Why I Stopped My JManga Subscription

I read this and I immediately felt the need to write a post with this post title, and as a result this post may seem a little Pavlovian. For the record I am also not someone who really knows manga like SDS, him being more of a rare case who is doing it academically and as they say, fer reals. And he does point out one very cool use case with the translation. I just want to put in my 2c.

I was one of the braver folks who signed with JManga during their first month of existence. I kept my 1 month and in fact left the subscription going for the next. The manga selection looked amusing, at least at the time–they were promising a lot despite only a few books were available at the time. I read some of the free stuff, I browsed a handful of titles that seemed interesting, using the free sampling feature all its worth.

I think I canceled at the time simply because there weren’t that many books that I’d buy given the price points and availability. It’s like I have this balance in my head where on one side is the cost, and on the other side my maniacal attachment to a particular property. For example, I might re-up JManga if they finally publish Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya Zwei, doubly so if it happens before the anime release. Instead, like everybody I know who bought from JManga, I bought a copy of Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteru. Well, I guess then there are those who buy just the yuri and BL stuff which I typically just ignore.

The poor selection and other issues, some ongoing, doesn’t really shade JManga in my eyes as a poor or failed execution. I see it more like a continuing solution that will keep solving an ongoing problem as long as it exists. The real question is how can this solution become profitable, affluent, efficient, and effective. That is something I wish we get real criticism on, rather than the usual dead horse beating about copyright and scanalations. I mean, yes, it’s not going to replace scanlation, but it will offer a viable alternative, one which hopefully and eventually, do not require bending over backwards and dance in a circle while wearing a wooden mask, or spending tons of money on walled-garden devices, like most other digital manga alternatives out there.

And as I’ve found then and again just now, JManga still has some ways to go.

In practice there is just one major problem with JManga–it requires the kind of reading style where you’re sitting in front of a PC. With tablets being more popular today this is less of a problem (as I think iPads might be a valid alternative) but no offline mode is going to make this not viable for me most of the time. I’m not much for sitting in front of my computer and reading manga, and I read most often when I’m on the road. Second, the manga browser just can’t zoom properly on my phone (Galaxy Nexus) unless I use the desktop version of the site. It’s not a pretty browsing experience. Arguably manga isn’t meant to be read in that form factor and resolution, but so far my experience is roughly the equivalent of “this doesn’t work at all.”

I guess all I’m saying is unless you want to get cool English/Japanese text softsubbed manga, or if you’re maniacal about certain properties, there’s basically zilch reason to subscribe to JManga today. Perhaps on the basis of being legit they have some standing, if all you wanted is to read manga on your desktop or some compatible device (I’m guessing just iPads). Ironically it’s stuff like this that makes me appreciate what Crunchyroll has accomplished right out of the gate after their first year, that how their services work for the most part on just about everything relevant.

8 Responses to “Why I Stopped My JManga Subscription”

  • Konstantin

    Personally, I’ve found that in most cases even the convenience of a translation is outweighed by the inconvenience of reading manga on a screen. Hence the unliftable suitcases every time I return from Japan.

  • ToastCrust

    Yeah, I think I’ll be one of those people who adopt it for just once to grab the Ilya.

    To be fair to JManga, trying to make a service for manga’s probably a lot more difficult than anime as far as product procurement. Still, that’s no excuse for not having the mobile support out the door and working. And yeah, offline support’s pretty vital, I’d say. Especially if the official apps aren’t working well.

    That said, apparently Crunchyroll still doesn’t have new releases watchable on mobile apps for several hours. It’s not something that affects me greatly per se, but definitely something CR could do better.

    • omo

      The inability to watch mobile right after the show comes out is sad and something I run into occasionally. That is nothing compared to what’s going on in the manga scene, so I count what CR can deliver a blessing.

  • BruceMcF

    The zooming is something that I have sent multiple ideas about, and I would encourage people who find the zooming to be inadequate for their needs to use the feedback tab to send your own ideas on fixing it. The zooming works for a situation where you have a desktop PC and the position of the monitor makes it just a tad too small ~ in other words, when you only need a little bit of zooming.

    However, when you need to zoom a lot, it is a failed user interface design. For a skinnytab (I have a Nook Color, a 7″ 5:8 device rather than a 10″ 6:8 fat tab like the iPad), or for a 10″ 8:5 netbook, a couple of taps of the zoom control is nowhere near good enough. The netbook and skinnytab have screens that are substantially smaller than the big laptops and desktop game machines with big monitors that the developers obviously have.

    You have to click on the zoom something like six to eight times to get it to a readable size, and then when you hit page turn, the zoom is lost. And on the Nook Color, the flash reader control is really designed for a mouse that can hover, so with a touchscreen you often lose the controls and accidentally hit page back by mistake … resetting the zoom.

    The one exception, most of the time, are the handful of titles that have guided view. On the 7″ skinnytab screen, that works, though sometimes you have to switch from landscape to profile or profile to landscape … on the larger Even there, there are sometimes panels that need zooming … but guided view does not zoom at all!

    The problem with zoom is some people want/need fine tuning, and some people want/need to get to the right general size fast. The following fixes supports a much more usable system that fits to a variety of zooming preferences and reading styles.

    (1) There is a setting in the settings control (gear in top pop-up info line display) that locks the zoom in one-up and two-up display modes. These restore the zoom after a page turn the same as it was before the page turn. The top right corner is kept on screen if it was going to be pushed off screen by the zoom.

    Zoom lock does not apply to the guided view: when there is guided view info present, it works by resetting the zoom to put the full panel on the screen. The rest of the system improves zooming support for guided view as well as two-up and one-up modes.

    (2) The control zone (currently next page and precious page) are limited to the “middle half” of the screen, top to bottom. This eliminates “accidental” page turns when using the pop-over controls in the bottom right or top of the screen, and is critical for comfortably supporting pan and scan when zoomed on touch screens. It also eliminates accidentally turning the page on a touchscreen when aiming for the pop-over displays at bottom right or across the top of the screen.

    (3) Split the control zone into three zones. The left and right zones page turn, as now, the middle zone toggles through three zoom levels.

    (4) The three zoom levels for the on-screen zoom control are full height page/panel, full width page/panel, and 100% zoom. These are sorted in order from smallest zoom to largest zoom, which lets the viewer adapt flexibly to a very wide range of different screen dimensions, in either portrait or landscape modes.

  • JManga

    It’s true that we have a ways to go, and have for a while, though we continue to work on improving user experience in several key areas: pricing structure, content, and accessibility being three of these. Over the months since launch, we have made a number of changes due to recommendations of our customers, and many more will be rolled out this summer – among these hopefully being the mobile Apps, some changes to the pricing plan to make things much more straightforward (and much less confusing), and much more variety in content. One change is coming next week, though I am not permitted to disclose which it is – only that it is one long coming.

    Thank you for taking the time to lay out your frustrations and concerns with our service in this blog post, and we apologize for the delay in meaningful response. The criticism is noted and appreciated, for only with feedback can we improve the quality of the site to make JManga the best it cn possibly be.

    • omo

      I appreciate you taking the time to read about what I had to say. I recognize you guys are doing what you can to improve the service.

      Hopefully you not only get that zoom issue figured out (if an app is necessary that’s fine by me), but also release Fate/kaleid liner sooner ;)

  • Jaqueline

    Respectable internet site with useable info.

    I did not have many results concerning “abc” when I
    looked around for it and here internet site I have all the info
    i searched for! Thank you a 1000 times! -Jaqueline

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.