You all know I’ve been pushing for getting manga online. It’s something I believe it, and think can really succeed, but only if it’s done right. But, I’m sorry to say, Digital Manga Publishing isn’t doing it right. And it’s not because most of their “launch” titles are YAOI. DMP makes it’s bread and butter off of BL, which hopefully is what helps supports it’s non-BL line (the Vampire Hunter D manga, etc). It’s the way they’ve decided to make it available.
DMP has chosen the subscription model for digital content. You “rent” a title for 72 hours for about $4 ($3 special for launch it seems), and then, if you really like it, you can “buy” the book for another $2. In other words, on the second purchase you have unlimited views of the title. Here’s where I’ve got the problem. You have just spent $5-6 on a title, which, granted is half the print cost, but you don’t get to actually download it. It stays on their servers, and you can read it anytime, through their thoroughly annoying, flash based viewer.
All you are doing with this model is purchasing the rights to view a title for as long as the eManga servers are around. If anything happens to eManga, or even their records, you’re out of luck. This is meant to be DRM, a way to “protect” their property from being stolen. But that’s not what it’s going to do. In the long run, it’s going to hurt the honest people who buy from eManga, thinking their titles will always be there to read. Don’t think so? As Google Video users, or Yahoo Music users, or Microsoft Music users. Thousands of people bought into this strategy with these companies and eventually got screwed when the services were discontinued as the model proved not viable for the companies.
I really can’t see this model being all that tenable. Unless you are someone who doesn’t want to keep the titles, and just read them, then this might not be such a bad deal. It would be like borrowing the books from the library, or renting a movie. But you can’t think it’s going to be any more than that. Don’t go in for that second purchase. There’s nothing unlimited about it. If you really like the book enough to want to read it again and again, then buy it. But don’t get suckered into that second online buy. In the long run, It’s like throwing money away. You can control what happens to your physical copy, but you can’t control what happens to eManga or their records/servers.
I really had high hopes for DMP and eManga. I really did. I really believe in the digital model for content. But not like this. They’ve got the right idea, just the wrong way of doing it.