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Why Libraries Are Not The Same As Manga Scanlations: 4 Reasons

By August 12, 2010

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Robin BrenneIn 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


August 12, 2010 at 10:34 am
(1) Aaron says:

A question I have is would the arguments used in defense of libraries also be applicable in some way to used book stores? There’s a lot of stuff I have bought that’s been out of print for years and the only way I can get it is through used book stores online. I have had friends who are defenders of Scanlations say that it’s pretty much the same thing but I don’t know how to respond.

As far as choices for Manga here’s my top 10 (in no particular order).

#1. Kimi ni Todoke
#2. InuYasha
#3. Azumnaga Daioh
#4. Fushigi Yugi
#5. Sugar Sugar Rune
#6. Cardcaptor Sakura
#7. Peach Girl
#8. Kingyo Used Books
#9. Angelic Layer
#10. Black Butler

August 12, 2010 at 10:53 am
(2) Steve says:

This is pretty interesting. I never personally used scanlation sites just because the manga at the bookstore was enough for me. I guess I figured there was manga in libraries but I figured it might just be Death Note, Naruto and Bleach. It never occured to me there might be other titles that I’d want to read but maybe not buy off the cuff. I think I’ll go check out my library this weekend just for the heck of it. This is a great alternative for something you want to read but know you’ll probably only read once.

August 12, 2010 at 1:12 pm
(3) Kimi-Chan says:

i think libraries should reach out across all genres and age brackets with this, to get more people going to them for their manga fix. My top picks would be (no particular order):
1. Leave it to Pet (kodomo manga)
2. Yotsuba&! (all ages)
3. Gravitation
4. Itazura na Kiss
5. Black Butler
6. Vampire Hunter D
7. Taimashin: the Red Spider Exorcist
8. Cardcaptor Sakura
9. With the Light (Yen Press)
10. Let Dai (ok, its manwha..but still..)

in addition to all the bestseller list titles, of course.

August 12, 2010 at 1:13 pm
(4) Rob says:

Libraries, used book stores, letting a friend read your copy of something… none of these things are pirating and mass distribution of someone elses work without paying for it, etc. Not even close.

I would say (if these even count in terms of what you are asking)
Buddha and A Drifting Life are things all libraries should carry. I like Black Cat and Deathnote a lot. My daughter likes Fruits Basket a lot.. Our library has most of the titles Aaron mentioned in comment 1. I am for them carrying as much of a variety as they can. I read all of Buddha from our library system, and found it to be a sort of revelation.

August 12, 2010 at 1:15 pm
(5) Brad Rice says:

Hm, my top 10?

1. Monster
2. Black Jack
3. Twin Spica
4. Death Note
5. Nana
6. Kimi ni Todoke
7. Yotsuba&!
8. 20th Century Boys
9. Akira
10. Fushigi Yuugi

Obviously my tastes are a bit skewed, but I think the library is a good home for Vertical, IKKI and VizSig titles. There are a bunch of others, like Moyashimon, Ouran High School Host Club and Sundome (yeah right) that would be good additions, but I think this would be a good spread for an introduction to manga.

August 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm
(6) lvlln says:

My picks would have to be Gunslinger Girl, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and Sunshine Sketch.

August 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm
(7) Emily says:

Phew! What a hard question. Ignoring completely the fact that some of these are not licensed for distribution in the U.S. here are the ten manga I think every library should have:

Black Jack- This may be a bit bias, considering that it’s my personal favorite Tezuka work, but I feel like Tezuka gets so many things right in this manga. I suppose I should say Astro Boy but oh well.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure- Insanity at it’s finest. I also read this after reading several CLAMP manga and it was interesting to see how many influences are coming from JoJo’s.

Dragon Ball- The original, before Toriyama became fed up with writing it.

Yotsuba&!- There’s something so ridiculously irresistible about cute childish antics.

Nodame Cantabile- Romance, comedy, and two people inspiring each other to greater and greater heights.

Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei- I’m fully aware that I’m missing some of the Japanese culture in-jokes, and it’s still hilarious.

Touch- Mitsuru Adachi at his finest.

Maison Ikkoku- Rumiko Takahashi at her finest.

Magic Knight Rayearth- An overall entertaining and solid magical girl series.

Ookiku Furikabutte- Because I want it licensed in the U.S. despite knowing that that will never happen, haha.

