Site Review: Taking a peek at the new eManga.com

Posted on January 16th, 2013 by Ryu Sheng |

I’ve put off looking at the new eManga site both because it launched just before Christmas and the new year, which is family time. But also because i wanted to give them time to fix anything that may  have gone wrong.

I think it’s safe to do it now, so here we are. I’ll be up front and warn you now, I’m biased as hell when it comes to DMP, they’re probably my favourite publisher these days. And while I’ve been disappointed with the way they’ve handled their kindle editions, overall i have a very high opinion of them. So yeah, expect a lot of gushing praise, though it is deserved Open-mouthed smile

I was never keen on the colour scheme for the old eManga, i prefer dark colours. So the brightness of the old just didn’t appeal to me. That said the new colour scheme is pretty well done. It has a good mix of dark and bright, a great balance, as you can see in the screenie below:

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What really got me though is that DMP listened to their fans, the first publisher to REALLY listen to their fans, take it on board and act on it. As a result what we’ve been given is not just a re-skinned website, rather they’ve rebuilt it completely and added a few longed for (at least by me!!) features.

The main one being, downloadable content. Almost every title on the site can be downloaded for multiple formats!! DMP is the first publisher to actually do this, what’s more there doesn’t seem to be any sort of region locking, so no matter where you are you can get them. All i can say to this is YES!!!!!

There’s support for pretty much every device out there, which is great. So far I’ve only been able to test the online reader, PDF and kindle versions, as those are all i can access as i don’t have an android or apple device, so those will be what I’ll talk about.

The online reader is both a step forwards in one way, but a step back as well. The way the new reader works is significantly better, it loads quicker and feels smoother and sharper in the way it handles. I personally don’t like the page flipping animation, i find it annoying, and would honestly prefer an option to turn that off. That is part of the step back, as is the loss of control over the formatting and layout. In the previous reader you could control whether one or two pages were displayed as well as the resolution of the pages, and whether you wanted full screen panel reading. Which was a interesting feature, though not one i really used. Also missing from the new system is mouse control, i liked using the back/forward buttons on my mouse to turn pages. It was a simple thing, but it made life a lot easier. On this new system you have to manually click the next page/previous page links, or the page sides. Or you can also use the left/right arrow keys on the keyboard. Sure it’s a small thing, but it’s a feature I’ve used for many things and is second nature. Would be nice if they re-added it at some point.

The PDF’s are pretty much what you’d expect, just a collection of pages in the PDF format. I found this format frustrating to use, as they don’t really make use of the Adobe format to it’s fullest. A lot of features, such as mouse control, seem to be disabled. You can however print out the volumes if you want. This is probably the weakest of all the formats, however it is good to see it on the list.

The Kindle format is downloaded as a MOBI file, and you have to manually transfer it, not to hard and only takes a few seconds to do. I like this format, and it would be the one is used the most. However there seems to be a few minor niggles in the system. Firstly, I’ve noticed this on the few test files i downloaded, the pages seem squashed, which makes the panels look a little off. It’s not a major thing, but with some titles it can be really noticeable. Also the starting placement on some titles is wrong, so you end up starting part way through a chapter and have to make your way back to the beginning. As i said though, these are minor niggles that can, and most likely will be fixed over time.

One of the features that is most notable in it’s absence is the rental option. With the old eManga you rented the title for a period of time, and then if you rented it again it became permanent. I liked this system, since people were more likely to try out new and unknown titles if they were only paying a little to rent a title. If they liked that title they would then pay the extra to buy the title outright. Since the new system only seems to have an outright buy option, i can see there being a lot less impulse buying from people.

The purchase system needs to be handled with care, when you purchase a title you get two formats, the online eReader, and what ever format you choose to download. You can add other file types if you want them, but the system is a bit convoluted and not really explained well. If you want say three types, MOBI, Nook ePub, Apple ePub, you need to add the title to your basket, then edit the basket from one to three, then hit update. I’m not to happy on the prices being charge though. the initial volume is full priced, which is fine. However for each additional format you want you’ll be paying $3.99, which i feel is a bit steep. somewhere around $2-$2.50 would have been a better price IMO. though at the minute there is a sale going on giving you additional formats for $1, so make the most of it!!

There doesn’t seem to be a way to add additional formats later on, so make sure you get all the formats you May need right away. You can however re-download all your titles without limits. there’s no restrictions on how many times you can download your purchases.

Also worth noting is that the costs are always shown in $$, so if your like me, from the UK, you need to convert it yourself to see how much your paying, and even that’s not going to be guaranteed, since it’ll all depend on the exchange rate your bank uses. This is another fault with the system, it needs to tell you how much it’s going to be costing in your local currency.

Sadly they still haven’t implemented PayPal, which is a big problem for me, i don’t like giving my credit card details out to anyone. I like the fact that my PayPal is linked to my bank account. Having the option to pay that way gives an extra layer of security. Given that there’s a listing for PayPal in the FAQ I’m hoping it’s an indication they’re planning to add it at some point. The problem i just mentioned with the currency wouldn’t be an issue with PayPal, since it tells you both the dollar price, and the price it’s going to be taking from you in local currency. So it will say your buying XYZ for say $25, and will be charged £13 at the point of purchase, a great and essential little feature IMO.

Finally we have their implementation of hentai titles. The way they’ve done this just plain wrong IMO. The hentai stuff is plastered all over the font page at times. Given that minors will visit the site i would have though the hentai stuff would be less in your face.

Overall the new site is awesome, it’s a huge step forward, though some of the new features are questionable, and i hope some of the original features come back. It’s well done none the less, and frankly the first of what i hope will be a new wave of digital distribution. When i compare this site with the way of say Viz, it’s clear to say that eManga is the clear winner. It’s open and mostly unrestricted, compared with Viz’s closed draconian style of distribution.

Once they implement PayPal I’ve no doubt I’ll spend a lot of money here!!

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