Kyocera and E-Book Japan Announces Partnership to Distribute E-Manga in Asia

Japan E-book Initiative (EBI), Kyocera Communication (KCCS), and Singapore Kyocera Communication Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. (KCAP) announced last month a partnership to distribute manga digitally overseas starting 9/19. KCCS and KCAP will be responsible for financial matters, advertising, and customer service. EBI will be in charge the software and the content.

imgThe service will initially be available only in Singapore, but there is plan to extend the service to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe, and America are planned to follow in 2007. The overall goal of Kyocera is to raise sales to 200 million yen in two years.

The "E-Book Japan Asia," the online e-manga distribution service, will be based in Japan. The content will initially be divided into 30 categories and 100 volumes, and is expected to reach 300 volumes before the end of this year. Each volume costs between 5.8 - 8.8 Singapore dollar (3.6 - 5.6 USD).

The browser currently being used by the service is able to translate the dialogue into Chinese, and reverse the reading order of the characters for foreigners. The proprietary browser also incorporates a compression/encryption that prevents downloaded manga being read with other softwares, and makes downloaded content almost impossible to print in order to protect the copyright of downloaded works.

Manga available during the initial launch includes The Rose of Versailles, Ashita Tenki ni Nare!, Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro, and other old series. EBI President & CEO Yuusuke Suzuki remarked, "We picked series that will be enjoyed by everyone, so that even those who don't read manga will be able to understand the benefit of manga." The reason to bring this service to other parts of Asia is to nourish relationship between Japan and its neighbors, "to promote better understanding between people through manga."