August 12, 2010 at 1:32 pm
(8) James Leung says:

I think some of these are out-of-print…

1. Black Jack by Osamu Tezuka
2. Lone Wolf and Cub by Kazuo Koike
3. The Push Man and Other Stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
4. The Legend of Kamui by Sanpei Shirato
5. Pluto by Naoki Urasawa
6. Dr. Slump by Akira Toriyama
7. Four Shojo Stories by Keiko Nishi, Moto Hagio and Shio Satō
8. Fist of the North Star by Buronson and Hara Tetsuo
9. AX Volume 1 edited by Sean Michael Wilson
10. Ghost In The Shell by Masamune Shirow

August 12, 2010 at 1:36 pm
(9) Catherine says:

I find the question about why publishers aren’t going after libraries as strange. If that is not allowed, why have a library in the first place? What about all the literature found in libraries – old or new? Do literary book publishers have to go after libraries too?

By definition, libraries are “A place in which literary and artistic materials, such as books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, prints, records, and tapes, are kept for reading, reference, or lending.” (from http://www.thefreedictionary.com)

My top choices for manga are as followed (in no particular order):

1. Skip Beat
2. Ouran High School Host Club
3. Code Breaker
4. Slam Dunk
5. Card Captor Sakura
6. Rin-ne
7. Inuyasha
8. X 1999
9. Death Note
10. Samurai X

August 12, 2010 at 1:40 pm
(10) Emilio says:

I think a good top ten list for a library needs variety.

1.) Dragonball Z (VIZBIG) – The big bad grandaddy of all mainstream shonen. The Vizbig editions mean that there are a lot less books to get, at a lesser price! Be warned: kids WILL color the pages in.

2.) One Piece – If DBZ is the grandaddy of shonen licensed in English, OP is the one critics won’t shut up about.

3.) Lone Wolf and Cub – Good crossover title. An established gekiga that appeals to manga fans, but still has notoriety among comic fans as well.

4.) Sanctuary – A sophisticated but action-packed political thriller for adults.

5.) Banana Fish – Some modern shojo for the ladies. Fully published, which is a plus.

6.) 20th Century Boys – Hasn’t quite happened yet, but this manga has great crossover potential.

7.) Afro Samurai – An action manga for teens. Based on the anime hit that was an anime hit with people who aren’t obsessed with anime. Some cultural diversity in manga!

8.) Battle Angel Alita – An action-packed comic… starring a girl!

9.) Planetes – Manga can be quiet, too. Appealing to the sci-fi library dwellers.

10.) Buddha – Tezuka is required, and this title is probably the most well-known and critically acclaimed of all his works.

August 12, 2010 at 1:43 pm
(11) badzphoto says:

my list in no particular order:

1) From Far Away by Kyoko Hikawa
2) Bunny Drop by Yumi Unita
3) Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma
4) Paradise Kiss by Yazawa Ai
5) Baby & me by Ragawa Marimo
6) Beauty is the Beast by Tomo Matsumoto
7) Cardcaptor Sakura by Clamp
8) Dinosaur Hour by Hitoshi Shioya
9) Flower of Life by Fumi Yoshinaga
10) Gatcha gacha by Yutaka Tachibana

August 12, 2010 at 1:47 pm
(12) Sandy says:

Well I have to say Naruto even though its insanely popular but I won’t put it on the list.

In no particular order

1. Alice 19th by Yuu Watase (anything by Yuu Watase really)
2. Night School by Svetlana Chmakova
3. Shinobi Life by Shoko Conami
4. Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki
5. Ghost Hunt by Shiho Inada and Fuyumi Ono
6. Electric Daisy by Motomi Kyousuke
7. Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino
8. Kare First Love by Kaho Miyasaka
9. B.O.D.Y by Ao Mimori
10. Hana-Kimi by Hisaya Nakajo

August 12, 2010 at 1:48 pm
(13) HisuiRT says:

I think these are all smart titles while also titles that will get good circulation:

1. Maison Ikkoku
2. Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
3. Twin Spica
4. Pluto
5. Yotsuba&!
6. Kimi ni Todoke
7. Buddha
8. Kekkaishi
9. Fruits Basket
10. Here is Greenwood

August 12, 2010 at 3:24 pm
(14) Calvin Reid says:

Hey Deb! Here’s my very biased list of manga that I think should be in every library. Although they happen to also be some of my favorite manga of all time. Also I limited it to 10 so my lists is obviously missing a lot of very important manga titles. but here’s my picks:

