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Open letter to Libre Shuppan

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Sep. 13th, 2010 | 09:05 pm
mood: depresseddepressed

I don’t know for you, but my week-end was really gloomy... That most of my favourite scanlators went down one after the other under Libre’s “Cease & Desist” letter was a heavy blow. And the reason behind it made it worse:  Libre is looking to augment its market share of the English-speaking population through Animate USA: www.animate-world.com/

“Thank you for reading our books and for your continued support” they write at the bottom... sorry L-folks, the only thing I feel right now is the urge to smash a Kindle down your throat!!...argh, though satisfying, this was an entirely inappropriate reaction. So I stomped on it and rationalized it -- then I wrote everything down and sent it to Libre. It is not nice, but at least it is not uncivilized...


“To whom it may concern at Libre,

“I can guess at the love-hate relationship that probably exists between publishers, scanlators and mangakas. I get that scanlations are illegal, that scanlators don’t have a legal leg to stand on when it comes to publisher’s right and that they’re fiddling with things that do not belong to them. On the other hand, scanlators are the first and the strongest fans; if not for them, yaoi – as well as the publishers of yaoi and the mangaka creating yaoi – would not be where they are today.

“I read scanlations. A lot. But I also buy manga. A lot. Or more precisely: I buy tons of manga. In 3 years, I’ve bought more than 1500 manga books, 90% of it yaoi. I buy manga in English, in French and in Japanese – the later in bulks of 15~20 books.

“Every month, I spend more than US$ 200 on books. I usually choose the books I buy by reading scanlations. And when I love a manga or a mangaka’s work, I want to own it in book form. If it’s not available in English, I’ll usually get it from Japan, in Japanese. Yes Libre, I am one of your direct customer.

“As a customer, I am now incensed by the way you are trying to milk me. I understand that you want to secure a return on your investment in copyrights you bought and you certainly wish to promote mangakas’ work. But US$ 2.99 a chapter via Kindle? Force me to buy a $150 device I hate reading comics on, to be able to read a manga that will on the whole cost me US$ 15 or more?? And I’ll have to fish out another $10 if I want it in book format??? Then you even expect me to buy Japanese manga on Kindle at a higher price than a tankoubon????

“I said it already, but let me repeat to make sure it gets through: I choose which manga I buy by reading the scanlations. I DON'T buy blind. Libre decided to come down on the scanlators, and the company has every right to do so. However, has Libre realized it’s coming down on the readers and on the whole community that generates and expands the interest in yaoi and in its products? I discovered yaoi because of scanlators. If not for scanlators, my $200 a month would be spent on other books completely. Now, I feel like Libre is spitting on me and tying me down to steal my wallet.

“Therefore, I, as a reader and a buyer, am deciding that from now on, Libre will not see one of my dollar if I can help it. Not only will I stop buying Libre books, I will also cancel my subscription to ‘Be x Boy Gold Magazine’ (I’m going to get ‘Lynx’ instead *smile*); I’ll also stop buying Libre books licensed by French or English publishers. As a matter of fact, I already cancelled the following pre-ordered items:

“From Digital Manga Publishing:
KUKU Hayate’s “Love Sickness” (あやしの君の恋煩い)
KONOHARA Narise’s “Cold Light” and “Cold Fever”
KUWABARA Yuuko's “Garden Sky” (おそらでガーデン)
ZAOU Taishi’s “Mysterious Love” (恋は異なもの妙なもの)
HIGASHINO You’s “Deeply Loving a Maniac (超マニアックに愛して)

“From Asuka Editions:
MISHIMO Kazuhico’s “Lover’s Doll” (ラバーズ・ドール)
KITAKAMI Ren’s “The Path to Love” (みちづれポリシー)
TAKANAGA Hinako’s “Silent Love” (不器用なサイレント)
 “Be x Boy Magazine” – the French Edition

“And I wrote to the publishers to tell them why.

“Libre, I definitely don’t commend your business acumen. Already as an English reader, I was leery after the way you handled Be Beautiful. With your latest stunt, I feel like throwing up my hands in the air and giving you up for good... which really pisses me off because great mangaka are published through the Libre imprint. But I will stop buying “Aitsu no Daihonmei” and “Sex Pistols” (“Sex Pistols”, by the way, I have both in the English and the Japanese editions) and all the other great series, just to. Not. Buy. Anything. Of. Yours.

