Hikaru Sasahara, president of Digital Manga Publishing (Berserk), revealed, this week, to Anime News Network, a new venture his company is planning, by which fans will be able to provide their scanlations online, and these would then be distributed legally with the permission of the original copyright holders.
If that sounds ambitious, it’s because it is. DMP plan to launch over 1,000 series digitally through this initiative. Initial titles will fall squarely into the “boys love” genre, in order to help build up an audience and an appetite for further content. The venture could even expand to include digital novels, according to Sasahara. Profits from digital sales will then be divided up amongst translators (it isn’t made clear if it’s just translators or the entire scanlation “team”), the original copyright holders and DMP. Additionally, titles that perform well digitally will be considered for print-publishing.
Sasahara claims that this new venture has been in planning for over a year, and that “a few” anonymous (of of now) content providers have agreed to participate. He also suggested the possibility of inviting scanlators to DMP’s office — at the company’s expense — to view a presentation of the program.
While the success of DMP’s new program remains to be seen, it certainly has the potential to be a single solution to the several problems the manga industry is presently faced with, including piracy, the cost of printing and the cost of maintaining a fulltime staff. The largest hurdle will probably involve negotiating with the respective original copyright holders in Japan.