One of the most popular simultaneous manga reading apps is now available in French. How does it work and why does it not compete with traditional sales? Decryption.
Very popular cultural products, manga is also one of the most pirated works. In particular, the scantrad where “fans” publish the most popular titles translated on the fly as soon as they are released in Japan. To fight against this phenomenon, the editors of sleeves were inspired by TV series by offering simultrad, namely an official version of the work translated and laid out by professionals in the target language. One of those flagship apps is Manga Plus, brought to you by Sueisha, the leading publisher of manga pre-publication magazines in Japan. She finally arrives in France for the modest sum of… zero euros.
Free reading and in chapter
To start reading, you need to download the application under iOS or Android or go to website. After creating their account, the reader chooses the languages in which they want to read their manga. If the French offer is still thin, with only eight titles (Jujutsu Kaisen, One Piece, My Hero Academia, Black Cover, Kaiju n° 8, Undead Unluck, Mashle and Mission Yokazura Family), other languages are available: English (119 titles), Spanish (68 titles), Portuguese (4 titles), Russian (11 titles), Thai (6 titles) and Malay (5 titles). The offer includes the breakdown by chapters as they appeared in Sueisha’s magazines, and not by volume (unlike albums on the market). The first three chapters are permanently available for reading, then new ones appear over the weeks, erasing the oldest ones (starting with the fourth). For titles in publication, only the last three chapters are available and for series completed and reissued in this form, they are the last six. The user can subscribe to the titles of his choice and receive an alert when news has arrived for one of them.
A showcase and an anti-pirate weapon
For readers, Manga Plus (and its sister apps like Manga.io Where Glénat Manga Max) is a solution to quietly (re) discover new and old series. It gives the reader the opportunity to get an idea of a particular title before (re) reading it in its entirety by purchasing the album in paper or digital form from their bookseller.
Not being marketed, it is promotion for our titles and not competition. It is also a way of fighting against pirate scantrad sites.
Faced with the rise of the phenomenon, a question arises: how do French-speaking publishers see this new offer? For Grégoire Helliot, editorial director of Kurokawa, “Manga Plus is a real boon in terms of distribution and notoriety for the series, but a small organizational headache to go from a classic production scheme to that of weekly production live with Japan”. He thinks that the Manga Plus model is specifically created to make readers want to buy the bound volumes and its arrival is absolutely not seen as competitive, but on the contrary as the emergence of a new communication channel..
Timothée Guédon, editor of Kana, sees this offer “Rather in a good light. Not being marketed, it is promotion for our titles and not competition. It is also a way of fighting against pirate scantrad sites ”. Satoko Inaba, manga editorial director at Glénat, affirms that there are two main interests in this approach: protecting the rights and interests of the author so that he can live from his art, and protecting the quality of the work. , by offering professional quality work. The French publisher is also present on Manga Plus, but it also has its own platform: “Glénat Manga Max is a showcase, a library where readers can come and discover our very large catalog, which has more than 30 years of history, and the site will redirect them towards sales professionals. “
A new rhythm to adopt
However, this new solution reshuffles the cards and the way of working. Timothée Guedon recognizes that simultrad is a rather complicated process, because “We have to get the chapter in Japanese, have it translated, correct it, letter it and send it back to Japan so that Shueisha can put it online. Which means to stop what we are doing to take care of it “. All while having a week of beating, where for the previous experiments of Kana on the simultrad with titles like Boruto, the pace was monthly. Especially since the work is not finished. As Satoko Inaba points out, the simultrad “Does not prevent us from reworking the translation and lettering for the bound volume edition, but we have gained in working speed and can include an additional proofreading step in case a typo has escaped us at the time of the simultrad “. A new, more sustained pace that is difficult to imagine for all the titles in the catalog, but which is bearing fruit. Timothée Guédon underlines the fact that the first results are quite encouraging: “The arrival of Manga Plus has closed scantrad sites”.