In my post that talks about the manga publishers, I did say that the license page is the best indicator to know whether the manga that you buy is a bootleg manga or not.
Heck, I even go into details on what you need to look for on the license page in this post.
For the most part, it’s easy to tell the bootleg manga apart from its original counterpart since a bootleg manga doesn’t have a license page and ISBN.
But the thing about bootleg manga is that it can come in all shapes and forms.
And that means the bootleg ones will have all the things that the original ones will have.
Can’t say for sure if the bootleg ones will still have the license page or not. But the bootleg ones do have the ISBN, though.
With the bootleg ones looking identical to the real ones, how can you tell whether the manga that you buy is a bootleg manga or not?
The answer to that question lies in the book’s ISBN.
Does it mean that it’s pointless to look for the license page at all?
Well, I won’t brush it off just yet if I were you.
While it’s true that you can get so much information about the book from the ISBN alone, it still pays to have a look at the license page.
Think of it as another way to determine whether the manga that you bought is a bootleg manga or not.
When you see that the publisher’s name on the license page isn’t the same as the one on the book cover, particularly on the spine, then it’s obvious that the manga itself is a bootleg version.
And it’s even more so when the license page is missing from the manga. That tends to be the case pretty much for all bootleg manga that I came across.
What’s the deal with this ISBN stuff?
For most of us, ISBN may only be a random twelve-digit number at the back of your favorite manga and light novels.
But what you don’t know is that this twelve-digit number doesn’t just hold the information about the book. The number itself is also unique to the book. No other book will have the same ISBN even for the books in the same series.
That means each volume of the manga will have a different ISBN despite being in the same series.
Even the digital edition will have a different ISBN from the print edition.
Getting ISBN for the book isn’t that easy either considering that the publishers will have to pay to get the ISBN for the book.
And they were not cheap too. Depending on where the publishers get the ISBN from, they’re expecting to pay $125 for one book.
Since they’re going to publish more books, it makes more sense for them to buy the ISBN in bulk. But then again, it will still cost them $295 for ten ISBNs and $575 for one hundred ISBNs.
Of course, some countries do offer an ISBN for free which shouldn’t be so hard for the publishers that publish the bootleg manga to obtain the ISBN for the book.
But in order to do that, they need to submit the copyright page to the ISBN issuer if they want to obtain the ISBN for the book.
I’m sure that you already know where I’m going with this.
There’s no way for the scam publishers to obtain the ISBN for the book when they don’t even have the legal right to the book.
And yes, even in a country that provides a free ISBN.
What does the ISBN can tell you about the book?
Depending on what you use to check the ISBN of the book, the ISBN can give you a basic detail of the book such as the name of the book, the author’s name, and the publisher for the book.
Yes, it doesn’t seem like you can get a lot of information from the ISBN.
But that should be enough since we only want to know whether the publisher’s name on the spine matches the information that you obtain from the ISBN.
This is what we need if we want to find out whether the publisher itself is legit or not.
How to know if the manga is a bootleg manga or not based on the ISBN
The first thing you need to do is to locate the book’s ISBN.
It’s not that hard to find the book’s ISBN since the ISBN tends to be on the back cover of the book.
While some books will have the ISBN on display on the back cover or within the license page, all of them will have the ISBN in the form of a barcode.
Once you already located the ISBN, it’s time for you to use it to retrieve the information about the book.
You can use a website like ISBN Search to find the information about the book based on the book’s ISBN.
That’s the website I use to find the information about the books that I have and even the ones that I don’t have.
And that includes the manga published by TR Media.
In case you’re wondering, nope, I didn’t buy any of the books that they publish.
Does it even work?
Well, I should say that it does work despite the website only retrieving minimal information about the book.
Not only the website can retrieve the information about the books that are published in English. But it can retrieve information about the books that are in Japanese too.
Heck, it can even retrieve information about the independent-published books as well.
And that means you can find information about my books too, provided that you have the books’ ISBN, though.
The only caveat is you may not be able to find the information about the books that have limited distribution.
That seems to be the case for the Malay version of Bungo Stray Dogs and Hyouka manga that I have.
While both books have ISBN, the website can’t retrieve any information about the books since the books are available for distribution in Malaysia only.
Other than that, you can find pretty much any books you want using ISBN.
And that’s what I did when I tried to find the information about the books that TR Media published.
The moment of truth
While the license page is proof that the company has a legal right to the manga, it may not be a feasible option if you don’t have the manga or you’re just doubtful about it.
This is where the option to check the book’s ISBN comes in. You can find out more about the book without having to buy the book itself.
That’s what I did when I want to know whether the Jujutsu Kaisen manga that TR Media published is legit or not.
Thanks to people who posted the video or the photo of the manga that they posted on Lazada review, I managed to get a hold of the manga’s ISBN.
Not going to lie that it took me a few attempts to get a complete ISBN since it wasn’t that easy to see.
And guess what I discover when I use the ISBN that I got from the manga that TR Media published?
The ISBN turns out to be the manga that belongs to Viz Media, not TR Media.
If you’re wondering whether TR Media is a legit publisher or not, then my discovery should have already answered your question by now.
TR Media is NOT a legit publisher. And the manga that they publish is the bootleg version of the manga that Viz Media published.
This is only the beginning
It’s sad to say that TR Media isn’t the only player in town. We also have KL Jump which publishes bootleg SPY x FAMILY and Blue Lock manga, to name a few.
Will there be more to come?
Well, I won’t be surprised at all that we’ll be seeing more bootleg manga coming our way anytime soon.
When in doubt, use the ISBN Search to find out whether the book is legit or not.
Or you can simply not buy the manga at all.
The choice is all yours.
P.S Some of you may not know that I’m an author who writes thriller and suspense light novels. It’s because of this reason I know a lot about the ISBN and copyright page.
If this is the kind of book that you enjoy reading, you can have a look at any of my books right here on my Payhip store:
Thriller and suspense light novels by Sekina Mayu
Interested in buying any of my books? Don’t forget to use the coupon code SEKINAMAYUBLOG to get 25% off on your order.
Just to let you know that all books that I sell on my Payhip store are in digital format. That means you’ll get instant access right away after you already completed the payment.