I wish I have something to add to JManga’s last announcement, but I don’t. It’s the imagine conjured up in my mind whenever Japan tries to innovate regarding media. Which is to say, yeah, as much as I love you for trying, you guys just got that proverbial long ways to go left to go. I hope the people who were working for JManga find a nice landing place. I also hope I get to read all the stuff I bought off JManga but didn’t finish reading yet, before they cut the cord.
The saying also goes “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” I think we’re pretty much stuck at that stage of the game when it comes to new media. You have to execute. In fact just willingness of these big corporate dudes in playing the game, as another saying goes, is just half of the battle. It feels none of the execs or corporate bodies on the list of controlling entities are known for innovation. Manga publishing? Hah. Maybe you could point and say it’s in the DNA.
It takes an incredibly different mindset to be able to serve the world beyond Japan’s borders, and the truth is nobody over there has proven this is something possible domestically. It’s not that they are incompetent, but it seems like they just don’t get it.
I’m also tired of this naysaying. So instead let’s see what JManga did right after all. It’ll help me switch gears from whining about Google’s decision to kill Reader.
- Open up the service more like a title library than a catalog – They listed a bunch of stuff they didn’t translate, but were possibilities. It’s a nice touch.
- Bring over guests to cons – You do this, you’re all right in my book–it’s about connecting fans with creators.
- Mobile apps – They eventually had this, and it’s increasingly a must for new media to cater to relevant platforms.
- Regular communication – For the most part they’re pretty okay at this.
- Sales – It’s nice to have. Especially periodically and at first.
- High definition images – They exist, although it could be better, it’s good enough.
- Translation options – It’s good to have the option to read in raw and in English or any other language available.
…and I’m spent. Fact is I just haven’t used it much. Certainly not enough to really get to know the service–as much as you can after reading a couple volumes and browsing for a while. The downsides and things it got wrong held me back. And that’s the temptation–for every one thing it did right I can probably name 2-3 things it did badly or wrongly. It’s so easy. I remember when JManga launched in 2010 I sent feedback to them about their point system, and in some ways they never outgrew that. Maybe they were doomed from the start.