If you’ve been reading a lot of manga on the internet, you may have noticed a mark like this floating around:
Very slick, very stylish, very official looking. But what is it?
As it says next to the asterisk, ABJ stands for “Authorized Books of Japan.” According to the Association for E-publishing Business Solution (AEBS) website, the ABJ Mark is a registered trademark which demonstrates that the digital publishing service (app, website, etc.) has received permission from the copyright holder to distribute their works and has been recognized as an official distribution service.
What is the ABJ Mark for?
The mark was created with the goal of providing an environment where fans can read the materials without worry, and where the development and improvement of a healthy reading market is encouraged. In order to do this, services with the ABJ Mark are required (barring special circumstances) to display it somewhere on their homepage. (You can find ours at the bottom of our homepage, right above all of our social media links!) Along with the mark, ABJ-approved services must include a message describing the mark with a link to the AEBS webpage for more information.
Who can use the ABJ Mark?
Any digital publishing service (which provides its readers direct access to their properties) is eligible for the ABJ Mark. It doesn’t matter if their services cost money or not, nor does it matter if they provide downloadable files or if readers view them directly on the platform. However, they must have a business representative based somewhere in Japan, as well as someone capable of legally representing them who has a good grasp of the workings of the business.
The application process consists of two main steps:
1) Apply to be recognized as a business (i.e. become an official member)
2) Apply to be recognized as an official service provider (be that via website or via an app)
Both of these steps include intense reviews by an approval committee, but the AEBS website provides a detailed procedural manual about the whole process.
Just knowing that your favorite service has gone through such an intense process can be reassuring by itself. And on top of that, by supporting these online services with the ABJ Mark, you can also rest assured that you are supporting your favorite authors, artists, and other creators!
If you’re curious about whether the services you use are ABJ approved (and you can’t find/didn’t notice the mark on their homepage), you can find the list of ABJ approved services listed here (Japanese):
* Left column: Registration Number
Center column: Service Name
Right column: Parent Company Name
You can also check out the official website for more information! (in Japanese only)
About Manga Planet: Read manga, support artists
In 2012, Manga Planet started as a joint project between Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. and FANTASISTA, INC. to research and explore the ways manga is read throughout the world. Aiming to bring new manga to fans from all over the world and support artists and the industry, Manga Planet pushes for affordability and access to manga through a subscription-based service.
Readers who subscribe to Manga Planet and pay a flat monthly fee of $6.99 will have access to our expanding library of English-language manga. By the end of 2020, subscribers will have unlimited access to at least 500 titles. To subscribe, please go to read.mangaplanet.com and create an account. More information is in our Guide.