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Manga Publisher Websites – Ally or Adversary?

Manga Publishers Websites

Websites – it goes without saying that if you’re reading this post, that you’ve seen your share. Each manga publisher has their own website and while they all stand to serve generally the same purpose, they all do it a little differently and some with more effect than others.

In this digital age, websites are for many the key indicators of a company’s status – their dependability and professionalism are all immediately measured by the upkeep of a website. When a visitor appears on a site and sees it in disarray, such as littered with errors or simply full of outdated information, it’s an immediate negative impression. Are they still publishing? Is this information accurate? Do they care their website is broken? And if a website looks poorly designed, what reason would a reader have to think otherwise of their books?

But a strong website can have multiple benefits – information about books and their availability, full control advertising over their own products and services, an indicator of the publisher’s design style and simply imbuing faith in a company’s strength and current activity.

Over the next little while, I’ll be posting my reviews of different publisher websites, a follow-up of sorts I’ve been wanting to do since my Manga Publishers and Me posts last year. In these posts I’ll be looking at different points: Visuals, where I share what I think about how they look; Usability, where I took a glance at how they work; and Online Presence, where I’ll focus on the company’s online interaction.

I know publishers’ websites mean a lot to me, and those that I find helpful, I use on a daily basis. But I’m curious – how important are manga publisher websites important to you? And if you use them, what’s the most important part? Has a shabby website ever left you hesitant to buy their books or a snazzy website given you reason to make a purchase?

Let me know what you think and you can expect my first publisher site review up tomorrow afternoon.

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Kuriousity.ca. Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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8 Responses

  1. Lien-Hua says:

    Warning: Bad English grammar. I'm sorry! ^^'

    Thank you for posting this entry, I think it brings up a very important subject, that even some publishers might have underestimated, unfortunately.

    For me, Publisher Websites are very important. A nicely designed and organized page always makes me want to check out all the titles the company publishes and eventually buy more books than I had originally planned.

    While a site that seems abandoned even by its own creators (has outdated information, errors, titles are missing, or just because the design is not very attractive) can always drive me away. I makes me think that the company doesn't respect the customers.

    Personal ranting: This is one of the reasons I don't visit Tokyopop's website anymore. I absolutely loathe everything about it. I can't even call it a "Publisher's Site". It's more like a "Horribly-Designed Fansite, for Manga & Comic Lovers".

    So when I want to know the release dates of the few Tokyopop titles I still buy, I visit Amazon instead. And when they announce new licenses I'll buy only titles I already know and like, and ignore the rest.

    I wish the old site would return.. ;_;

    • Lissa says:

      Thanks for commenting, Lien-Hua! No worries about your grammar, it was fine :)

      I agree with you that a nicely designed/organized site can promote more purchases – I make a lot of my choices based on books I see on publisher websites and how they present them to me. A site being well-tended does also show a certain level of respect for consumers I think, especially because in many cases it serves as the first impression – no one wants to receive a rude hello after all!

      Thoughts on the Tokyopop website do seem pretty consistent among fans – it's more a social networking type site now than a hub for their publishing work. Hopefully one day we'll see more focus. Admittedly I've spent so much time avoiding it that'll be interesting really taking the time to navigate it for my review.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Lien-Hua on many points, although for me I look at a website in a more of a "Should I avoid this website" view. For me, there are a couple of really important factors: design, up-to-date information (i. e. release list is current), and whether or not they are linked to an online outlet.

    Design is something that's really a factor of utility – can I find the information I want and does it make me want to tear my hair out to navigate the website? For some companies, particularly Tokyopop, this is an immediate turn off. If I can't stand the basic structure, it's not going to get used.

    Up-to-date information is important because there's no point in visiting a website that is rarely changed. At that point, if I want to get a release date or new title solicitations I look at this website, The Right Stuf's website or if I'm really desperate, Amazon (which is sometimes off on release dates depending on the publisher).

    Finally the online outlet is important if the other two elements are present and acceptable. There are a couple of publishers from whom I will order directly because their website design is good, up-to-date, have fair shipping pricing and offer their own titles first or cheaply.

    Thanks for putting your reviews up, I look forward to reading them.

    • Lissa says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I'm really curious to see what others think about the individual websites. Most people look for the samethings in a good publisher site – the quality information, up to date and easy on the eyes – but detail-wise it's all subjective person to person. What I may find a nice touch on one site, others may not, and vice vera, so that'll be neat.

      "I look at a website in a more of a “Should I avoid this website” view."

      Agreed on this point – there's definitely some sites that don't take long to give you that vibe too. If the site's going to stress me out, there's several other places that can give me the information I need for less headaches, though it's a shame when that's not the publisher's site.

      Great point about the online outlets. It's not as useful for me as I'd like because of shipping costs to Canada but the convenience of being able to buy directly from a publisher is a great option (especially if it means getting books a little early!).

  3. Being a reviewer, I use publisher websites all the time, from snagging cover images to checking out release calendars. Some sites make this much easier than others. DMP's site is nice and easy, as you note in your review, and I also like the Yen Press site. CMX could stand more online presence, but at least all of the information I'm seeking is easily attainable.

  4. […] Pattillo is reviewing manga publishers’ websites at Kuriousity and she starts off with Digital […]

  5. Hak Foo says:

    It's, at the base, a usability thing.

    How quickly can you perform a basic task:

    * When does the next volume of a given series come out?

    * How quickly can I order something from their online shop?

    * Show me a sample of a given series?

    To me, the first one is the opportunity for maximum fail. It's the primary draw for a lot of visitors– who have external fansites for fandom, and local shops for buying

  6. […] stated a short while back that I’d be continuing with my publisher website reviews, a longer than intended hiatus previously taken after several companies requested I wait. Viz […]

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