The future of YEN PLUS

Change is on the horizon for YEN PLUS! For the past two years, everyone at Yen has been working diligently to bring you the most diverse manga anthology in the market, and I could not be prouder of the publication that our staff has produced or more gratified by all of the fan support that we’ve received since the magazine launched in August of 2008. Thanks to you all!! We have introduced so many great new series to the market through Yen Plus – the manga adaptation of James Patterson’s MAXIMUM RIDE, Yen’s first #1 New York Times bestseller BLACK BUTLER, Svetlana Chmakova’s critically acclaimed NIGHTSCHOOL, one of my personal favorites PIG BRIDE (that last chapter is AWESOME!)…there are just too many to list them all! As with all things, though, change is inevitable. As the magazine industry changes and old models are eclipsed by new, so, too, must YEN PLUS change, and it is with that in mind that I can announce officially that the July 2010 issue of YEN PLUS will be its last in print.

Now before you despair too much, take a deep breath and focus on those last two words: “in print.” Yes, the print magazine will be no more, but YEN PLUS will live on as an online manga anthology! As such, it will have the ability to reach more readers than ever before while giving those same readers an option to peruse manga (and maybe some light novels?) legitimately online. Will there be other changes? Most definitely. You can expect to see content changes which we will announce when the time is right. Our commitment, however, is to keep bringing you the best and most diverse anthology experience every month.

So this is just your official head’s up that a new era for YEN PLUS is in the works. Details about our online launch, new content, etc. are all forthcoming. For those of you with subscriptions to the print version of the magazine, you will be receiving a full refund for any outstanding issues of your subscription beyond the July issue. We sincerely hope that you will opt to reinvest some of those funds back into the magazine’s new incarnation!

We want to thank everyone for their support of YEN PLUS these past two years and hope that you will continue to enjoy the magazine’s new digital iteration!

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    Jack Hall

    @ Iduno

    Sorry if I was condescending, I suppose I might have let my fervor on the subject run too freely.

    When it comes to translations, I agree that it seems like a tremendous wait between volumes. That being said, however, I’m not sure anyone outside the industry really understands the process enough to really talk critically about it. I only speak English; who am I to criticize how long it takes a translator to come up with a well-polished English version complete with cultural references and language-specific wordplay jokes? Or the guy who fits the English text into the actual pages? Or the printer who has to print and bind fifty thousand copies? And so on and so forth, you get my point. It only seems like a long time to the end consumer because all we do is pick it up from the bookstore shelf.

    True, the manga companies have failed to listen to their customers on occasions. All companies do that sometimes. People screw up. All told, however, I think manga companies do a better job than many industries at staying in touch with their customers. They didn’t have to make any response at all to complaints about the cover, you know. A lot of companies would have said, “Well, not long ago you liked the cover well enough to buy it, so just keep your buyer’s remorse to yourselves.”

    Bad distribution? When you’re right, you’re right. I did see a copy of Kieli once a long time ago. Hasn’t happened since. Although given how easily the light novels can be ordered online, I question if that’s an excuse for scanlations.

    Censorship? Again, I can only stand in agreement. If a property’s been censored, that’s all I need to hear–time to move on, nothing to see here, folks.

    As for Yen Plus going online, you know all those things you just mentioned? EXACTLY! THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I HATE! Every one of those things! I hate them all! That’s why I’m so pissed off! GRRRRR!!!

    I don’t question that scanlations play a roll in introducing people to manga. What I question is your assumption about the ratio of people who actually buy the books as opposed to the people who just download everything they ever wanted and never look back. Just so you know, no, all the manga advertising in America isn’t worth a tinker’s dam. If they did, scanlations wouldn’t even have that much redeeming value. Even as it is, I still say scanlations cause more financial loss than gain.


    I’m disabled to the point that the Seattle library actually brings me a box or two of books every month because I’m too sick to go there often. Most of it is manga.

    However, though it was available at the library, I have eagerly bought Yen+ every month and even fought to keep it at the magazine store around the block when their distributor falsely claimed last year that you’d gone under. I succeeded but bought a subscription anyway.

