace digital, and 10% are physical only, and they feel they no longer need the physical advantage, there's no reason not to go pure digital if the expenses saved not printing physical makes up for the 10%.

90% have already embraced digital, and bringing some more of that 90% into the market is good for the localized manga industry. And given that 90% have already embraced digital, it seems likely that the 10% that make up the current market for printed manga have a strong preference for print. It makes simple economic sense for publishers to cater to strong preferences, if the revenue available exceeds the cost of doing so.
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Posted 11/12/13

agila61

Like I said, if 90% embrace digital, and 10% are physical only, and they feel they no longer need the physical advantage, there's no reason not to go pure digital if the expenses saved not printing physical makes up for the 10%.

90% have already embraced digital, and bringing some more of that 90% into the market is good for the localized manga industry. And given that 90% have already embraced digital, it seems likely that the 10% that make up the current market for printed manga have a strong preference for print. It makes simple economic sense for publishers to cater to strong preferences, if the revenue available exceeds the cost of doing so.


Ultimately this is what it all boils down to, and exactly why the potential for reduced focus on physical exists, although of course that isn't a guarantee.

If it no longer makes sense to publish physically in the US for Kodansha, they won't do it.
If there were no other avenues of distribution in this market than it would be a guarantee that anything that is released would be available in that one avenue.

Thus regardless of the benefits of creating a legitimate digital distribution channel, there exists the opportunity now to move away from purely physical and into purely digital.
The likelihood, I can't and have never claimed to be able to predict, it's simply a risk that now exists with more options available to the publisher.

I'm not opposed to this in and of itself, it's just that as with other forms of media, like PC games, there exists greater chances of moving closer to a purely digital distribution that I don't prefer.
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Posted 11/12/13
Do us all a favor and include Manhwa's, I have read some of the best stories ever from The Breaker, Veritas, Tower of God, Cavalier of the Abyss, Sword of the Emperor, Dark Air, Witch Hunter, The Legend of Maian, Flow, Psyren. I can keep going, but I am sure you get where I am going. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE add Manhwa's. They are definitely worth the investment and I for one would signup day one. If any others know what I am talking about please help spread the word and just maybe Crunchyroll will make it happen. Thanks
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Posted 11/12/13

kardonius wrote: If it no longer makes sense to publish physically in the US for Kodansha, they won't do it.

Yes. My point is that there is absolutely no reason to think that Crunchyroll Manga makes it make any less sense to public physically in the US for Kodansha. Most likely it makes it make more sense, since the physical titles can share the overheads of localizing with online subscriptions and streaming ads.


If there were no other avenues of distribution in this market than it would be a guarantee that anything that is released would be available in that one avenue.

But that observation doesn't carry any implication. Nobody publishes just to say they are available in that country, they publish for the sales. Either the Crunchyroll Manga system will succeed or it will fail. If it fails, it obviously has little impact either way. If it suceeds, it will build the market for sales of volumes.

That is, after all, how the Japanese manga industry was built in Japan ~ selling cheap serials with the first print of the manga chapters and then selling largely the same content in premium volumes, to the audience built up by seeing the manga in the serials.


Thus regardless of the benefits of creating a legitimate digital distribution channel, there exists the opportunity now to move away from purely physical and into purely digital.

But you offer no reason to believe that "pure online reading" is better than some mix of distribution channels. Naming it as an opportunity does not mean it is an opportunity to do anything other than leave some money on the table.


The likelihood, I can't and have never claimed to be able to predict, it's simply a risk that now exists with more options available to the publisher.

Its just that there's nothing in your argument that gives any reason to think of it as anything other than jumping at made up stories. I mean, if I were to try to walk to the next city at night in the snow with no shoes on, there would be a risk of falling ill or losing toes to frostbite.

But since I am not likely to try to walk to the next city at night in the snow with no shoes on, the risk of getting sick or losing toes to frostbite is in reality basically nil.

