Sep 09, 2014
Screw piracy! You want to read manga for free, at the same time it’s available in its home country? Viz is there for you! As of next Monday, December 17, the manga publisher will be releasing chapters digitally weekly, simultaneously with Japan, on shonenjump.com or via their app. Titles include One Piece, My Hero Academia, Boruto, and Dragon Ball Super.
What’s the catch? To read chapters beyond the three most recent, you have to become a member for archive access, which is where they get their money. That’s $1.99 a month, which seems totally reasonable. There’s even a seven-day free trial. The publisher says:
Our goal has always been about making manga more readily available to more people. By making the newest content available to everyone for free, we give manga fans an official and trustworthy source as an alternative to pirate sites. This will help grow support for creators with official versions.
Also, free samples get people reading, which drives demand for print versions and digital “back issues”. Instead of higher cover prices, this approach seems to go for attracting quantity audiences.
As the video points out, the magazine brand is celebrating its 15th anniversary, having started in print in 2003, with a digital version in 2012. That digital accumulation of chapters is going away, in favor of serializing the titles directly. Let’s hope this is successful enough that it gets a companion title called Shojo Beat.