Today I'd like to know what kind of proposition one has to make to a Japanese publisher to have a go at distributing a title in a certain country (outside of Japan).

This article told me how things work in the industry and I pretty much understand that to get a deal, you need sales forecasts, a distribution channel, a printer … ready to work for you. And you need to be able to tell the Japanese publisher how much he’s going to make throughout the coming months by trusting you to distribute his manga.

What I can’t seem to find though, is what a serious or standardized proposition in the industry is. I mean, what are the rules?! Are there rules stating that no matter what, a certain percentage of your margins should go to the Japanese publisher? Are there predefined sales volumes under which you won’t get a deal? Has anyone here actually seen such a contract? Where can one get his/her hands on one? What about digital distribution?

If any of you can point me in the right direction, tell me who I should ask this to, or highlight existing documentation, I would be absolutely delighted.

  • 4
    I have cleared the comments on this thread. This question is on-topic on Anime & Manga. What is off-topic is the subject of actually making your own anime/manga (as in, graphic design, animation, etc). Licensing questions are perfectly on-topic. Aug 2, 2014 at 9:21
  • can you clarify your question a bit more - currently it seems like you are asking several Oct 8, 2014 at 10:08
  • Like the title says: How much does it cost to license a manga outside of Japan?
    – Gingi
    Oct 10, 2014 at 6:17

1 Answer 1


The price of licencing a manga/anime varies widely and are set by the distributor or publisher.

(All prices that follows are in US Dollar, and from 2013.)

Jinki:Extend cost only $91,000 to license while Kurau Phantom Memory cost $960,000.

Some studios have very relaxed licencing policies, some even aim to make their product to go truely global.

Simulcast internet streaming rights can be less expensive, with prices around $1,000-$2,000 an episode.

About $3,000 for a few volumes of a pretty low key series. Not the whole series.

Licensing includes the original Japanese company to agree for you to publish it in your region but also encompasses royalty.

That means a certain percent of the title’s price (In U.S. that would be the MSRP), that ranges from the 7% to 8%, minus tax. And a G.M. (Guaranteed Minimum). Let’s suppose the manga in question is sold at $9.99, since the tax is 8% then the royalty is calculated in 9.1908.

That means that a contract with 7% would pay 0.70 cents per issue, again assuming it’s a $9.99 book. And rounding it up, since the 7% of $9.99 isn’t exactly .70.

I don't really know how many volumes any of the titles in the U.S. market prints so I don’t know an estimate of the GM for the US, but in Spain that would be between 1,000 euros (7% royalty with a GM of 2,000 printed books) and a max of 1,730 (8% and 3,000).

As I said, those are the numbers for the average title, series like “Naruto”, “BLEACH” or “Death Note” have higher GMs but that´s not important since this kind of titles sell well anywhere.

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    Granted, there might be inside deals, longterm agreements and other things weighing in on that, but I have no chance of having any insight to that. And even if I did, I'm pretty sure a NDA would prevent me from discussing it.
    – Nils Munch
    Oct 10, 2014 at 23:35

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