Several things to talk about today, Yen Press cancel their anthology as a magazine and take it digital. Scanlators release a war cry and set up their barricades against the Coalition, and finally, according to one publisher fan-fiction is just as evil as scanlations.
Yen Press announced some time ago they were moving their anthology off the newsstand and onto the website. Yet information beyond that was scarce on the ground with no revelations on formatting or costs, until now.
Now I find myself thinking: “For f**k sake, can’t they do anything right?’”. As a brit getting hold of Yen Plus was a nightmare at the best of times, so you would think moving to a digital format would make things a lot easier. Well, it doesn’t, the way they’re doing it is the worst way possible.
On the face of it it’s a nifty system, using a flash interface to deliver the anthology for a small fee of $2.99 a month (about £1.92). Like a lot of people I got happy over this, thinking I could get the best of both worlds. Get my anthology every month, and get it all tucked away nice and tidily. Sadly due to the way they’re doing it, that wont be the case. In fact your monthly subscription buys you next to nothing. Sure you get access to the issue, however they stated that they’ll only be keeping two months of issues. The current issue, and the previous issue.
This is a half arsed attempt at digital distribution, just like the original magazine distribution attempt was half arsed.
A better way to have set it up would be to charge a larger fee, and then allow members access to the issues they have paid for; regardless of the time that’s passed. Currently there are three titles running in the anthology that I only read because they’re in there, and wouldn’t buy as a manga. In it’s current format Yen Press are taking away the choice of their readers of whether to buy or not to buy.
Will I be one of those that buys a subscription? More than likely, since Yen Plus does carry a number of titles I love to read. And they do get points for at least using a decent payment service, PayPal, rather than trying to set up their own card billing.
With the demise of of One Manga some bizarre things have been going on in scanlator land. Many of the scanlators have been taking One Manga’s side and condemning the Coalition for heavy handedness. What’s more a lot of the people saying this are those who only a few weeks ago were crying over the fact that One Manga carried their releases, despite being asked not to.
Many of them now see the Coalition as being the RIAA of the manga world and are vowing to do what ever they have to do to win. They’re taking their blogs to private subscriber only, and turning off search bots. Which I have to admit made me laugh, since most of these have been around for years and you can’t make years of data just disappear.
Frankly I don’t see the problem with killing off sites like One Manga, who frankly flaunted their actions in front of everyone and are now surprised they got busted. Sure it has a lot of unlicensed material on it, but it also had a lot of direct scans from licensed releases as well. Several times I was surprised to see Viz or Del Rey credit pages, as well as warnings against illegal distribution.
These sites also generated huge monies from ads, donations and/or subscriptions. When you’ve got sites like this it’s only a matter of time till the publishers take action. I actually expected this sort of action to happen years ago.
Finally, we get the one that I personally found the funniest, and the hardest to understand.
While talking on twitter with @Yuricon the publisher of Yuri manga, we got onto the subject of fan fiction. I’m a very pro fan-fic person, having written loads myself over the years (all of it bad hehe). My school as a kid used fan-fic as a way to get us interested in english. Rather than using the classic plays and stuff we got to use books and comics we loved, and work up from there. In fact the very first bit of fan-fic I ever wrote was my english homework, based on the Beano comic, a Denis the Menace & Gnasha story. I loved writing it, then going over it with my teacher and learning where my mistakes were.
According to Yuricon, I’m a hypocrite (she seems to love calling me that) because I hate blog scrapers, and people who cut and paste my work without crediting it, but am pro fan-fic. Thankfully she’s in the minority, with many authors actually espousing fan fiction. Whedon, creator of Buffy, went on the record as actually telling fans to make and read fan fiction of Buffy and Angel, as have many other authors. Rowling, creator of Harry Potter has also stated she doesn’t mind fan fiction, with the exception of the erotic kind that did the rounds for a while.
In fact only a bare handful of authors have said they’re anti fan-fic, and most of those had valid reasons. For example Fiest, one of my favourite authors, doesn’t like fan-fic of his Rift War series. The reason being the series is still ongoing and he wants to avoid accusations that any new work is actually stolen from someone’s fan-fic.
I had the pleasure of meeting David Gemmell, another favourite author of mine, and he was very pro fan fiction as well.
For me, it comes down to the intent of the writing, if someone is writing a piece of fan-fic because they loved the original and wanted the story to carry on, that’s fine and dandy, go have fun. If you’re out to write a piece to make money off it, then you’re crossing the line and you deserve anything and everything that happens to you.