Ken Akamatsu, king of harem manga, is starting a free manga download site for out-of-print titles called “J-Comi,” and has announced all 14 volumes of Love Hina will be its first release.
The service is completely free and without any time restrictions
Authors receive payment based on ad views/clicks
J-Comi themselves take a 0% commission
The comics will also be distributed as PDFs so anyone can read them
There is no DRM and copies can be made freely and given to friends
The beta test, consisting of all 14 volumes of Love Hina, is to begin on the 26th of November. Further manga (seemingly intended to cover mainly out of print titles) should follow, and Akamatsu himself says he expects other mangaka to take advantage of the service.
Judging from the screenshot provided, the comics will be accessible through a simple web reader as well as in PDF, a not infrequently despised format, and the comics themselves should be available in high resolution PDFs.
J-Comi’s official site is not yet open, but will be coming soon.
The background to the move is of course a publishing industry in rapid decline yet still refusing to realistically embrace new technology or loosen its control over mangaka, and an increasingly loudly voiced feeling amongst mangaka that in the Internet age they should be the ones pursuing new opportunities.