There might be an issue for emanga, if a large share of the new audience for manga created by a successful Crunchyroll Manga prefers the digital download manga to the print publication, and if the some of the existing print publication market are people who would prefer emanga ... but then that's on whether emanga leaves enough of a market for traditional print publishing to continue to pursue it ... that obviously would not be on the online reading distribution channel that Crunchyroll Manga is operating in.
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Posted 11/12/13 , edited 11/12/13

agila61 wrote:


If there were no other avenues of distribution in this market than it would be a guarantee that anything that is released would be available in that one avenue.

But that observation doesn't carry any implication. Nobody publishes just to say they are available in that country, they publish for the sales. Either the Crunchyroll Manga system will succeed or it will fail. If it fails, it obviously has little impact either way. If it suceeds, it will build the market for sales of volumes.

That is, after all, how the Japanese manga industry was built in Japan ~ selling cheap serials with the first print of the manga chapters and then selling largely the same content in premium volumes, to the audience built up by seeing the manga in the serials.

Yes, they publish for sales, if the sales difference between physical and digital is either negligible, or digital sales are significantly better, then they have some incentive for a pure digital approach that they know works, and can save money. Ultimately that's purely up to Kodansha though.

As for the Japanese manga industry, it's a bit different as anthology magazines are also generally physical media. Rather than physical vs digital, it's physical vs physical. So there are significantly more reasons to purchase tankoubon if one enjoys the series or wants to jump into it.
Corrections, better quality paper, more convenient size, and having only what one wants are all advantages to a volume, as well as having more 'meat' of a story in one sitting rather than needing 20 different volumes of a phonebook sized anthology to read through 20 chapters of the one manga you want.

Digital distributions in the anthology style aren't quite the same because there's no size, or paper changes, and only getting what one wants is easy, basically there are no disadvantages other than any corrections that need to be made. Theoretically they could also roll that into the digital anthology as well, by simply updating the digital versions without needing to buy anything.


agila61

Thus regardless of the benefits of creating a legitimate digital distribution channel, there exists the opportunity now to move away from purely physical and into purely digital.

But you offer no reason to believe that "pure online reading" is better than some mix of distribution channels. Naming it as an opportunity does not mean it is an opportunity to do anything other than leave some money on the table.


This is mostly because I don't believe it's better, but I don't know of any market research to tell me that the data supports that idea or not.

If the data supports the idea that purely digital is a smarter business decision, which is just one of many possibilities, than they'll likely want to move towards it. It's purely hypothetical, because there isn't any evidence yet, one way or the other.

All there is to do is draw off whats happened with other media, and the general trend is moving more and more towards digital distribution, at the extreme of which is pure digital distribution.

A great example of one type of media that's moved much closer to that extreme is PC gaming. Sure there are physical editions, but it's becoming less and less common, and more and more, the physical media is basically just avoiding a download over the digital distribution service it's linked to rather than a meaningful piece of media.

Likewise even console games are being pushed towards pure digital, like the Xbox One initially was going for, although they recieved far more resistance to the idea compared to PC, since PC never really had the tradition of resale of games like consoles do. The push is still there, only delayed.


agila61

The likelihood, I can't and have never claimed to be able to predict, it's simply a risk that now exists with more options available to the publisher.

Its just that there's nothing in your argument that gives any reason to think of it as anything other than jumping at made up stories. I mean, if I were to try to walk to the next city at night in the snow with no shoes on, there would be a risk of falling ill or losing toes to frostbite.

But since I am not likely to try to walk to the next city at night in the snow with no shoes on, the risk of getting sick or losing toes to frostbite is in reality basically nil.

It's simply a risk that now exists that didn't before, whether it's likely or not, it's something new for this particular media. It may be infinitely unlikely or an inevitable eventuality, I don't know, but the potential is there when it wasn't before.

