Two years ago, Viz Media made big news when they converted their manga magazine Shonen Jump from a print monthly to a digital weekly, with new manga chapters running almost simultaneously with their Japanese release. A year later, they went to simultaneous release with Japan. Shonen Jump carries some of the best selling manga in the U.S., including Naruto and One Piece, and the print edition was the best selling monthly comic in the U.S., with over 100,000 readers, both subscribers and newsstand customers. Switching to digital allowed Shonen Jump to offer fresher manga but also cut into that existing reader base quite a bit.
Now they are going back to the newsstand with a print anthology, the Weekly Shonen Jump Jump Pack, which bundles manga chapters together with a Yu-Gi-Oh trading card (these things are like gold to some people). The promo says it allows access to three months’ worth of Shonen Jump, and it looks like it comes with a digital subscription. The price is a hefty $19.99, but you get a lot of content for that. This collection is sold only through Diamond Comics Distributors, which means it is going to comics shops (not newsstands), and it seems to be aimed at enticing the traditional Shonen Jump customers to sign on to the digital product. The press release says this is the “first full issue,” which suggests it will be released on a regular basis.
For those who are already comfortable with digital, Viz is also offering a free Weekly Shonen Jump Starter Pack, which includes the first chapter of their new manga All You Need Is Kill (which is being made into the movie Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise), as well as chapters of Naruto, One Piece, and other Shonen Jump series. All You Need Is Kill is a light novel that was adapted into manga form by Takeshi Obata, the artist for Death Note, Bakuman, and Hikaru No Go.
A former book editor and newspaper reporter, Brigid Alverson started MangaBlog to keep track of her daughters¹ reading habits and now covers comics and graphic novels for Comic Book Resources , School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Robot 6, and MTV Geek. She also edits the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. Brigid was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards. Send her an email to firstname.lastname@example.org