The Digital Manga Guild: A Cure for Piracy?

Posted by Linda Yau on Mar 3, 2011 in Comic Books |


Piracy is an issue that plagues most of media entertainment on the net. In manga publishing, piracy is known as scanlations, and with the boom of digital publishing becoming more popular, a viable solution must be found soon. Recently the tweets of two mangaka creators (Ken Akamatsu & Kazumi Tojo) were translated about their feelings on the issue against internet manga piracy. This all boils down to the issue of are there viable solutions and attempts being done?

Digital Manga Guild is a solution that Digital Manga Publishing came up with last year, as a way to link fans, scanlators, creators and digital publishing. As a manga publisher Digital Manga has been releasing manga, or novels under several publishing imprints. DMP, Juné, DokiDoki, and 801Media. DMP is for their general manga releases, with Hellsing, Trigun, and Antique Bakery as examples of what past English adaptations. The other three imprints I have mention are Digital Manga boys love publishing imprints varying by degrees of how explicit a story could be.


The purpose of this Digital Manga Guild is for people to work on translating, editing and eventually release manga to be sold digitally. With how broad the digital market is, there are more opportunities and formats. Anyone working on a project that is successful will be given a reasonable percentage.

Digital Manga Guild calls for participation from editors, typesetters, and translators. Interested individuals take a localization test at the DMG website, the image above is a screencap of the website. Upon passing that exam, the website prompted people to go and view the forum.

dmg forum

From there, join or form a group with three positions qualifying for what the advertised positions DMG asked for. Though there are individuals who past the exam, they must form a viable group, before DMP lets them get into the process of working on a project.

The current practice of licensing Japanese manga to be sold in the United States has been frustrating to publishers and readers, so possibly opportunities have been lost. This current practice is for the English publishers to produce capital as investment, even before any title is translated or sold. From that practice, only a limited amount of titles can be considered, and then what happens if this investment doesn’t have that payout as promised from factors of either lack of interest or lack of knowledge and advertisements?

Initially before this article came around, I was contemplating on interviewing Melinda Beasi, who is already posting updates about her participation in the guild as an editor, and journalist. There is plenty of excitement, and skepticism. Excitement on getting more Japanese manga legally and skepticism because worse case scenario for what happens if this is like Sony and PS3?

what's going to work

Digital Manga Guild is looking with established groups to begin working at around April, and publishing at least ten or more titles online by this summer. There is a goal to have at least 1000 books available by the end of this year, however the publishing company is realistic enough to confess that the Guild will most likely not make that goal. Scanlation is definitely not a means to help publishing, but with this guild, this is a slow beginning on getting the opportunity to read the countless publications that never made it in English. For manga readers, is this a good solution to consider?

Linda Yau is a fan of Japanese culture, and various anime/manga titles. She writes for other online publications under animemiz. Her main blog is here and she has Twitter.


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