1. Barefoot Gen by Nakazawa Keiji
2. A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
3. Ghost in the Shell by Shirow Masamune
4. Ghost in the Shell: Man-machine Interface by Shirow Masamune
5. Ghost in the Shell: Human Error Processor by Shirow Masamune
6. Ohikkoshi by Samura Hiroaki
7. Genshiken by Shimoku Kio
8. Hikaru No Go by Hotta Yumi and Obata Takeshi
9. Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture by by Ishikawa Masayuki
10.Club9 by Kobayashi Makoto

August 12, 2010 at 3:56 pm
(15) G says:

I’ll get a few parrets out of the way first…

Dragon Ball
One Piece
Maison Ikkoku
Lone Wolf and Cub
Battle Angel Alita

Now then.

Akira. People always think of the movie when they hear the title but the manga is quite probably one of the best science fiction stories laid to ink and panel.


August 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm
(16) Apple says:

It’s hard to choose only ten!! So in order to help me cull my selections, I’m going to give it a girl-power slant ;D

1. Revolutionary Girl Utena
2. Peach Girl
3. Nana
4. Paradise Kiss
5. Fruits Basket
6. Yostuba&!
7. Girl Got Game
8. Tokyo Mew Mew
9. Fushigi Yugi
10. Magic Knight Rayearth
11. Cardcaptor Sakura (…sorry, had to cheat)

(Side note: I left Sailor Moon off the list because it has been out of print for years and is insanely hard to find copies of. But should it ever come back into print, I would recommend that as well. There were other titles that I left off the list for various reasons, so the ten/eleven I did choose were very purposefully chosen.)

August 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm
(17) M says:

My favorites are

Please Save my Earth
Here is Greenwood
20th Century Boys

August 13, 2010 at 2:47 pm
(18) Andre says:

I’d have to go with-
2-King of Thorn
3-Hunter X Hunter [my fave library manga read]
6-Fushigi Yugi
7-Black Jack
8-To Terra
9- Maison Ikkoku
10-Here is Greenwood

August 13, 2010 at 2:54 pm
(19) David Welsh says:

I’ll try and stick with completed series and sort of disregard potential demographic:

Chikyu Misaki
Flower of Life
Fruits Basket
Naoki Urasawa’s Monster
Only the Ring Finger Knows
Ultra Maniac

August 13, 2010 at 4:54 pm
(20) Amanda Panda says:

1. Blade of the Immortal by Hiroaki Samura
2. Nana by Ai Yazawa
3. Godchild by Kaori Yuki
4. Ceres Celestial Legend by Yuu Watase
5. Clover by Clamp
6. Akira
7. Vampire Knight
8. Skip Beat
9. Angel Sanctuary
10. Alice 19th

August 13, 2010 at 10:37 pm
(21) P says:

There’s no particular order to these and it’s kind of hard to choose only ten

Antique Bakery
Flower of Life
Ooku, The Inner Chamber
(. . . Wah! I’m sensing a pattern.)
Silver Diamond
Cafe Kichijoji de
After School Nightmare
Alice in the Country of Hearts
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

August 14, 2010 at 4:24 am
(22) Eric says:

Robin’s explanation for the differences between library copies and scanlations still leaves me with no reason to stop downloading and viewing scanlations. Her “simple solution” if libraries don’t have a certain manga, we should ask the librarians to purchase it. What if the manga is unlicensed? What if they can’t afford to use library funds to purchase manga? I worked at a high school library for 3 years. They had to rely on student donations to purchase comics, and even then there was no guarantee that each student would get the manga he or she wanted. The comic could be too adult for them, it would be part of a series that is out of print, or be so niche as to be only read by that one student. Even when we could purchase manga, students would still wait weeks for the one or two issues of a specific manga to be brought back. And her “threat” against scanlators? Please. Even with the take downs of Mangahelpers and onemanga, I can still find up to date copies of popular manga online and free. Other than chastising the pirates for reading our online manga, she offers no alternative that has the selection and quality of online scanlations. On the other hand, libraries in my school and my county have no online selection of manga, only scarred, worn physical copies The manga world is changing. We can keep up with it or fall behind trying to desperately keep the copyright alive. The day I realized that the collection at my library was irrelevant was the day I brought out manga for the school anime club. When they were there, it turned out none of them had a copy to bring, only names of their favorite comics they had read online. Do I need to get the latest chapter from Japan? No. But I get it all the same since it is what interests me. And as long as some otaku wants that latest chapter, he’ll get it and spread it to the rest of us.

