Viz Announces SuBLime Yaoi Manga Line

SuBLime Manga logo

The largest English-language manga publisher, Viz Media, has announced that they are launching a line (not an imprint, but a partnership) to cover the one genre of manga they haven’t yet tackled: yaoi (boys’ love).

In partnership with Libre Publishing, the biggest Japanese publisher of boys’ love titles, and the largest anime store chain in Japan, Animate, SuBLime Manga will being publishing English-language titles digitally in December, with print titles to follow in Spring 2012. The website is just a placeholder page at this time, but they are active on Twitter.

There are a number of forward-looking aspects to this announcement, whether it’s the digital-first approach or the lack of region-locking, as SuBLime’s releases will be available worldwide. (In contrast, many of the recent digital manga initiatives are limited to the U.S. or North America.) In addition to online access via the website, they’re also promising “download-to-own format”, where customers get the actual PDF, not just the ability to read a title through a connected viewer. It will also be DRM-free, a welcome choice. Based on this panel report, digital copies will be $5.99.

SuBLime Manga logo

(The use of PDF may increase the risk of piracy, since files are easier to share, but it’s also a clever way to get around some device providers’ more restrictive rules about what content is allowed through their proprietary stores. By giving purchasers a file, it’s their choice where and how to load it onto whatever device they choose.)

The first books available digitally are Love Pistols Volume 1 by Tarako Kotobuki (previously published by Tokyopop in 2007) and Dannasama to Mitsugetsuchu Volume 1 by Haruka Minami. The first two print books are different: Naono Bohra’s Three Wolves Mountain and Hachimitsu Darling by Norikazu Akira. (I haven’t heard of any of them, book or author, but I’m not as dedicated a follower of the yaoi genre as some.) It looks like there will be at least one book a month released online, with a couple books in print (priced at $12.99) each season. Digital works will be considered for print if they achieve high sales online, while print titles will also be available digitally.



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