Japanese comic book publisher Shueisha has launched MANGA Plus, which is a brand new digital manga series that offers simultaneous publication of the company’s titles within the same time frame as Japan.
The service is available globally, except for countries that already offers similar service like Japan, China and South Korea, through their mobile apps, which can be downloaded on Android and iOS devices, as well as visiting their website.
MANGA Plus will be available in English language at launch, but they plan to launch a Spanish version of the service possibly within February or March, and they would consider adding more languages if there is such demand.
The new digital manga service will have over 30 titles will come from Shueisha’s current line-up on Weekly Shonen Jump, Jump Square magazines and Jump+ digital service, which will be available on the same day as it released in Japan.
The new service also added about 13 completed manga titles, including Naruto, Dragon Ball, and Assassination Classroom.
The first three chapters and the latest three chapters of each currently serialized titles are free-to-read, but will be supported by advertisements. Portions of the ad revenue will be given directly to the manga creators.
The launch of the new manga service comes after North American licensor Viz Media had relaunched their English language Shonen Jump into a digital manga service last December, which is available in several countries including the Philippines.
The Shonen Jump service offers the latest chapters of currently serialized titles on the same day it is released in Japan, but also offers paid membership where users have access to their digital vault, including complete chapters of Weekly Shonen Jump and Jump Square titles, for only USD1.99 (PHP105) per month.
In an interview with Anime News Network, Shonen Jump+ editor Shuhei Hosono explained that one of the differences of Shueisha’s service from Viz’s service are the titles that will be available on MANGA Plus.
“For starters, there will be more titles available through MANGA Plus. We plan to add as many titles as we can, even relatively minor ones that previously never had in English release,” Hosono said.
Hosono also adds that the new service will be available in more regions, and previously under-served regions can now read manga through the app. This will be the first time that the publisher expands their direct service globally.