AintItCoolNews has posted some Yotsuba&! news--nothing about a definitive release date for volume 6, but they're featuring a Q-and-A session with Chris Oarr, the sales and marketing representative of ADV. To my intense irritation, the interviewer and Mr. Oarr piously discuss "manga piracy" and its impact on book sales:
SG: I knew comics and manga were pirated online, but my sense was that it was to a lesser degree than anime or other media. I also thought Cromartie High School, Yotsuba and Gunslinger Girl were not as extensively pirated as other manga.

My gage for testing the extent of the issue for a particular title is to run a few obvious Google searches. In this case, I didn't even have to execute the search because the autocomplete suggesting search queries included:

"yotsuba online"

"yotsuba download"

"yotsuba read online"

By your estimation, what is the effect of this piracy on your ability to release these titles? Similarly, if this piracy went away, how much of that would convert into sales versus people who would simply do something else and not read Yotsuba&! if they had to make the effort and investment to obtain a physical copy?

CO: Anime piracy is higher profile, because the material is easily digitized and essentially you just have to hit some buttons to put it online. But you’re right: Comics and manga piracy is growing along with screen sizes. I wish that weren’t the case, but I don’t have the solution. I’d hate to speculate how exactly piracy [impacts] book sales.
Well, I hate to speculate about how INCOMPETENT PUBLISHERS impact book sales.

I would totally pay for the next volume of Yotsuba&!--if ADV would publish it. Manga is EXPENSIVE, and I have already invested fifty dollars in this series, but I am perfectly willing to buy the rest of the volumes as soon as they become available. However, I will continue to read the new chapters online in the meanwhile, because I don't like getting emotionally and financially invested in a series and then being cut off without warning because the publisher puts it on indefinite hiatus.

You can buy the original Japanese and Korean manga/manhwa volumes for about five dollars. The English translations cost twice that amount. I understand that translation and licensing costs money, and I don't begrudge English-language publishers a decent profit (well, not much, anyway), but they have to understand that readers--frequently young, poor readers--are investing a LOT of their hard-earned spare cash into these series, and the market can only bear so many dead-end projects.
Posted by: Julianka


03 Jun, 2008 10:07 PM @ version 0

You can buy Japanese-to-Chinese and Korean-to-Chinese (and vice-versa) translated tankubon really cheaply too. ($4.95 at Kinokuniya bookstores.) I think English publishers are the only ones that charge double the amount.

the angry carrot
the angry carrot
04 Jun, 2008 12:40 AM @ version 0

ADV sucks, sucks, sucks. How can they moan about 'piracy', and then fail to PRODUCE anything?!? If you license a series--particularly a series and popular and critically praised as "Yotsuba&!"--then you owe it to your readers and the original author to finish it. Lots of people think scanlated manga takes money away from the original authors, but it's not like Kiyohiko Azuma is making any money off of a series that ADV isn't actually publishing, you know?

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