I don't normally pass along anything that comes as part of a press release, but this one really intrigues me, and I wanted to make a few comments on it.
Digital Manga just sent out a press release announcing that they are teaming up with Tokyopop to offer some of Tokyopop's BLU line on EManga.com. EManga is an online site that already offers quite as bit of manga from Digital Manga's various imprints. There will be 12 titles to start, each priced at $5.99, significantly lower than BLU's $13.99 paper price point.
Per the press release, the initial titles include: Liberty Liberty! by Hinako Takanaga, Calling by Miu Otsuki, Croquis by Hinako Takanaga, Cute Devil by Hiro Madarame, Isle of Forbidden Love by Duo Brand, Blood Honey by Sakyou Yozakura, Love Knot by Lemon Ichijo, Madness volumes 1 & 2 by Kairi Shimotsuki, Scarlet by Hiro Madarame, Secretary’s Love by Tohko Akiba and Stray Cat by Halco.
I think this is an absolutely brilliant move. Tokyopop gets a chance to test the waters of taking some of their comics online, and does it with an imprint that publishes Yaoi, already a popular offering on EManga. They don't have to establish an internet presence, because Digital Manga already has one that works. Plus, if this goes well for both parties, Tokyopop can start adding other titles to the mix from their main line, matching up with the Digital Manga imprint offering that are not Yaoi.
The only downside to EManga is that you must be connected to the internet to view the comics, but that doesn't seem to hurt the existing comics and is unlikely to deter folks already comfortable with reading things like webcomics. Because EManga uses Adobe, it does knock out Ipad folks, at least for now. That's about the only drawback I can see from this deal, however.
The price seems about right to me, though since I'm not a huge fan of Yaoi, it's unlikely I personally would pay six dollars to read the BLU comics. Start adding Tokyopop's back catalog on the other hand, and now we're talking. It's one reason I'm really hoping this pairing works out, because there's a lot of Tokyopop comics I'd hesitate on for $11, but would grab for $6, even if I can only read them online. After all, in this day and age of wireless, it's rare for me to be in a place that doesn't have internet access.
I'll be curious to see how this works out for Tokyopop and Digital Manga. From the outside looking in, I think it's a win-win proposition that shows companies within the manga world can work together to put together a legal online product. I'm sure that's part of the goal here, and I support it 100%. For Yaoi fans---what do you think of this deal? Are you excited at the idea of getting more online manga, or will you wait for a different digital format? Let me know!
Disclosure: Information used in this article comes courtesy of Digital Manga.