August 14, 2010 at 8:20 pm
(23) Sage says:

So the difference is that libraries are less convenient and that makes them better?

Awesome argument.

August 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm
(24) Franzeska says:

@ 1/Aaron

Buying from used bookstores doesn’t support current publishers as directly as buying new, but it does support the industry indirectly (in addition to being legal, of course):

Anything that a used bookstore can easily resell to you, they’ll be willing to buy from someone who bought it new. Lots of people buy books intending to sell them once they’re done reading them. If they can’t sell those used books to the bookstore (or to you directly), they’re less likely to buy in the first place. Even if the particular series you’re reading remains out of print, contributing to the buying and selling of manga (legally and for actual money!) does have a generally positive effect on the industry.

August 17, 2010 at 6:58 pm
(25) Nina says:

Buying from used bookstores doesn’t give any royalities back to the author or publisher, but, as noted, it is a legal way to obtain books, and there was an original purchase involved somewhere along the way. Libraries usually purchase books firsthand, including graphic novels and maga. Budgets are tough all over, but if they are already part of the collection, we try to keep buying new ones.

I’m one of the librarians in my library who purchases the graphic novels (public libray), so thanks for the lists of suggested titles! When we purchase for any collection, some basic reasons a title is bought are: 1) it’s status in the subject area, i.e. is it a classic? 2) the kinds of reviews it gets; 3) is it a popular title; 4) does it fit within the scope of the collection development policy as a whole? The last varies from library to library a bit because libraries try to reflect the people it serves.

Btw, the biggest challenge we have with budgets and graphic novels? Theft. Graphic novels — more so manga for us than American comics — “sprout legs” as we say, and with manga having so many volumes per title, we don’t have the budget to keep replacing stolen volumes. Oh, theft in my book also includes cutting out pages and panels to add to ones art collection. What you never want to happen is to get to the point where you stop buying them alltogether because you can’t afford the loss rate.

Scanlations are an interesting problem, because I think part of the problem isn’t being addressed by Japanese and US publishers. It doesn’t help encourage purchase of legal US editions when a title you’re reading is just as likely to be cancelled halfway through as not. Sales drive print runs, but too many titles I like have been cut 5, 10 volumes in that, as a personal consumer, my trust in the process has dwindled. I’m to the point where I don’t even want to buy a manga for fear that I’ll once again have wasted time and money on a title that will never be finished stateside. And yes, I’ve read scalantions to finish titles that have been cancelled here. Meanwhile, it sounds like US publishers desire to expand into digital distribution, which may help, is met by opposition by the Japanese. Until this coalition address the part of the issue that is their responsiblity, I think the crackdown will only have partial success.

August 18, 2010 at 2:09 pm
(26) BruceMcF says:

The problem of dropped titles is a fairly nasty catch-22. For most manga in the US market, the best selling titles is the first volume, and sales drop off after that. So when a volume fails to sell enough to break even, the likelihood is that all later volumes will also fail to sell enough to break even, and no publisher can afford to publisher a large number of items that fail to break even.

The dropping of series means that some in the market will wait to see if the series seems likely to be completed, but every potential buyer who waits makes it more likely that the series will not complete.

Since the break-even point for electronic editions is lower than the break-even point for a print run, and since print on demand machines are coming closer to the point of providing good quality black and white art, a more viable model that may be coming into frame is an electronic edition also available via print on demand. If the revenues of the electronic edition covers localization cost, and if a high enough quality Print on Demand can be generated automatically from the server side masters of the electronic edition, that would be a model where far fewer series would be dropped.

And, indeed, since all volumes in a long running series would be immediately available online from volume one on, and would not go out of print (the evergreen backlist), the opportunities for new readers emerging partway into a long series is much higher.

In this model, a series that started out with an expected demand to justify a print run would not go out of print if it dropped below the print run break-even … it would simply transition from a print run to Print on Demand. An individual bookstore or library that had demand for that series could keep ordering.

August 18, 2010 at 2:30 pm
(27) BruceMcF says:

@Aaron : one critical difference between a sale at a used bookstore and a scanlation is that someone buying a book from a used bookstore does not leave that same copy for someone else to buy.

