Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

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    ロケット団よ永遠 Dogasu's Avatar Retired Staff
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    Default Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/book-news/comics/article/45034-viz-media-releases-free-viz-manga-app-for-the-ipad.html

    In a move that should delight fans of Japanese comics while stepping up the fight against manga piracy, Viz Media is releasing a free iPad app today that will allow consumers to purchase and download Viz Media manga titles. The Viz Media App will be available for download through the iTunes store and will launch offering five of Viz's bestselling manga series selling for $4.99 per volume. For a limited time, Viz will also offer volume one of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s bestselling manga Death Note for free download.

    The move immediately supplies digital editions of some of the most popular Japanese comics in the world at a time when the Japanese manga industry has been accused of dragging its feet on digital delivery. Viz is launching the new iPad app with five of their most popular series, Bleach (vols. 1-2), Death Note (vols. 1-2), Dragon Ball (vol. 1), Naruto (Vols. 1-2) and One Piece (vols. 1-2) as well as the recently published Bakuman vol. 1. In the coming weeks Ouran High School Host Club (vol. 1) will be available. By the first week of December, Viz will release addition digital editions of Bakuman as well as D. Gray Man, Rurouni Kenshin and Vampire Knight. The Viz app was developed in-house at Viz Media and it can be downloaded here.

    Alvin Lu, senior v-p and general manager of Viz Media, said that while the details surrounding digital publishing remain “largely unmapped and fast changing,” he said the release of the Viz iPad app offers “a clear roadmap of where we want to go in this digital terrain.” New material will be released every week Lu said, “we’ll be adjusting the schedule as the app, and response, evolves.” While Viz already does some simultaneous publishing of Japanese and English language editions, Lu said that the publisher has "considered" a smaller window between English print and digital release. "We’ve considered it and we’ll just say, 'more to come' on this," Lu said.

    The new Viz iPad app puts Viz ahead of most of other American-based publishers of Japanese manga in translation. Viz Media is jointly owned by the Japanese publishing houses of Shueisha, Shagakukan and its licensing unit Shagakukan Productions. The long awaited release of an iPad app will allow fans to download and purchase manga legally instead of seeking out scanlations, the English translations of Japanese manga made by fans and illegally posted online to read for free. Once a booming graphic novel category, U.S. manga sales have declined in recent years and some retailers and publishers believe that scanlations are undermining the sales of manga in the U.S. At the same time fans and some U.S. licensees complain that Japanese publishers have been slow to make manga available in the most popular digital formats, resulting in more potential readers getting their manga online at pirate sites for free.

    Back in June, a group of more than 36 American and Japanese publishers that included Viz, joined together to launch an anti-scanlation coalition. Lu said that the release of the Viz App, “is not primarily a tool to fight scanlations and piracy—that’s not the business we’re in here.” He pointed out the anti-scanlation coalition to emphasize that, “we’ve already taken significant steps.” But he also said, “it’ll probably help. And as our efforts in this area continue to evolve, it will help more.”

    The iPad, the first handheld device that lets users read a full comics page easily, is driving the digital strategy of most comics publishers. While the combination of the device and popular titles will likely attract new readers, it remains to be see if longtime manga fans be tempted by titles that they have probably already read. In addition, the first titles offered do not include such series as Vagabond, Solanin, Tekkonkinkreet, a more literary brand of manga aimed at an older readership. But Lu said, “We want to get as broad a slate of titles on to Viz manga as possible. But especially it’s going to be interesting to see the response to the different kinds of series, and to see if that’s mirrored, or not, in the response to the print publications.”

    Lu acknowledged that “a lot of people are going to try the iPad out for the novelty,” but he believes the “manga cognoscenti” will likely use it to try series they haven’t already read and to catchup on volumes they have missed. “We actually think there are people who’ve not read every single volume of every series. Our goal here of course is to stamp out any excuses not to keep up with the stories and characters you know and love and make it as easy as possible to find out what’s happening next.”

    While there have been some early efforts to make manga available on the iPad in Japan, Lu said that initially the Viz app is being rolled out only in the U.S. and Canada. Asked if there was concern about the effects of digital delivery on physical bookstores and print sales, Lu said they “were not anticipating any major effects on print sales at the outset. Part of this is just the market penetration of the device itself, the numbers of people downloading publishing content through it.” But he also said that, “we know the situation is changing rapidly. We’ll be watching carefully and make the necessary adjustments.”

    Asked about the possibility of publishing original manga through the app as well as whether Viz will provide app support for iPhone, iPod and Android platforms, Lu would only say that there’s “more to come” on these issues.

    Lu said that as important as it is to finally make Viz manga editions available for sale digitally, “we’re continuously gauging response to all of our digital delivery initiatives—whether that’s our VIZ Anime site, our DTO [download to own] offerings, simultaneous [Japanese and English] publishing like Rin-ne, and the VIZ Manga app—and are already moving swiftly and flexibly through this rapidly evolving and unpredictable environment. We know what we want to do, but as we implement our initiatives—and this is the exciting part, the part we really want to get into—the fan response is really what’s going to shape things to come.”
    Viz hasn't announced that they'll be putting any Pokemon titles up, but I think it's definitely worth keeping an eye on.
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    *rules with cotton fist* Kayi-chan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

    I love this!