    With a heavy heart, I’ll try to support you in this new incarnation–but only if you also support me. You MUST make this format disability-accessible *from the start*.

    Using the mouse is painful for people like me. Your new magazine must be entirely accessible by keyboard commands as well as mousing. On the other hand, if you convert the manga text to pixels, screen readers for the blind AFAIK won’t be able to read it. Something like the Descriptive Video Service for movies for the blind would be helpful:

    That will have to do for now. Please, please don’t treat the disabled community as an afterthought. Besides, the inclusive functions we need can make the online experience smoother for other customers as well.


    REALLY?! I got a subscription for Christmas, but it was all sent to my old address (Not even forwarded to me!!!)… ALL EXCEPT THE “WE’RE ENDING” NOTICE! And when I tried to call for help, THE NUMBER DIDN’T WORK!!! I mean, what the heck?!?! And I’m now gonna need a NEW subscription for online?! I’m hurt… =T.T=
    But if you must, if we subscribe online, will we be able to print pages and stories out?
    Thank you,


    I just put Black Butler into mine tobuy? list.To be honest i buy only tiles what i read online bc i dont want waist mine money, i wanna be sure that series are worth to be on mine bookshelf / i have more that 5000 books / i dont buy pig in sack.All mine manga reading started from online reading and i have hooked many mine friends, we all are working adults and we buy what we like.
    I dont buy magazines and i dont read them online – only books what i can buy.
    I dont live in us, so how i can read now Black Butler to end? How i know does end volumes satisfies me? And wait nearly 2 years to get know? Its crazy. Somebody was posting that complaint about slownes is maybe unfair – no its not.It is digital era and when illegal scanlators can do it with very high quality nearly in days – this is possible do officialy too. So 2 month per volume is reasonable time.
    Anyway i think i buy BB but not before all volums are out bc publishers have bad habit drop series in middle.
    And about this online thing, i think all this is not well planned out.Idea is ok but ….you even dont have forum, bookmarking, library list with search a.s.o.
    Best thing what i can sugest – make deal with OpenManga – its not illegal onlinereading site, just google and find out. This way you can rise on new level without messing ups and failure.

    Why manga is niche in the West

    There’s someone who said earlier that manga is niche, because even Naruto doesn’t even sell 500,000 copies, while Harry Potter sells million of copies per volumes.

    Firstly, Harry Potter is only 7 volumes long, while Naruto has been going on for 50 volumes, and is still not finished. The cost to acquire the entirety of the series vastly dwarfs that for Harry Potter.

    Is really any wonder that Naruto’s sales are far from HP’s?

    Secondly, you have to know that manga in the US is on average at least 2 to 3 times more expensive than in Japan. The manga volumes published in Japan have a smaller trim size than the US ones.

    The manga published in the Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat lines is sold for 4 bucks in Japan. The same is true of all shounen and shoujo manga. And that’s for new manga, you can buy used manga for 1 bucks or 50 cents a volume.

    The kids with a 20 bucks allowance per month can buy 2 manga in the US, while in Japan they can buy 4. That’s a huuuge difference. And all the big manga anthologies cost 2 to 5 bucks per issue, with more than 450 pages, sometimes up to a 1000 pages. A single issue of the Japanese Shounen Jump serializes something like 15 series, 4 panels manga, and short stories while in the American one there’s only 5 or 6 series, even though the page count is only a hundred pages less than the Japanese edition. They run several chapters of the same series at the same time which is really stupid. So the satisfaction level is much higher when you read a Japanese anthology, because there is a bigger variety of content. So far, Yen Press is the closest to Japanese anthologies, except they don’t run short stories and yonkoma, which is one of the cool things about Japanese anthologies, which really are kind of a manga buffet where you can try all kinds of different foods.

    So there’s less variety for the price, which is very bad, because the more there are series in an antho, the higher the chance people will find several series they like, which will make them want to continue buying it.

    Conclusion, manga is really inexpensive in Japan.

    As long as manga is that expensive in the US, it will stay niche.

    If publishers want to expand the market, prices must be lowered even more.

