Earlier in the week, scanlation website One Manga announced it would be removing all scanlated content from its pages due to increasing disapproval from manga publishers. Upon visiting the site — you might have to clear your browser’s cookies first — the notice pictured above appears.
Here’s the relevant portion of the text:
“It pains me to announce that this is the last week of manga reading on One Manga (!!). Manga publishers have recently changed their stance on manga scanlations and made it clear that they no longer approve of it. We have decided to abide by their wishes, and remove all manga content (regardless of licensing status) from the site. The removal of content will happen gradually (so you can at least finish some of the outstanding reading you have), but we expect all content to be gone by early next week (RIP OM July 2010).”
One Manga’s closure is the latest development in a long-running rivalry between publishers and “scanlation aggregators” — sites that are classified by publishers as profit-based ventures that offer manga to their readers for free. Last month, a coalition of publishers — both American and Japanese — was formed to combat the rise of sites such as One Manga and Manga Fox.
While certain sites have resisted the pressure to an extent, the results of the coalition’s labour do appear to be taking effect.
Meanwhile, publishers are making their own strides into the realm of digital distribution, each in their own ways. While Tokyopop have teamed up with digital reading service, Zinio, to make digital copies of their books available for download, Digital Manga Publishing hope, instead, to work with scanlators and help them distribute their work legally.
Similarly, the scanlation site formerly known as MangaHelpers now goes by the name OpenManga, and, too, is attempting to develop a platform on which manga-ka (and interested publishers) can work directly and legally with scanlators and translators to provide manga digitally to a global audience.
So widespread is the move to digital that new publishing outfit, Manga Factory, formed by former Aurora Publishing staff, have announced that they will aggressively pursue digital content publishing right out of the gate.
And last but not least, as recently as two days ago, videogame publisher, Square Enix — known for being one of the larger manga publishers in Japan — announced the opening of their own digital manga store this Fall in North America and France. Square Enix’s store will begin by offering existing translated versions of manga that they serialize in Japan (such as Fullmetal Alchemist and Soul Eater), published by local companies such as Viz.