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Shuho Sato on the decision to publish on-line

Say Hello to Black Jack’s Shuho Sato is known as one of the most innovative authors in the manga world as far as digital distribuiton is concerned. You may be aware that the mangaka and the manga publishers in Japan are quite conservative about digital contents. The mobile phone market has had a great success un Japan, as many Japanese commute and spend hours in the trains, so reading manga through the phone is a bless to them. One of the most successful genres for mobile phone manga contents, however, has been porn and erotic stories, especially aimed to women. They won’t go into a store to buy a book of this kind, but they will download the contents in their privacy.

“Normal” manga, however, are not so popular on mobile phones. I’m sure that this has to be with the huge availability of them in Japan: they are ubiquitous. You can buy manga almost everywhere, even online (you receive your order from Amazon Japan in 24-48 hours, free of postal charges, in any Japanese city or village, even Saturdays and Sundays) you have dirt-cheap editions sold in 24-hour convenience stores, you have all-you-can-read, very reasonable hourly price manga kissa (manga cafes), and many more options to read the good-old-paper manga. So, where is the need to go and download those same stories that are so readily available almost everywhere?

I think this is one of the reasons why Japanese publishers have not been so eager to digitally sell their comics. True enough, there are a number of companies and options out there and you can already buy quite a lot of digital manga, but not so many for hugely popular devices such as the iPad or the Kindle. There is another problem here: mangaka can directly contact with digital publishers and sell their rights to them for a higher royalty. In this case, traditional publishers would not get any piece of the cake. Of course, they are afraid of that and I understand they are currently trying to “tie down” the authors so that in the future they will not fly away. This is another of the causes that can explain why manga is so late in entering the iPod and Kindle digital market.

There are always “rebels”, however, and Shuho Sato is one of them. He has even created his own digital manga shop MangaOnWeb, in which he not only sells his own works, but other artists’ stories too. Let’s see what he has to say about that.

And you, what do you think? You can leave your opinion as a Comment

(Also on Vimeo)

Disclaimer: I had this video prepared for a long time now and I even thought I had put it here! So you’ll see that the opening sequence is the old one. Sorry about that!

6 comments to Shuho Sato on the decision to publish on-line

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