So if you head on over to http://www.tokyopop.com/Robofish/poll/2943533.html you can answer the following Tokyopop poll:
- Same price as a physical book and I get to keep the entire thing forever: $10.99
- Nothing (I can read it for free online anyway)
- $.99 for each chapter released one week at a time but I don’t get to keep the book forever
So my answer to that question, or at least the closest answer that I am allowed to make considering their faulty questions, is “Nothing, I can read it for free online anyway.”
But I don’t believe that, I’m really, really, against piracy in this exact form. I subscribe to Audible and eMusic, I still buy the occasional CD, if I can’t get it on Hulu or Youtube I usually don’t bother. I’m not perfect, but whenever possible I try to behave as legally as possible… But the options here are stupid! Stupid!
If you don’t believe that digital content should be priced exactly the same as paper-printed content (which… personally I don’t, the economics of doing that are very different and not taking that into account is insulting as a consumer, but it’s ultimately the right of the content producer/content holder to determine price), then you can’t pick option a. I wouldn’t pick option a, period.
If you don’t believe in DRM [Digital Rights Management, or Copy Protection] for content, then option c is stupid. And not that much cheaper, at 7-8 chapters per volume you’re still looking at 7 or 8 bucks a book there instead of 11, hardly a real savings, AND Tokyopop can decide to pull the book from you at any time? Crap! Craaaaap!
So that leaves the middle-option, option b. Which is “I’m a fucking thief, fuck you.” Which is not where I want to be, when responding to a survey from a publisher. What I’m saying is I feel UNCOMFORTABLE taking on the thief role. But… given the two (2!) options between Expensive books or Expensive books with bullshit DRM, I’m going to choose… I’m not paying for your shit! Not because I want it and don’t want to pay for it, but because your options suck!
The larger issue here is how flawed, and misleading this questionairre really is. This is not a survey asked in good faith, this is a survey that asks a very open-ended question and lets you answer in a very loaded way: Either you’re going to pay an amount you might feel uncomfortable with or in a way you’re uncomfortable with, OR YOU’RE A PIRATE AND YOUR OPINION DOESN’T COUNT. Seriously. You run this TOTAL LIE of a survey for a while, and then you publish the results! “Well 60% of our readership who weren’t FILTHY FUCKING PIRATES were in favour of option c, so the masses have spoken, option c it is!” It’s a lie, and a bald-faced and obvious lie at that. It makes criminals, automatically, out of anyone who simply disagrees with Tokyopop’s pricing strategy. Sorry, ‘strategy’ should be in scare-quotes like that because I think so little of it.
I am not against buying content. I would pay a fee to be able to log into Tokyopop’s website and just read all the manga they had there, or pay an itunes-priced download fee to read something. But what I’m not gonna do is the two awful options that have been outlined for me. And if I don’t do that? My only other option is to be a criminal.
Thanks for that, Tokyopop.
P.S. Seriously, how the fuck can OneManga still be running? Couldn’t Viz or someone just send those guys a cease and desist? I’ve gotten a snarky fucking e-mail from a Viz lawyer for including one panel of a work in a review of that work, which is protected under your “American Laws” the last time I checked. C&D order! Yet these guys are running full series in their online viewer, AND selling ads,(!) and it’s been up for years. Coooooooommmmmmeeeee Oooooonnnnnnnn. Not fair!
Edit: Check the comments for responses from Tokyopop, and Vertical Inc.