Japanese manga is growing in popularity, with popular series such as My Hero Academia and Black Clover being a common topic of conversation between their print and animated incarnations.
However, a large percentage of people consuming these products are stealing them, thanks to people uploading illegally obtained, free copies onto the internet.
“To give [an] idea of how much [piracy has] impacted the manga industry, a report from The Japan Times said that one of the most notorious manga piracy sites was the 25th most-visited website in Japan, drawing in more than 174 million readers in March 2018. Financial damage to the manga [industry] was estimated at ¥50 billion, or $443 million,” states Joseph Knoop, writing for The Daily Dot.
“Shonen Jump, the publisher of the most popular manga
properties in the world, is trying to combat
[piracy] by making its
products more accessible, and incredibly affordable.”
Shonen Jump, the publisher of the most popular manga properties in the world, is trying to combat this issue by making its products more accessible, and incredibly affordable.
Previously, in collaboration with the company’s primary international distributor, Viz, new chapters of the most popular Shonen Jump series would be collected into a digital magazine, released weekly.
Customers could either pay-per-issue for about a dollar each, monthly for about $3, or annually for about $45. However, this method of distribution failed to be as simple or valuable as what illegal distributors were offering.
In response, Shonen Jump recently changed its game plan, and it is a significant step in the right direction. The company no longer publishes a weekly magazine, but instead offers an extensive library of complete and ongoing series for on-demand reading, with new chapters posted weekly, just a few days after they are published in Japan. And the kicker? It’s only $2 a month. Compare this to Marvel’s on-demand comic subscription, Marvel Unlimited, which goes for $10 a month, and Shonen Jump’s service is an unbelievable value.
For the longest time, fans of manga outside of Japan had to wait upwards of a year for volume releases. Beyond reading chapters illegally, or waiting years for official volume releases, it was basically impossible to quickly get caught up with an ongoing series. Even Shonen Jump’s previous digital magazine made little sense, as they published the latest chapters, but with volume releases being so far behind, there was no easy way to get caught up and gain the ability to keep up with a series weekly.
Shonen Jump’s new service completely fixes this issue, and hopefully signals a better manga-reading experience for fans across the board.