In Asia, it is not unusual for a manga licensee, instead of paying extra fees to obtain raw print material directly from Japan, to scan tankobons and reprint them.

This is cheaper, but as a result, the images will be slightly enlarged/cropped compared to the Japanese original. This is because the scanned data tend to leave out the print bleed, and part of the non-bleed edge gets reprinted as print bleed instead.

Also, when scanning is not done properly, the scanned manga screentones will see some tearing and other undesired extra patterns.

Does this also happen with Western manga licensees and content distributors?

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    Personally I haven't heard of Tankobon scanning by official licensors, only by scanlators. Do you perhaps have an example of an license holder whom did this in the Asia region? – Dimitri mx Nov 9 '20 at 15:56
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    @Dimitrimx Here is one comparison video for ARIA: youtu.be/XoN-YY_rtjc?t=246 Here it specifically shows that the scan is enlarged to make up for the lack of bleed. Later in the video it also shows artifacts caused by enlarging the scan. – lulalala Nov 10 '20 at 1:42

I'm not sure if I can fully answer your question, mainly because I am just a consumer and not involved in any way in the industries. But I do (slightly) recall on eBookJapan (before Yahoo.co.jp bought them out) older manga was (or looked/felt like) scanned, but later on, they would remaster, and sometimes even digitally publish black-and-white version and colored remastered version, and charge differently.

Also, I am not in a market as a consumer of translated tankoubon (i.e. as you say, "Asia region" and western licensors) other than Japanese so I can only answer for digital manga I purchase from the few places I can purchase from direct in Japan (before eBookJapan was owned by Yahoo.co.jp, I was able to pay with non-Japanese credit card, now it is more difficult to buy - mainly I presume due to copyright law only protects Japanese publishers in Japan) but the scanned ones I've seen were only from my curiosities of nostalgias of "oh I want to read this manga again" and did the tachiyomi to see if I really wanted to purchase it, so I have no purchased copies of any tankoubon that looks like it was scanned for a proof.

Again, I do not know if I did answer at least a little, of your question, mainly because I am not in the market for other Asian translations, but as mentioned, due to copyright limitations, if it is scanned, I have second thoughts that they might not be a legitimate publisher, but you can probably go to eBookJapan to see if they have (as in, they are selling) a digital version of the tankoubon you are interested in, and if they sell it, most likely there exists a legitimate digital version from the publisher (I am not here to preach about piracy or how important it is to support manga authors, so leave it up to your discretions on whether you want to pay/support scanned market), and I hope I was able to indirectly answer some parts.

  • Thanks for the answer, but I am looking for licensee in Western markets. Also I can say that those in Asia markets are legitimate publishers. – lulalala Nov 29 '20 at 1:54

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