In an odd coincidence, the coalition of Japanese manga publishers who banded together last year to fight scanlations has also released the promotional site JManga.com, aimed at offering mostly free but limited access to Japanese manga.
Free and easy access to scanlated manga sites and illegal manga download services has hurt the sales of manga in the US — from USD 210M in 2007 to just USD 115M today. VizManga aims to lure the scanlation market to making legit downloads by offering up-to-date translated chapters via micro-transactions. Some chapters can be downloaded for as little as USD 3, with some promo titles available for download absolutely free. The service also has apps for both the iPad and the iPhone.
JManga on the other hand, will offer artists interviews, video-on-demand, official merchandise, and other content that scanlation sites are unable to offer. The content will be provided by five of the biggest publishers in Japan: Kodansha, Shogakukan, Shueisha, Futabasha, and Kadokawa.
The bad news is: both sites are off limits to Philippine subscribers. Yep, this is for North America only. Yep, it sucks to be us.