    No, seriously, I do. Both as a manga fan and as a developer.

    Firstly, this will make manga more easily available to people that need to physically travel over to the USA to get the manga at good prices (taxes for importing it in any other way are... ugh)

    For the second point, this is yet another unexpected but awesome application for technology. I'd totally buy an iPad now



    ...now, the only thing remaining for Viz is to start translating manga into Spanish too

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    空前絶後 NeoKING's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

    This opens lots of opportunities. For example, they can release PKMN manga that they never did digitally instead of making actual volumes that would cost them more money if they bomb. But, chances are they wouldn't even release Adventures on this because "Little kids don't iPad."
    "95% of the people who are able to read kana think that this automatically makes them know the entire Japanese language, as opposed to actually knowing little more than a first-year student of the language. If you are one of the 5% of that population who believes that being able to read kana is not impressive at all, copy and paste this into your sig."

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    Registered User Adamant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

    I don't own an iPad, so this doesn't really concern me, but despite Viz stating this service isn't meant to combat scanslations, you'd think the people who primarily read those would be far more likely to "convert" had they gone with a subscription-based non-downloadable service like Marvel did.

    Debuting with such a painfully tiny selection of material probably isn't the best idea, either. Most people who know of this service likely either own or have no interest in most of those 9 non-Bakuman volumes.
    So.

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    Who am I? Joshawott's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

    I hope they make this available for the iPod Touch...and the UK.

    As a writer, I understand that this kind of move was inevitable. E-Reader devices have been dominating the market, as have E-Books in general. Also, this will mean readers will be able to get the titles for cheaper, as there's no longer a need for costs of printing and distribution - it's a more direct service.

    However, as others have said, most people who this would appeal too would have read or own those non-Bakugan titles. Out of the launch titles, the only ones I don't own are the Dragonball volumes. What would make this a success though, is if they can arrange a simulcast-type release with the Japanese. For example, a chapter is published in Japan on Monday, English language release on Wednesday. Won't beat scanlation, but it'll help.

    However, nothing beats actually holding a physical book.

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    空前絶後 NeoKING's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryu Shoji View Post
    I hope they make this available for the iPod Touch...and the UK.

    As a writer, I understand that this kind of move was inevitable. E-Reader devices have been dominating the market, as have E-Books in general. Also, this will mean readers will be able to get the titles for cheaper, as there's no longer a need for costs of printing and distribution - it's a more direct service.

    However, as others have said, most people who this would appeal too would have read or own those non-Bakugan titles. Out of the launch titles, the only ones I don't own are the Dragonball volumes. What would make this a success though, is if they can arrange a simulcast-type release with the Japanese. For example, a chapter is published in Japan on Monday, English language release on Wednesday. Won't beat scanlation, but it'll help.

    However, nothing beats actually holding a physical book.
    Lol, you said "BakuGan," XD.

    But I think they should start new series with this service, or at least previews.
    "95% of the people who are able to read kana think that this automatically makes them know the entire Japanese language, as opposed to actually knowing little more than a first-year student of the language. If you are one of the 5% of that population who believes that being able to read kana is not impressive at all, copy and paste this into your sig."

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    not a bear ayotui's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

    now if only apple were to release the ipad here i would be able to read some manga, plus free death note.

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    Who am I? Joshawott's Avatar Forum Head
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    Default Re: Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

    You know which one I mean...I can't stay 100% focused all the time. I was filling out a job application as I wrote that - I have an excuse xD

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    A black and white world Blackjack Gabbiani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

    That sounds pretty interesting.

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    Default Re: Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

    Huh. I don't have an iPad (and I don't know anyone who actually does), but I think this is a nifty idea. Has potential, at least.

    *quietly hopes for additional Pokemon releases on this service... yeah, right*

  11. #11
    ロケット団よ永遠 Dogasu's Avatar Retired Staff
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    Default Re: Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoKING
    This opens lots of opportunities. For example, they can release PKMN manga that they never did digitally instead of making actual volumes that would cost them more money if they bomb. But, chances are they wouldn't even release Adventures on this because "Little kids don't iPad."
    I can really see this going both ways, really.

    Digital distribution would be a great way to release some of those one-volume series (the second Mystery Dungeon one, Pokemon 7, Jou's Big Adventure, etc.) as well as the stuff that was never collected into graphic novels in the first place. Would I pay, say, $0.99 for Ono Toshihiro's adaptation of the first movie? Yes, yes I would.

    On the other hand, the part about kids not owning iPads is a valid point. Though there are articles like this that show that kids at least have an interest in owning the thing...
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Viz releases a Viz Manga app for the IPad

    Lol'd at "Shagakugan."

    That aside, it couldn't be more true that real gritting works like Vagabond and some of the other titles in the Viz Signature line aren't getting this treatment; I prefer to read them in volume form anyway (not that I read any of the "big three" on a regular basis).

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