Which of the massive number of titles released in Japan will have a large enough following in the U.S. to make it worth the publishers’ time and money to obtain rights and translate?!
One way is through “Scanlation” pages.
“Scanlation” pages have arisen, often run by groups of fans, as a place to not only discuss and recommend their favorite titles but also as a way of providing access to those titles, in English, to their fellow fans. These fan driven sites allow individuals to work together scanning and translating their favorite manga so that it can be enjoyed by other people who would not be able to read it in the original Japanese. Individual issues are usually available for download for a very small fee or even for free.
These sites are beneficial for fans because:
They provide access to the newest manga, in English, for a very small fee or even for free
Fan run sites lead to a sense of community and authenticity in the reviews and suggestions
Instead of being persecuted for breaking copyright laws, many of these sites have developed a symbiotic relationship with both the Japanese and U.S. publishers. It helps the Japanese publishers because it increases the number of readers who can become fans of their series and it works well for the American publishers because it helps them to determine which series have the potential fan base to make it worth their efforts to translate and publish series in the U.S.
“Scanlation” pages can help publishers to determine which of the massive number of titles released in Japan they should obtain rights for and translate.
They can also be considered helpful by the manga-ka themselves as a way to get insight into the minds of their fans and see what aspects are working or not working so they can (if they want to) cater more to the desires of their fan base.
In order to continue the amicable relationship they have with publishers “scanlation” sites usually remove issues once a series has been licensed by an English publisher.