The digital manga arrives to revolutionize the law on the single price of the book

The Defender of the Book has just taken up the topic of digital comics sold in virtual currency, a few days after the arrival in France of the giant of the sector, the Piccoma application.

Webtoon, a new form of comic dedicated to smartphones © Maxppp / Romain Dézèque

The webtoon was already a small revolution in itself. Fans no longer read his manga in print, but rather on their smartphones or tablets. To read the boxes, we “scroll”, that is, we unroll the boxes by scrolling down.

The other big turning point, is the payment in “coins”, in digital currency. And this is where the Mediator of the book, the authority in charge of reconciling disputes, becomes alarmed. “vYou start a chapter, and at some point, the others get paid,” explains Jean-Philippe Mochon. “And instead of telling you “it’s paid and it will cost you €1.99”, it tells you that it costs a certain amount of “coins”. And these “corners”, if you buy a lot of them, they cost you less. You can also earn something if you stay a long time on the platform or if you share content on a social network. So obviously when you pay in “coins”, it’s much less stable, much less clear than when you pay in euros.

Works that escape the law on the single price of the book

In France, the 1981 law on the single price of books establishes that any book is sold for the same value, in all points of sale in the country. A way to protect the sector and small supermarket bookstores or online sales platforms. In 2011, the law was adapted to apply a single price to digital books identical to their paper version.

But today there are two scenarios: if the digital manga exists on paper, the single price should be applied.
But these webtoon platforms also offer manga that only exist in digital version. There, the works escape the 1981 law.

More and more fans

The question is all the more pressing as webtoons and digital manga are gaining more followers every day, and especially on the eve of the arrival in France of a giant, the Piccoma app. Created in South Korea, it devastated everything in its path in its home country and then in Japan, where it claims four million daily users. He plans to publish his first content in May, and wants to become “number 1”. Their business model is to offer the first chapters of a book. Pour déblocker les suivants, soit l’on paie en monnaie classique (0.50 euro le chapitre), soit l’on attend a certain name d’heures pour accumuler des jetons numériques, ce qui serait contraire à la loi sur le prix unique in France.

The Book Mediator plans to listen to all the players in the sector, Piccoma, but also to publishers already established in France (Iznéo from the Fnac-Darty group, Verytoon from Delcourt editions, Glénat Manga Max from Glénat editions, Webtoon Factory from the Dupuis editions, or Webtoon of the South Korean Naver) to issue an opinion in the coming months, and perhaps adapt the law to this publishing revolution.

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