    Why manga is niche in the West

    Cut down the trim size and print at the same dimensions as Japanese publishers do. This will save on paper and allow to cut prices. Collected volumes are supposed to be small and fit into your pocket. There is no need to try and emulate comic book sizes. This will make the mangas look better too, because often US manga publishers scan the Japanese collected volumes, which are printed at a smaller size, then they blow up the scans, and print at a bigger size. Which is why US published manga often has lower printing quality compared to Japanese ones.

    They also should put out inexpensive anthologies, with a similar page count and number of series to the Japanese ones.Or else the market will stay a specialty one.

    Scanlations are filling a void, they replace anthologies, allowing readers starved for the next chapter to read. Publishers should get rid of scanlation sites, but at the same time they should put out their own inexpensive anthologies.

    They should also focus on the usually ignored young children’s market to bring up a new generation of readers. Bring over stuff like Doraemon, Chibi Maruko-chan, and run it in cheap anthologies targeted to little kids. Put the anime on TV too. Then watch as those kids will switch over to shoujo and shounen when they’re teens and so on.

    The way the Japanese publishers manage to run so many cheap manga anthologies is that usually, the price is set very low, so low there’s not much profit in the sales of anthologies. But they get plenty of money once the collected volumes go on sale.

    Publishers should try this in the US too. Use the same cheap paper as in Japan (anthologies aren’t supposed to be collection objects).
    Put out a 3 bucks 450 pages anthology, with 10 to 15 serials, short stories and 4 panels manga. There should be at least one flagship title, preferably with an anime aired on TV, to attract readers, like Viz and Shonen Jump.

    Shojo Beat failed because it had not flagship title with an anime airing on TV.

    What Viz should have done instead, is launch an anthology targeted at little girls instead of older teens like Shojo Beat, because it’s easier to convince little kids to read comics, while teens already have preconceived ideas that comic books are for little kids and nerds. They should get readers young, and keep them, like in Japan.

    Next, push hard to get properties aimed at little girls on TV stations watched mostly by little girls like Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. Something like Kirarin Revolution for example. And advertise the hell out of the magazine, offering goodies with it like Shonen Jump to lure in kids. And watch sales take off, and a new generation of readers get born. Then, a few years later, launch a magazine aimed at jr. high school girls. Then, high school ones and so on. Do the same strategy with shounen, there should be a magazine for a younger target than shounen jump and older target too.

    Publishers focus too much on teenage manga readers. The key is in the kid’s market (again, kids will read comic books readily, if you get them used to buy comics, and tell them comic books are OK to continue to read, you’ll keep them reading for a long time)

    A bonus is that little kids’ series usually aren’t scanlated, and most little kids don’t go on scanlation websites, so there will less loss of sales.

    Anthologies are the key behind the huge manga market in Japan. If Western publishers don’t manage to publish a sufficient number of anthologies the manga market won’t change much.


    I think Yen Press really fudged up with the whole Twilight manga.

    If the manga had ran in Yen + before being published, imagine how many Twitards would have bought the magazine just to get their fix of sparkly vampires!!! Then they might have liked some of the other manga…

    This would have turned many of them into manga readers…

    And seriously Yen +, according to wikipedia had a circulation of 100,000 copies per issues. Do you realize there are plenty of anthologiess in Japan with lower circulation, yet they still run? Two examples on the top of my head: Ikki has a 10,000 copies circulation, while Asuka has a 30,000 copies circulation.

    Seriously, 100,000 copies circulation isn’t that bad, it’s more than decent.

    I think moving the magazine online is a poor decision, you will reach a much smaller audience. Ebooks and that kind of thing are not that popular yet. Especially with younger audiences. How many teens do you think will be able to convince their parents to let them use their credit cards?

    Jack Hall

    Hey, I never really noticed it until now, but good advice makes sort of a clinking sound when it bounces off deaf ears. Who knew!?!

    Roseanne Richlin

    I would like to say thanks for the efforts you have made writing this post. You’ve enlightening for me. I’ve forwarded this to a friend of mine.

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