A sad day for digital manga

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You’d think that we’d be happy about JManga shutting down, but it’s actually quite a sad day. While it’s generally good news to have less competition, it’s not really worth it if that comes at the cost of people losing their trust to digital manga publishing in general.

We’ve written before about how trust is a central issue to any digital publishing platform, and those thoughts are now more topical than ever.

Up until this point the idea of a digital manga service shutting down and all purchases vanishing into thin air has been just a theoretical threat. Now when the largest player on the field has fallen, that theoretical threat is suddenly a very concrete one. From this day on people will always remember the demise of JManga before deciding to invest their money into any manga platform.

Of course there are ways to sidestep these trust issues. The most obvious one is the Crunchyroll / Netflix model: paying for the service, not for the content. When there’s a fixed monthly fee, you wouldn’t be left with nonexistant purchases even if the service would shut down one day. It’s the solution everyone wants, but also a one that the Japanese publishers have not been eager to agree to.

Download-to-own is the another solution. It’s something that eManga has been doing for a while, and it’s been great to see SuBLime follow suit. What’s interesting here is that after what happened to JManga it might be easier than ever to convince the Japanese publishers to agree to this model.

~Petteri