Libraries are better for the market, because the patron is borrowing the volume and must give it back, so if they come across a series they like so much that they want a copy of their own, they have to go into the market.

And of course, while used bookstores might displace some sales, they cannot prevent a title from being licensed and available in the first place, as a scanlation can.

So the relative ranking of market benefit would seem to be new book buyers, libraries, used bookstores, non-commercial scanlation distribution, and commercial for-profit scanlation distribution.

There are two possible borderlines of interest: legit versus bootleg, and market building versus market destroying. For those concerned with legit vs bootleg, borderline lies between used bookstores and non-commercial scanlation distribution.

For those concerned with market building vs market destroying, the answer is less certain. Clearly, new book buyers are clearly on the market building side, and commercial for-profit scanlation distribution are proven market-destroyers, so the borderline is somewhere in the range between the two.

Library sales directly fund royalties, and library sales promote individual sales, so they are on the market building side of the line.

Which side of that line used bookstores are on ~ whether used bookstores are a net positive or negative force ~ is probably debatable, and may indeed be different for different market niches in publishing.

However, they are clearly either a stronger positive or weaker negative impact than scanlations, because of the removal of the copy when the used book is sold, where scanlation distributions simply create an unlimited number of new copies.

August 23, 2010 at 1:43 am
(28) sintralin says:

While I do agree that having public libraries is probably a good thing, I don’t think there’s an especially strong defense of the difference between the local library and an online manga hosting site, apart from the severe limitations on manga variety available.

Their first argument’s that libraries pay for the manga we can check out. What I don’t think that assumes is the fact that the original SCANLATORS buy the manga, too. And they pay for these themselves or through fan donations, not tax dollars they’re siphoning off the mostly unwitting public.

The second argument is basically that copies at the library are limited and hard to access. It seems almost paradoxical to me that that would be a reason libraries are GOOD. As Sage said, the only difference between a library and a scanlation is the convenience of access. And the difference is arbitrary in the first place–if it’s only a question of how many people can view a manga, a very large library with fast circulation and lots of visitors would arguably be “worse” for the manga industry than a small local library just because more people can get access.

And that’s not even relevant to the nature of manga HOSTING sites–many of these don’t even make manga available for download, only for viewing. I know for a fact OneManga and Mangafox don’t, yet these sites are the first ones targeted. There’s no real difference between only viewing a manga while you have internet and standing inside a bookstore to read a novel you’re not planning to buy. True, it’s easier to read things online than in a bookstore, but that again comes down to the question of access and convenience, not of the essential concept.

Third argument is that scanlations violate copyright. This is true, and that’s the law. But the reason given for why libraries don’t violate the same thing is because they pay for it. Again, so do scanlators. In fact, most scanlation groups I’ve seen make an active effort to have fans buy the manga for themselves, too. I’ve NEVER seen a library encourage guests to buy the books they like. Robin Brenner even states that she hasn’t bought a manga in YEARS, precisely because they’re available at the library. That doesn’t seem very profitable for the manga industry, in my opinion.

And here’s where the “access” issue comes back to hurt: allowing a “finite number of people” read the book and spread the word is infinitely different from letting a multitude of fans preview, read and savor a book, then decide to buy it. I feel that BUYING a manga that I read online is probably a lot more helpful to the overall industry than BORROWING a manga my friend liked at the library.

I don’t think the key word “lend” is really all that important in this context. If I want to read something online, I get on the site and read it. If I want to read a manga at the library, I go to the library and get it. The only difference is that someone might have checked out the manga before me, but sometimes I don’t have internet access. Does that even things out? I think that’s a rather difficult thing to determine, but my point is that I essentially have access to a manga at the library as often as I want, forever, as long as I’m willing to take the time and drive over to the library.

Yes, I agree that scanlations are probably violating copyright. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but to be honest, the manga companies didn’t care until recently, when they decided they wanted more profits. And that’s their right; I just don’t know that it’s worth all the scandal and trouble. People are just naturally cheap, and they like taking advantage of things. Look at all the lawsuits and uproar over illegal music sharing, and how effective that was. Now, whenever someone steals a song they just feel justified in cheating the “big greedy music company”. And I think that sentiment’s already getting stronger within the manga community.

I don’t think the fourth “difference” even qualifies as an argument. Those may be reasons why libraries are good, but it’s not a reason why scanlation sites don’t access the same advantages, or are uniquely bad.

