From the Front Lines: Nina Paley on Kids Reading Free Manga

Cartoonist and free culture advocate Nina Paley had a discussion with a group of teenagers about their manga reading habits online.

Nina Paley self-caricature

Nina Paley self-caricature

Turns out most of them are manga fans, and familiar with publishers’ complaints about scanned and translated manga shared freely online. They all read them anyway (except one, who prefers to read entire manga in the bookstore).

Paley asked them how they wanted to support artists, and they came back with a list of possibilities, most of which related to physical items (buying book copies or art or merchandise) or donations (using Kickstarter or direct payment buttons, assuming they were given a good idea where their money was going) or experiences, such as performances or meeting artists. Most preferred paper books to online.

Clearly, those who want to stop manga from being shared online should realize that this is no longer a matter of education. These kids know that publishers don’t like it, and that doesn’t matter to them. In fact, they seem quite aware of what different options are out there for artists’ income, and they want more of those choices available to them.

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