“So long, Libre.

“Signed: Joelle, a frustrated and dissatisfied ex-customer”


And everything I wrote in that e-mail, I did. Believe me, it was HARD to click on the cancel button for “Deeply Loving a Maniac”... T____T .  Also, cancelling orders from bookdepository.com is a pain.


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Comments {77}

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(no subject)

from: zsuzsapo
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 07:59 am (UTC)

I can pretty much guess what their reply will be IF they reply. "You don't have to buy that kindle stuff you can download a plug-in or sg and you can see it in your computer and it's just like reading scans." And yes, it's pure greed, nothing more. Gosh, in the country of Uesugi Kenshin. Before our group was shut down, our leader asked them that we aren't doing any harm to them, since the series isn't published in English, they said they would try to re-publish (Kindle of courae), but it's complicated to get the licences and all for a long series like that one.,, Meaning, if it was sent to us on paper, we could have wipped our butt with it. That's one thing the electronical stuff could never replace paper. I mean I'm a greenpeace member - not an activist, though - so I think hard enough about the paper vs. computer stuff, but I'm a librarian, too in an Archives around books all day long and no fancy-handy compy (cost about the half of my monthly salary with shipping sincenit cannot be bought here - not like I would buy it anyways) can replace it, and I don't think the electronic trash, the electicity, the harm to our eyes is better for the environment then publishing paper books. I'm a beginner in Japanese but I wouldn't mind buying the Jp books, IF the shipping was free. To Europe, the shipping fee is almost the double of the actual prize of the book. I tried it before.
I just wish the mangaka involve would make their standings here. Aside from this underhanded move of the publishers with dollar signs in place of their eyes, I'm almost more pissed about them not saying anything to their fans! Check those nice afterwords they add to each books, thanking to the support of their fans and readers, so where they are when WE need them?!

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(no subject)

from: lenaleemelodee
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 09:19 am (UTC)

Wow, one great letter you have there. But I'm sure their answer will consist of no more than 2 lines... If they're going to reply, that is.

I do agree with you. I also buy manga only based on scanlations, because I don't want to end up wasting money on something I don't even like.

Let us know what they said if you get a reply from them!^^

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(no subject)

from: mushroome
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 10:50 am (UTC)

You have my utmost respect for this. m(_ _)m *bows*

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(no subject)

from: deelovesryo
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 11:30 am (UTC)

wow! you are brave! I congratulate you for sticking to your principles.
When the sales go down they will notice their mistake, but for some new mangakas it would be late -_-'

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(no subject)

from: sookybabi
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 11:30 am (UTC)

X3 If you no longer buy Beboy you'll miss out on the awesome updates of Aitsu and SP,,,I've got a upfront payment subscription to asuka and beboy for a year ....-_- If you want to see what happens >.> and can't find the *cough* rows, give me a hollar and i'll take a photo shoot of my tanks.

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(no subject)

from: shelisan
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)

I think i'm gonna butt in here and say that if you can do that for me, since fom where i'm is really difficult if i don't get the scans for the mags, and keep up with the beautiful stuff... i'm really sad with this cuz they just do stuff that is good for them but not good for customers... i just hope that they realize this real soon.

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(no subject)

from: one_nee
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 11:43 am (UTC)

u r so brave to do this. yep, i agree with u totally. i'm still new in reading bl manga. and me too reading it thro scanlations. libre really are doing stupid business strategy, do they think ppl just going to blind buy ? buy manga they dont know whether its good or not? and in my country its still strict about yaoi/bl/shounen ai thingy, it hard to pass the custom, are they hope ppl from countries like mine will gladly blind buy manga with risk like that AND with so unresonable price? gosh, stupid ppl are stupid!
i think yaoi manga readers have to boycott Libre, so at least they can consider this stupid n lousy business strategy... can u give me the link to email them too?

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(no subject)

from: terrenea
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 11:44 am (UTC)

Liked your arguments, cuz I completely agree. ^^

If not for scanlations I wouldn't gotten into yaoi or bought the books I have today. I think everyone that's read a manga they really like on the net wants to possess the book-format of it as well when it comes out.
*lol* Even if I got periods where the budget is low and I see a manga I really want (cuz I know it's good through scanlation-reading), the manga gets priority.

