Kodansha Goes Digital, Ignores ComiXology

Kodansha Comics logo

Earlier this month, Kodansha Comics announced that they were launching an ebook program. (In spite of their name, Kodansha publishes manga, including such well-known titles as Akira, The Ghost in the Shell, Fairy Tail, and Sailor Moon.) They announced the debut on “multiple platforms, including Apple’s iBookstore, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Google Play”… but not the best-known comic site, comiXology. But then, their American partner is Random House, so they’re focused on the bookstore market and book readers.

“As digital is becoming a key part of our manga publishing in Japan, we look forward to starting a program in America,” said Yasumasa Shimizu, president of Kodansha Comics. “Our partnership with Random House gives us access to the widest audience possible, and we look forward to providing our readers with some of the best manga in the world.”

“We’re incredibly excited to help Kodansha launch their eBook program in the United States,” said Jeff Abraham, president of Random House Publisher Services. “Kodansha has been leading the manga bestseller lists lately, and we look forward to seeing the same on the digital charts.”

Digital pricing will be the same as print, an unpopular decision (although the one title I checked at Amazon is being offered at 27% off, or $8 instead of $11). Another choice not highlighted in the announcement is that, according to Anime News Network, “The current Kodansha [iPad] app will no longer be updated,” although previously purchased books will still be usable there.

The Kodansha Comics ebook site (link no longer available) lets you sign up for a newsletter. There are two free digital samplers available that contain the first chapters of all the titles in the program. Those titles are:

  • Arisa
  • Bloody Monday
  • Danza
  • Genshiken
  • Genshiken 2
  • I Am Here
  • Kitchen Princess
  • Missions of Love
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei
  • Vinland Saga
  • At Full Moon
  • Attack on Titan
  • Cage of Eden
  • Fairy Tail
  • Mardock Scramble
  • Ninja Girls
  • No. 6
  • Sankarea
  • Until the Full Moon

Of particular note is the inclusion of the highly-anticipated Vinland Saga, which doesn’t appear in print until October 8.

Update: John Jakala has posted his experience trying to access the books digitally, particularly focusing on Kindle for iPad users.

Update 2: Kodansha Comics has confirmed no plans at this time to work with comiXology.

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