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Viz Media Launches Manga App for iPad Users

Viz Media announced the launch of their new iPad application earlier in the week – a digital shop downloadable on iPads where users can purchase volumes of their manga.

Volumes in this digital format will cost $4.99 each and Viz Media is currently offering the first volume of Death Note for free so readers can test out the program. Currently they’re offering the company’s big-name titles such as One Piece, Naruto and Dragonball. iTunes lists volumes of One Piece as being the top sellers on the app since its debut.

Personally this news doesn’t interest me much because, well, I don’t own an iPad. Even if I did, I prefer books in paper-format – personal preferable. For those who have an iPad and enjoy reading comics digitally, however, I can of course see the more jump-for-joy reasoning here.

Looking at from sheerly from an audience perspective, those who own an iPad have proven themselves already the type more apt to pay money for their hobbies and entertainment. It’s a perfect environment to find manga fans and create new ones on those grounds alone. Still, I have to wonder – those who own the iPad, are they the 12-16 year old audience that thebooks Viz Media is offering are aimed for? Highly doubtful. That Viz Media wouldn’t come out of the gate with more mature titles such as their Sig Ikki series, most of which already have at least some kind of digital rights as they’re posted to the imprint’s website on a weekly basis, boggles my mind and is a bit disappointing.

I’m not saying that readers of any age can’t or don’t enjoy the Shonen Jump big-guns, and there’s certainly value in putting out the big-sellers, but they hardly seem strong titles to use in reaching out to the vast majority of iPad owners who likely don’t read manga in the first place. It feels a mix-match of audiences.

Then again, the app has only been out since November 2nd, so who knows how many or how potentially diverse their manga offerings could be in the future.

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Kuriousity.ca. Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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2 Responses

  1. Peronally, I'm disappointed with the app. But, then again as you said, it's only been out since Nov 2nd. At the moment, there are SIX series available: Bakuman, Bleach, Death Note, Dragon Ball, Naruto, and One Piece. And when I say "series", I actually mean the first two volumes. Except Bakuman which has only the FIRST volume (the one that I would think would be the biggest draw). Unfortunately, it's been that way, unchanged, since November 2nd. They put up the store and then forgot about it for the next 2 weeks and counting. I'd personally love to get Bakuman vol 2, but I guess I'll have to download it elsewhere instead. VIZ's loss.

  2. Andre says:

    Keep in mind that Bakuman Vol.2 was just released in print a week ago or so. I imagine they'd ramp up the number of releases if it does well, but are playing safe for now and putting up vol.1's and 2's of megapopular backlist titles [to me, that's the big thing people seem to not be reacting to- they didn't just slap up random older titles probably licensed direct from the artist ala NTTSolmare's Hibari-kun or Sei Leeza's stuff, or put up titles they have more room to experiment with like SigIkki's titles. They went with their bread and butter, titles from ShonenJump, Japan's biggest magazine, and the artists of said titles agreed to it all. It's a pretty major step].

    If you can't wait and want to read vol.2 of Bakuman, it's only $10 at just about any bookstore/comicshop. I imagine VIZ will eventually put it on the Ipad, how quickly probably depends on how well things are going. Give them some time. There's also getting a ShonenJump subscription, which will give you access to some preview chapters of Bakuman's upcoming volumes according to VIZ's PR, along with ongoing updates of Nura.

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