Continuing its efforts to diversify its publishing program, Tokyopop is launching Manga Chapters, a series of prose chapter books, and Manga Readers, short manga graphic novels. The Readers will start this summer and the chapter books in the fall. The series will launch with three titles each, and Tokyopop looks to eventually publish 12—18 titles a year, split evenly between the two series.

Tokyopop editor-in-chief Mike Kiley described Manga Chapters as a "hybrid format," short 90-page prose works aimed at 6—9-year-olds and priced at $4.99, with both spot illustrations and passages of manga-style comics that Kiley likened to Scholastic's Captain Underpants series. Manga Readers are 90-page, all-comics works priced at $5.99 and targeting readers age 8—12.

Senior editor Nicole Monastirsky will oversee both series, which will debut with original material and eventually include licensed properties from Japan and elsewhere around the world. Kiley said the series will get "significant co-op and display support at retail." Like its recently announced Pop Fiction prose line (Foreword, May 1), Kiley said these new kids'-oriented series are an effort to get Tokyopop titles into "a part of the bookstore we haven't been in and to widen the demographic of people comfortable reading manga in the U.S. market."