In the wake of the announcement of an anti-piracy coalition of US and Japanese publishers followed by several major manga scanlation sites deciding to pull their unauthorized scanned/translated comics content from their online archives, more than a few fans have asked, "Why aren't publishers going after libraries? Aren't libraries also letting anyone read manga for free too?"
Okay, I've heard some interesting perspectives on the whole pros & cons of online manga scanlation sites, but this particular argument? This one is pure nonsense. So rather than me huffing and puffing trying to explain this, I decided to call in an expert -- a real, actual librarian who likes, reads and stocks her library with lots of manga, and has blogged and written books about it too.
Robin Brenner, the editor of No Flying No Tights, contributor to Good Comics for Kids and Early Word and author of the Eisner Award-nominated Understanding Manga and Anime kindly agreed to drop a little (library) science to explain why borrowing and reading manga from a library is totally not the same as reading pirated scanlations online. Here's her four reasons why libraries are NOT the same as manga scanlation sites.
In her essay, Robin also points out that if your library doesn't currently have a good selection of manga, then ask for it! If your local librarian isn't hip to the manga tip, give him/her a list of your top 10 must-have titles that should be in the collection.
I threw it out there on Twitter this question: What are your picks for the top 10 manga titles that every library should have on their shelves? So far I've gotten a terrific selection of thoughtful choices -- but it'd be great to have more! Add your recommendations below and I'll compile them in a list that I'll post later this week.
Image credit: Photo courtesy of Robin Brenner