How INKR Switched From Comics Piracy To Global Digital Publishing

INKR Comics is a new app with a rich history, recently launched from INKR Global, intending to push what they call "immersive new comics reading and publishing." INKR features AI-backed translation technology, tailored content recommendations, and intend to deliver a seamless reading experience, integrated advertising, subscription, pay-per-chapter support, in one global outlet. Available on iOS, Google Play and through web browsers, they have signed up a number of manga publishers. What is especially impressive is that they used to be comic book pirates.

How INKR Switched From Comics Piracy To Global Digital Publishing
How INKR Switched From Comics Piracy To Global Digital Publishing

Beginning as a college project in 2009, Manga Rock was one-stop app for scanlations – scanned in manga comics translated into English – for the iPhone and then the iPad. After moving onto other projects individually, the team reformed in 2016 and returned to Manga Rock with a new perspective. They state "with all the learnings and experiences in building products that we have accumulated throughout the years, we realized that we are in a unique position to tackle piracy, not supporting it. To fix our wrongdoings, we decided to build an entirely new platform. With MR Comics, we envision a world where comics are affordable and accessible to everybody. And artists can make a living following their passion  -  making comics."

They used content removal – when titles are taken down from piracy sites – as an education tool about the dangers of piracy. Thbey took multiple trips & attended various conferences to meet with creators & publishers in China, Korea, Japan etc. And worked with independent creators to legitimately publish through Manga Rock and INKR, including publishers such as Kodansha, Zhiyin Animation, Tan Comics, Tokyo POP, Image Comics and others. Right now, that includes The Wicked + The Divine, Wayward, Plutona, Casanova, Monstress, I Hate Fairyland, Stray Bullets and more. It is common for several chapters to be provided free, with subsequent chapters to cost with INKR Extra. INKR also offers INKR Localize, AI-assisted localization software which allows comics to be translated and posted by their authorized creators in record time. The aim is that INKR Localize will effectively end issues with the practice of unpaid, unauthorized scanned translations.

Anyone interested in publishing through INKR can click here. They developed publisher and creator tools to distribute and monetise content, and aim to convert free scan readers to paying customers.

"From our love for comics came the drive to build a platform that could leave a large-scale positive impact," said Ken Luong, INKR CEO. "With all the learning and experience in building products we have accumulated throughout the years, we realized that we are in a unique position to efficiently bring all types of comics to readers across the globe."

Quite the journey…

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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