Penguin Group USA is ramping up its manga publishing program, entering into a three-year agreement with Digital Manga, a California-based publisher, to publish a series of YA and adult titles in the genre.

Penguin will publish eight to 10 titles in 2005 and 10 to 15 titles in the following years. The deal was brokered by Eloise Flood, publisher of Razorbill, the newly launched teen imprint from Penguin Young Readers Group, and Hikaru Sasahara, CEO of Digital Manga. Flood said Penguin has been "watching with awe" as manga sales have exploded, and decided to make a go of it.

Over the last few years, Sasahara has positioned Digital Media as a kind of full-service provider of Japanese pop culture. The company has partnered with Dark Horse to publish a number of bestselling manga titles, and also offers an online store for Japanese pop-culture material and a manga and anime news site.

Isaac Lew, director of sales for Digital Manga, said that the company will find titles and prepare preliminary translations for Penguin editors. Penguin will integrate graphic novels throughout its various imprints, including the Berkley adult list.