The frostbite analogy doesn't really work though, since there's zero potential benefit to taking that risk, whereas there is significant benefit potential to a purely digital distribution service. If there weren't any benefit to digital they wouldn't be bothering with any digital distribution at all, unless they were idiots, in which case that would make things even worse; but I doubt that they are.


agila61
There might be an issue for emanga, if a large share of the new audience for manga created by a successful Crunchyroll Manga prefers the digital download manga to the print publication, and if the some of the existing print publication market are people who would prefer emanga ... but then that's on whether emanga leaves enough of a market for traditional print publishing to continue to pursue it ... that obviously would not be on the online reading distribution channel that Crunchyroll Manga is operating in.


I don't see why you say it would not be on the distribution channel of Crunchyroll Manga, it's an emanga distribution service under a subscription plan.
The traditional publishing market isn't isolated from the digital market, many publishers and retailers actively push towards digital. Barnes & Noble's nook, and Amazon's kindle, and kindle books are pushed fairly often by their respective retailers, and Kodansha is an example of pushing into digital publishing in itself.
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Posted 11/13/13 , edited 11/13/13

kardonius wrote: I don't see why you say it would not be on the distribution channel of Crunchyroll Manga, it's an emanga distribution service under a subscription plan.

No, it isn't. Its online reading, not digital download. They aren't the same channel. If you prefer print manga, you may not notice the difference, but for those who prefer digital download, the difference between the two channels is substantial. You calling them both the same name does not magically make them the same thing.


kardonius wrote: Yes, they publish for sales, if the sales difference between physical and digital is either negligible, or digital sales are significantly better, then they have some incentive for a pure digital approach that they know works, and can save money. Ultimately that's purely up to Kodansha though.

So, first, you write this as if "digital" is one thing and "physical" is another, and that is highly misleading. The kind of digital that I get from Gen Manga (and, this year, Manha), DRM-free pdf downloads and the online reading Manga that Crunchyroll is offering are quite different channels. Its much more likely that digital eManga is an alternative to buying a printed manga volume than online reading.

Just as Japanese manga readers reading a series in the cheap serials are also a large part of the market for Japanese tankoubon, some Crunchyroll members who discover a series on Crunchyroll will become part of the market for a collected volume.

Now, as far as a negligible share of the present market being for print in particular, and equally happy to have digital emanga's, we already know that is false, because Viz still sells print editions of manga that are available as eManga.

So while it is a logically valid statement, we know that the premise is false, so the conclusion is beside the point.

Just like the current market for print published manga being those willing to buy print editions when online reading has been widely available for over a decade, the current market for print published manga is also for several publishers currently side by side with digital eManga, and the print still sell.

We know that if there are that number of people who prefer print publishing to digital, a share will not bother to purchase the digital, and so not doing the print publication will be leaving revenue on the table.

We also know if there is a sufficient market to justify doing a print published manga, that doing an emanga distribution is not substantially lower cost than doing a print published distribution, so given that the market is willing to pay a higher price for printed manga than for eManga, if there was negligible difference between the two, without a share of the market preferring one and a share of the market preferring the other, the publisher would be commercially better off only doing the print publication.
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Posted 11/14/13

agila61 wrote:


kardonius wrote: I don't see why you say it would not be on the distribution channel of Crunchyroll Manga, it's an emanga distribution service under a subscription plan.

No, it isn't. Its online reading, not digital download. They aren't the same channel. If you prefer print manga, you may not notice the difference, but for those who prefer digital download, the difference between the two channels is substantial. You calling them both the same name does not magically make them the same thing.

If the service is available via the crunchyroll apps available on various devices, or available on CR's mobile site now, or sometime in the future, it's essentially the same as an eManga download service.

Both are essentially just downloading the files over the internet for viewing on a device within either a webpage or standalone application for a fee.

The idea of owning a digital copy vs gaining access to copies as a service is different, but the end user experience is basically the same from within an app.

If it is different in the end user experience somehow, than I'd like to know how.


agila61

kardonius wrote: Yes, they publish for sales, if the sales difference between physical and digital is either negligible, or digital sales are significantly better, then they have some incentive for a pure digital approach that they know works, and can save money. Ultimately that's purely up to Kodansha though.

