Kodansha has announced that all 22 of the company’s manga magazines will get a simultaneous digital release with their print editions by June of 2015. The digital versions of these publications will be available in Japan through Amazon Japan, Rakuten Books, eBook Japan, Yahoo Japan’s Bookstore, BookLive and Line Manga. The decision to release simultaneous digital editions of the magazines with their print counterparts is part of the company’s plan to further modernize its business and to cater to Japan’s growing number of mobile device users.
The head of Kodansha’s digital business stated that “our rivals are not just other publishers, but also videos and games. I want to come up with a way to get [audiences] to choose [our content] from among all the ordinary content.”
Weekly Young Magazine (print circulation 670,000) was the first publication to undergo this change on January 5, 2015 with its sixth 2015 issue. Monthly Shonen Magazine (print circulation 660,000) followed on January 6, 2015 with its February 2015 issue, and Weekly Shonen Magazine (print circulation 1.32 million) made this change on January 7, 2015 with its sixth issue of 2015. The company is also planning to release digital backnumber issues of previous magazine publications for these three titles in the near future.
Kodansha has had to speed up its manga digitization efforts after Shueisha Inc. released a digital version of its Weekly Shonen Jump manga anthology in Japan in 2014. Weekly Shonen Jump is the archrival of Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine.
Previously, Kodansha started publishing its Morning magazine digitally simultaneously in May 2013.
Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer and blogger who has spent the past seven years writing about anime and manga. She served as the Anime Editor for BellaOnline for almost six years, and was also a contributor to Blogcritics.org’s “Sixty Minute Manga” feature for almost two years. She also served as the Lead News Editor for the Digital Media FX website in the early 2000s.