Digital Manga Brings Downloadable Files to eManga.Com

Digital Manga’s website and storefront, eManga.com, has been revamped for the new year with a number of changes. As stated in their customer newsletter,

Our online reader is still available and better than ever, but now you can download our content in a variety of popular digital formats compatible with your e-reading device of choice. That’s right! Buy it. Download it. Keep it forever and read it however you choose. eManga has evolved and we are not stopping here. To ensure the best customer experience possible, eManga will continue to evolve beyond this new initial stage. Our future is bright, but our present is even shinier. Enjoy the new eManga and all it has to offer!

I have to quibble with the online reader bit, because I had an account for accessing review copies, and all of those previous library entries in my account have disappeared. Perhaps they just mean that the functionality is there.

eManga ad

eManga is run by Digital Manga Inc. to provide digital editions of “DMI’s various imprints (including Juné, 801 Media, DMG [Digital Manga Guild], DMP, DokiDoki)”. They’re now providing downloadable ebooks in seven different file formats suitable for all popular devices, including Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony Reader, Kobo, Android, and more I’ve never heard of. Your download purchase only lets you pick one, though — you pay “a small additional cost” (right now, a dollar) for different file types. You can pretest by downloading their free sampler.

Their promotional language, such as saying how, “eManga allows you to effectively own your purchase. You download it. You keep it.” plays well into attitudes that resent paying high prices for what’s really a rental, but note the “effectively” language. You can’t share or resell your “owned” purchase, so it’s not really ownership, as they clarify in their FAQ. Also, some titles are not available to download.

Running their own store allows DMI to provide all their titles, including those that have run into restrictions on other sites. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems that their fastest growing-lines are their yaoi and hentai (explicit and/or porn) manga. It occurs to me that being able to download such material and read it without an internet connection may be helpful if one is in an environment that monitors network traffic. They’ve also added a new section, “Gradol Club Photo Collection”, which provides swimsuit pictures of young Japanese women in, as they have it, “tasteful but provocative poses”.

eManga will have the books first — a month before other storefronts — and more cheaply — which I thought violated at least one of the ebook stores’ rules. (Doesn’t Amazon have a most favored nation clause that requires one to make the Amazon price as low as anywhere else?) Ebooks are priced at $7.50 and up.

Along with the new functionality, they’re promising “a bold new graphical interface, an updated native manga reader with intuitive page-flipping, better navigational and search capabilities, integrated social networking options, frequent promotional offers, weekly newsletter, and more customer interactivity elements (including polls, articles, and a rating and review system).” Which are great buzzwords to please business folks, but I’m not sure how many customers are seeking them out. Except for the promotions — everyone likes a discount. Beware of the newsletter, by the way; the book cover images they run for the hentai line includes topless girls.

Another technical improvement is the change from having to buy points to the store accepting credit cards and PayPal directly, as well as the site selling gift cards for those customers too young to have either of the former. Previous point balances will be converted to their Reward Points (worth a penny each), which can also be earned through purchases. 5% of the price will be given to the customer as these points, “which can be applied to future purchases as significant discounts.” They can also be transferred to someone else.

Unfortunately, they’ve changed their account system, and there no longer seems to be any way to update your information — when I try to change my password or add in additional information, it tells me my email address is already registered. Well, yes, that’s how I got logged in in the first place. Something tells me they didn’t test the system as thoroughly as they should have — in spite of the delayed release. The new system was originally supposed to be out in the fall. I’ve emailed customer service to see what they say about the problem.

Update: Both this issue and the missing books from my library were solved quickly by customer service. Turned out that, due to a long-ago mixup, I had two accounts with the same email address, which caused the system to become confused. It’s all working well for me now.

With the new site, eManga also has what they’re calling a Neighborhood Watch program, a bribery system for either supporting intellectual property law or informing on file sharers, depending on your perspective. They bill it as helping catch “outlaws” and “crooks”. If you tell the company where you see pirate copies of their files, and “if [they] can properly determine the origins of the file” (that is, identify the sharer), they’ll give you some Reward Points. If the thieves are competent and able to remove watermarks, though, you probably get nothing.

2 Comments

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