I downloaded the free Princess Ai: Encounters manga and took a look at it.
The first thing in the book is an introduction page explaining that this is not a sampler or reduced copy, that it’s “the exact same manga that you can buy at your bookstore”. They also want readers to share the files, to post them or send them to others. That’s a refreshingly open attitude. If you’re going to put something out there for free, then accept all of what that means.
Then they push the idea of collecting ebooks, “just like the songs you get from iTunes”, followed by a statement of why they’re doing this: to sell “all the other Princess Ai manga, novels, and art books”. The page ends with a request to give them feedback at their forum or by email. Their big question is
If you like the eBook, do you think that you’ll still collect the printed book too?
That’s what everyone wants to know.
Next page is the credits. I owe Tokyopop a partial apology. Although they don’t identify the character’s creator, “DJ Milky”, as the head of their company in the promotional material, they do here:
They seem to have forgotten what “alphabetical order” means, though. Sometimes they’re using the first name, sometimes the second, sometimes I can’t figure out.
I wasn’t familiar with any of the included manga characters except for Tina from Divalicious. I tried reading her chapter, but I didn’t care at all about any of the Princess Ai characters or their motivations, so I gave up. Even at no money cost, my time is worth more than that. Also, on a laptop screen, the page proportions are all wrong, so I could have it big enough to read the dialogue (and not see the whole page, meaning lots of scrolling) or big enough to see the whole page at once and not be able to read it.