State of the manganet, part two

Some folks noted some omissions in yesterday’s post on manga publisher sites, so I thought I’d try and rectify that.

Broccoli Books puts all the latest news on titles and events right up front. Like Seven Seas and Netcomics, the site makes good use of drop-down menus on the front page, which means you can click directly to pages on individual titles and products or go to full listings of the publisher’s line. It also has an up-to-date blog, archived news releases, and a release calendar with links to books. It’s a functional, informative site.

I find it a little difficult to navigate Central Park Media’s site. There isn’t any glaringly obvious way to find comprehensive, well-organized information on CPM’s titles, and I’m a little baffled by all of the sub-brands on the page’s sidebar. The manga information is there, at the CPM Press link, but the links up front kind of seem like they’re in code that’s only meaningful to loyal CPM customers.

It took me less than a second to become annoyed with the Media Blasters site. Its opening portal had a single link that opened a second window. That second window immediately started shouting at me about Voltron and scared the crap out of my dog. Clicking on the Books/Manga/Merchandise button leads to a page I can’t scroll around. The site is obviously still in progress, as there’s very little product information, but the navigability of the current infrastructure doesn’t make it seem like a place I’d want to visit very often. Is that an age thing? I just want to know where to click to find what I want, and I don’t want other media to start loading automatically.

It doesn’t surprise me at all that Vertical’s page design is elegant, given how beautiful Vertical’s books are. I like that there’s a listing of titles up front and on a dedicated inner page. The information available is pretty extensive, judging by the pages on Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha, though Vertical hasn’t provided equally extensive details on Tezuka’s Ode to Kirohito yet. The quality of the existing pages suggests the information will get there, though.

DramaQueen’s site does the open-a-new-window thing as well, and the site took a couple of attempts to load successfully, neither of which is a particularly endearing trait. When you get there, it’s easy to navigate, nicely organized, and has fairly comprehensive title information.

It’s tough to find information on manga titles at Bandai’s site, though the company’s manga line is a fairly recent development and maybe Bandai just hasn’t had time to build a dedicated portion of the site to that kind of product. The search engine yields lots of results, but they aren’t organized very well. And my browser crashed when I clicked the Multimedia button.

Global yuri publisher ALC has a fairly basic site, and there were some surprisingly long loading times when I accessed their Shop pages. I’m not quite sure how I feel about ALC’s choice to include a bunch of links to Amazon’s manga and anime offerings on its Shop pages, but it does give visitors access to and awareness of titles that probably aren’t on any publisher’s licensing fast track.

Yaoi Press could use some easier navigability on its product pages and quit it with the open-a-new-window business. (I love it when Angela Lansbury sings that song. I hate it when web sites act it out.) The site does seem to have some fun features for the yaoi enthusiast, though.

And, just out of curiosity, I wanted to see how easy it was to find information on some graphic novel publishers who also traffic in licensed manga.

Yoshihiro Tatsumi, creator of The Push Man and Other Stories and Abandon the Old in Tokyo, is right up front on Drawn & Quarterly’s pages and has kind of a fun spotlight page in the Artists section. The Shop pages aren’t especially easy to use, but the information is good when you get to the title you’re seeking.

NBM has some great books, and I know they publish some licensed titles, but I’ll be damned if I can find them with any ease on NBM’s site. If there was ever a publisher site that begged for an alphabetical list of titles, it’s this one. The site for NBM’s Papercutz division, featuring manga-influenced versions of Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Totally Spies, isn’t a whole lot better, but it hasn’t hurt sales. Just as a general preference, I think navigation bars are handier if they’re on the top or side, especially if there are lots of graphics on a page.

Taking a second look at Viz’s site after an anonymous comment on its browse-ability, I note that it takes an equal number of clicks to get to the Shop listings I favored and the Browse All area. So it’s really just a matter of preference. I prefer the organization of the Shop site and the lack of scrolling stuff on the pages, but there’s something to be said for the more comprehensive title information in the Browse All area.

2 Responses to State of the manganet, part two

  1. David Taylor says:

    Oh yes…
    I’ve got to say that front page on DramaQueen needs firing out of a cannon! Honestly, no I do like having to go through extra pages just to get to your site. ^.^ Luckily like you say it’s fairly comprehensive on the inside.

    You actually went to Media Blasters website? I thought that was just a permanent in progress site. It isn’t that much better when you go over to the Kittymedia version either.

    Though I love what you say about NBM. If there was ever a place that I got lost so easily it would be NBM, it’s like a labyrinth. Every time I visit I get distracted by something else entirely to the extent that I forgot the reason for visiting in the first place.

  2. David Welsh says:

    It’s too bad about NBM, because they publish really interesting books, but I always end up finding them at random during trips to comic shops, because I’m like you. I totally lose the thread at their site.

    As for Media Blasters, that was my first (and probably last) visit, purely out of perverse completism. It’s not that I have anything against Voltron, but I can’t put my dog at risk like that. She deserves a serene life.

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