Feel with you with the cancellations :(, but it shows that you stand for what you believe in. :)

Btw, have you gotten any respons from Libre?

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(no subject)

from: manganra
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)

Excellent letter! Maybe you should start a petition? ^_~ If you do, I'd sign!

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(no subject)

from: tercenyaa
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 11:59 am (UTC)

love you for this

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(no subject)

from: yui_eiri
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 12:13 pm (UTC)

When I see ur email to them, I cann't said anything except give u two thumbs up! I really-really agree with u.

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from: ljaney
date: Sep. 15th, 2010 03:02 am (UTC)

I hope Libre reads your letter along with all our replies!

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(no subject)

from: anapal200
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 01:56 pm (UTC)

Yes, you are right! If not the scanlation groups I would never know anything about manga at all. Including Yaoi.
I think Japanese as usual just they are thinking they understand what is to do business but never know what it is in general. Scanlation groups are their greatest promotion! Money free and worldwide! It’s direct way to millions fans. But they don’t understand that, don’t respect us and now they decelerate the war to us. I’m speechless. I thought they aren’t so stupid.
Yes, I also bought many Yaoi mangas and novels books and magazines. English and Japanese as well. I have Yamane Ayano all duplicated in English and Japanese. I even started to learn Japanese language. But I buy books only after I read them on scanlation. If the scalnlation sites would be closed – no more purchase for me. I don’t buy blind!
You are very brave – you wrote that truthful letter. It’s a pity what some other scanlation groups just have run into the bushes. Libre is just awfully stupid.
From Lithuania.

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(no subject)

from: mira77
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)

I'm not a buyer, but everything you wrote is freaking right.It feels like you spoke from my heart.Actually i would be happier to own the manga in a book format not on my PC, but where i live (Hungary) they only do shonen/shoujo manga...and of course Gravitation...-_-'
I wish i could buy manga from the US, but with the shipping price well, i cant afford it right now.
Anyway! Your letter is awesome, and it wasn't even harsh or rude.You just stated the truth..and cancelling those mangas..
Go Joelle! And i really hope after their "brave" actions toward scanlater groups they will answer you.

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BL Addiction and Beyond

(no subject)

from: xinxie
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC)

My love for yaoi deeply originated from scanlations. It's thanks to the scanlation community that I embraced yaoi more since then. I wholeheartedly agree about being acquainted to yaoi titles, mangaka, and publishers through scanlators. Japanese publishers or specifically Libre should take this even into consideration.

I have favorite yaoi titles under Libre like works of Youka Nitta, Konohara Narise, etc.. Based from the $ figures you've (Joelle) laid out, it's ripping an avid customer like you, really.

Although legality is legality. I know scanlators work mainly for free. But with the existence of online read manga sites (sites with ads) or paid sites, these trigger publishers to take action. I think there was a news regarding legal action against these sites. I'd hope that time it just remained in that target for licensed copies. Ah, Libre obviously spends a lot to even go after scanlators.

Even though I am not subscriber like you, I'd still feel the same way.

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(no subject)

from: toe_nail
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)

Kudos to you, sista for sending that courageous letter! This whole thing with Libre depresses me much. For me, scanlation is the only way to go considering buying from US cost an arm n a leg while i'm just a poor worker still mooching off in my parents house. But still, its a shame that Libre just sending off that twice cursed letter to scanlators instead of working out a more agreeable solutions. This whole things feels like 'wham bam thank you maam" situation to scanlator after all the hard work promoting their title to broader audience. Oh well, i'll just have to kiss Libre's title goodbye from now on ^_^

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(no subject)

from: rhapsodyangel
date: Sep. 14th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)

I'd like to send a letter too, because pretty much everything you said is also true for me. How do I contact Libre?

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(no subject)

from: joellemime
date: Sep. 25th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC)

Hello hello~~

Sorry I took so long to answer; my time is running away from me T___T

I sent the e-mail at the adresses I found at the bottom of Animate USA pages: http://www.animate-world.com/

... and they wrote back! 0.0 I'll be posting about it soon.

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