So, first, you write this as if "digital" is one thing and "physical" is another, and that is highly misleading. The kind of digital that I get from Gen Manga (and, this year, Manha), DRM-free pdf downloads and the online reading Manga that Crunchyroll is offering are quite different channels. Its much more likely that digital eManga is an alternative to buying a printed manga volume than online reading.

Digital and physical are different though. Yes, you could subdivide digital into smaller categories, but the differences between physical and digital don't change as mediums.
One is analog, physical media, the other is digital data displayed on a screen. They have their own innate differences and similarities.

If hypothetically, you uploaded the drm free PDF into a service that displayed it like the web reader, and could save the images of the CR manga and display it as something similar to a pdf, such as with CDisplay, there would be no significant difference between the two experiences as they traded places.

It's simply a matter of what you prefer in digital formats, but it doesn't change the differences between those digital sub-categories and physical media.


agila61
Just as Japanese manga readers reading a series in the cheap serials are also a large part of the market for Japanese tankoubon, some Crunchyroll members who discover a series on Crunchyroll will become part of the market for a collected volume.

Now, as far as a negligible share of the present market being for print in particular, and equally happy to have digital emanga's, we already know that is false, because Viz still sells print editions of manga that are available as eManga.

So while it is a logically valid statement, we know that the premise is false, so the conclusion is beside the point.

Expanding the market for physical manga is certainly a possibility, but it's not quite the same as CR's streaming anime vs Blu-Ray or even DVD.
For one thing, the anime is free in it's entirety after a time delay, whereas the manga service is basically the exact opposite, it seems only the last chapter released is available for free. In order to read from the beginning you need to pay for a subscription.

In addition unless the person already has a significant preference for physical media, there is no comparatively little loss in reading purely the CR version of the manga.
In comparison, the CR video, even with a subscription, is generally going to be lower quality than Blu-Ray, it will also generally be the TV broadcast, vs the uncensored Blu-Ray or DVD.

As it is generally the TV version, any errors that may be corrected in the disc version will still be there as well. Throw in possible extra features or disc only bonus episodes and there's much more incentive to pick up physical media of an anime you've already watched on CR, vs a manga you've already read.

Generally not only can the manga service easily update their manga with the tankoubon releases if desired (and it's already ordered by volume on relevant manga), manga also tend to have far fewer extras or improvements in their US physical releases to justify buying it again.


We know that Viz stills sells print editions, but Viz is also a third party licensee and publisher.
Kodansha is not, it owns most if not all the media it publishes and thus is not beholden to licensing contracts that may require physical publishing, as demanded by more risk-averse or less tech-savvy publishers.


In addition, the premise is neither true nor false, it's an unknown. It depends purely on the success of the venture.

We have no idea if Viz is scraping by in it's eManga+physical publishing but they simply can't afford to lose any customers and their cash, or if eManga has blown the doors off for them and they're rolling in dough.

Likewise we can't know how successful CR and Kodansha will be with this plan until it's actually been around for a few years.


agila61
Just like the current market for print published manga being those willing to buy print editions when online reading has been widely available for over a decade, the current market for print published manga is also for several publishers currently side by side with digital eManga, and the print still sell.

Of course the print still sells, there's no monopoly in the manga publishing market, and not every publisher endorses an all digital approach. That's a good thing, and I'm not worried about this causing all print manga to go away forever, only Kodansha's stuff is even at risk.


agila61
We know that if there are that number of people who prefer print publishing to digital, a share will not bother to purchase the digital, and so not doing the print publication will be leaving revenue on the table.

Not doing a print publication will be leaving revenue on the table, yes. However, if that revenue is less than the costs of publishing, distributing and everything else involved in getting a physical book on the market, than it makes perfect sense to do so.


agila61
We also know if there is a sufficient market to justify doing a print published manga, that doing an emanga distribution is not substantially lower cost than doing a print published distribution,

[...] so given that the market is willing to pay a higher price for printed manga than for eManga, if there was negligible difference between the two, without a share of the market preferring one and a share of the market preferring the other, the publisher would be commercially better off only doing the print publication.