Yes, libraries are free, but so are scanlations. I think that’s why most people use them, and what’s causing all the problems…

Improving the manga variety is definitely a good thing, but realistically speaking the largest manga library in the world would never compare to what’s available online through hosting sites. That’s a disparity that can be alleviated but will probably never be resolved (barring shutting down all such sites, in which case the library will probably have more titles available).

Don’t get me wrong, I love my library and the concept of lending out books, and I don’t think publishers should be attacking libraries (though I also don’t think they should be going for hosting sites). But I think that’s an issue of the library’s positive reputation as a legitimate institution grounded in society’s mindset, rather than any REAL material difference between a library and a scanlation.

August 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm
(29) Ahavah says:

I am a huge manga and library addict. I go to a library at least once a week, and I obtain most of my manga through libraries. I have 4 active cards at the moment (3 different states) and I just discovered the joy of interlibrary loans.

I rarely have a problem finding the manga I want from a library, but it often takes a lot of searching and waiting, and sometimes travelling.

A peculiar thing happened recently. I noticed that my (current) library system has stopped ordering the latest volumes of some manga that they used to be very current with (such as Kekkaishi, 20th Century Boys, and Sand Chronicles). I’d chalk it up to a budget issue, but on the other hand, they have recently aquired whole sets of manga that they never used to carry! (such as all 21 volumes of NANA by Ai Yazawa, not that I’d complain about that…)

What’s going on?! Are people (like wealthy donaters) demanding that certain manga stop being purchased while other series get purchased in full? I…don’t get it.

But there are some titles that are harder to find in libraries than others, so I’ll offer a list:

1. Soul Eater–primarily because I want to check it out. But more because it’s supposed to be quite good and it’s anime adaptation is available in the U.S.

2. Hetalia, when it comes out in a month–it’s educational. Really.

3. Apothecarius Argentum–it’s my favorite shojo, it’s appropriate for tweens and well written enough for adults, and it has nifty facts about science in the notes. (Also, it needs more attention and a license rescue).

4. Slam Dunk–it made basketball popular all over Asia when it was coming out, and I can’t find it anywhere!

5. Please Save My Earth–this needs a reprint, because it’s an incredible shojo classic that I *could only find in my library*, but should be everywhere. It’s tame enough for younger teens, engaging enough for adults.

6.+Anima–another all-ages gem that gently explores issues concerning discrimination, child abuse, PTSD. Um, it’s child friendly, fun & funny (and the art’s adorable). Really!

7. The Pheonix Saga–another Tezuka masterpiece that the critics can’t stop praising…

8. Adolf–A lesser-known Tezuka masterpiece that I can’t stop praising! :D

9. Goong–Manwha should not be left out. Soapy, royal fun shojo series for teens.

10.Black Jack– Did I mention how much I love Tezuka? :P

And one for good luck:

Love*Com (AKA “Lovely Complex”)–The funniest shojo romance I’ve ever read. All 17 volumes are complete and in print, which is a plus that not all my other selections have!

August 26, 2010 at 8:26 am
(30) Aj says:

The argument that the scanners buy a copy that they then make available is comparable to a library buying a copy to make available might make sense if all the over 100,000 libraries in the US bought one copy and shared it for all their patrons.
But the royalties on that would not buy a single meal for the author.

August 27, 2010 at 12:01 am
(31) Caleb Dunaway says:

Economics is so confusing even I get terribly confused around this issue, and I’m in LIS school and know better. It’s just a scarcity issue anyway (one book->one copy->one reader is valuable to the publisher; one book->infinite copies->infinite readers is valueless to the publisher), but trying to follow the whole economic chain of logic beyond “word of mouth” seems far more confusing than it really should be.

I should point out (and I can’t believe only ONE PERSON has brought it up) that INTERLIBRARY LOAN IS YOUR FRIEND. Especially for weird, obtuse, and out-of-print manga. It is literally like having EVERY LIBRARY IN THE COUNTRY at your fingertips. If the book exists in the ILL network of your local library, most likely they can get it for you.

I have no idea why public libraries love to hide their ILL services, other than the costs it incurs.

Also: if you have unwanted manga lying around, donate it! Especially if it’s something uberpopular, because manga is terribly bound for heavy library use and the popular titles wear out very quickly, unless they’ve been reinforced.

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