The tablet content wars continue as Barnes & Noble announced a deal with manga publisher Viz Media to bring its Japanese graphic novels to the Nook Tablet and Nook Color devices. Viz Media will offer 18 series on the Nook devices including such bestselling series as Naruto, Bleach, Cross Game and Vampire Knight. Viz’s digital manga will be priced at $4.99 to $9.99 and the titles are available beginning today.
Viz has launched its own website (Vizmanga.com) to offer digital access to its titles in addition to a Viz app for Apple apps device to sell digital manga. This is its first deal to offer its digital manga through a retailer device. Indeed after many years of complaints from fans and U.S. licensees that Japanese licensors of manga were dragging their feet in making digital manga available, Viz has been aggressive over the last two years in making its bestselling manga available in digital formats. Legal digital access at reasonable prices is considered by most observers to be the best way to counter the effects of digital piracy of manga, which many manga professionals believe has undermined manga print sales in recent years.
Alvin Lu, Viz senior v-p and general manager, said more than 100 volumes of Viz manga will be available at the launch and he expects to expand the selection to more than 500 volumes in the coming months. “The Barnes & Noble team and VIZ Media have put together a fantastic manga reading experience,” Lu said, noting that Nook consumers have, “full control of their reading experience with the ability to pinch and zoom to dive into the tiniest details.” Viz's digital manga titles in English are also formatted to be read from right to left as they are in the original Japanese.
“Barnes & Noble has been a major partner with VIZ Media for many years in growing the North American print manga market, and we’re very excited to expand our relationship to make our vast digital library of manga titles available." Lu said.