We don't actually know that unless you have a source that shows that eManga publishing is not significantly lower cost than print publishing.

People are willing to pay higher prices for physical yes, but not infinitely higher prices, without hard data we can't know their profit margins on physical vs digital.

If those margins for physical are slim enough they could be perfectly justified in dropping it, even if it's still positive, to save on all the expenses related to a physical business presence.

I highly doubt that will happen, considering the size of Kodansha, and the fact they publish much more than just Manga in the US. But they may certainly cut down on the amount of physical manga they publish if the margins are slim enough, and they can save a decent amount of money.

This is all essentially just speculation in the end, as we don't have the information to prove one way or the other if their margins on physical manga is sufficient to justify it or not.
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Posted 11/14/13 , edited 11/14/13

kardonius wrote:


agila61 wrote:


If the service is available via the crunchyroll apps available on various devices, or available on CR's mobile site now, or sometime in the future, it's essentially the same as an eManga download service.

Both are essentially just downloading the files over the internet for viewing on a device within either a webpage or standalone application for a fee.

The idea of owning a digital copy vs gaining access to copies as a service is different, but the end user experience is basically the same from within an app.

If it is different in the end user experience somehow, than I'd like to know how.



No there's a distinct difference. Online viewing is not the same as actually having the datafile. You're at the whim or the CR and content licensors. If they lose the right to the manga you will no longer have access to it. Also, If you don't have internet you'll no longer have access to it. Traveled to another country? You may not have access to it. You're stuck to their terms.

If you actually have the file you can use it whenever and where ever you'd like (as long as you aren't distributing it, that's illegal). You own the file.
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Posted 11/14/13 , edited 11/14/13


RogueIV
No there's a distinct difference. Online viewing is not the same as actually having the datafile. You're at the whim or the CR and content licensors. If they lose the right to the manga you will no longer have access to it. Also, If you don't have internet you'll no longer have access to it. Traveled to another country? You may not have access to it. You're stuck to their terms.

If you actually have the file you can use it whenever and where ever you'd like (as long as you aren't distributing it, that's illegal). You own the file.

That's true, but the difference is between two different forms of digital distribution and what's most convenient for the user's needs, not between digital and physical distribution.

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Posted 11/16/13
I just noticed this service and seems like my country (Finland) is for some reason one of the countries left out. I hope we'll get it sooner than later.
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Posted 11/27/13

kardonius wrote:
It isn't necessarily so though. If you can reach 90% of your previous market while cutting publishing costs in comparison to physical, going all digital becomes a much smarter proposition. Of course they are competing now more directly with the illegal sources, but still essentially targeting the same audience that bought the physical media and then some.

In contrast physical publishing is an additional expense, but one that essentially allows them to avoid competing as directly with illegal sources by offering something that the illegal source can't, a physical book. Again they're targeting the same base audience as an official digital release does however, with the addition of the ones who will only buy physical manga.

If they feel they can compete directly with the illegal source via digital, then there's comparatively less incentive to expend more resources for that physical media advantage that only targets a portion of their consumer base.

Like I said, if 90% embrace digital, and 10% are physical only, and they feel they no longer need the physical advantage, there's no reason not to go pure digital if the expenses saved not printing physical makes up for the 10%.

Of course those numbers are pulled out of thin air, but we can't know how far they'll bet on digital until at least a few years have passed, and we see what new physical releases come out from Kodansha's library. And there's never been any real publicly available analytics done to discover what percentage of manga readers actually require physical to purchase.


You've got these numbers backward. Right now, 90% of graphic novel sales are physical, and that number is probably even HIGHER for just manga. Even in categories where digital publishing has matured, like sci-fi and romance, print still accounts for around 40% of sales. It will be years before digital remotely threatens the continued existence of physical comics.
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