Kadokawa has been trying to penetrate the US manga market on its own for a while now. Back in 2014, they released their Comic Walker app that was supposed to update with chapters of manga to read for free, but never went anywhere after a while. Now, it seems they are set to try again, with their new commerce site, Book Walker. They seem to be making interesting promises. The one that sticks out most to me is epub downloads. Most of the titles in English are already available, mostly from Viz Select. We’ll have to wait and see if they branch out into any new titles.
Debuting at NY Comic-Con 2015: BOOK☆WALKER
KADOKAWA’s Online Store for Manga & Light Novels direct from Japan
SEPTEMBER 24, 2015 – Kadokawa, one of Japan’s largest media, entertainment, and publishing companies is launching an English language version of BookWalker, their eBook online store in Fall 2015. Promotions will kick off at New York Comic-Con 2015, along with the addition of over 700 comic and prose titles in English – many exclusive to BookWalker.
Starting on October 8, 2015, readers around the world can check out the redesigned BookWalker website at http://global.bookwalker.jp/ and download updated versions of the BookWalker apps for iOS and Android mobile devices on the Apple App store and Google Play.
BOOK☆WALKER AT NEW YORK COMIC-CON
New York Comic-Con attendees will be able to take BookWalker for a test drive at the BookWalker booth at NYCC (#854), or try it out on their smartphones, tablets or personal computers.
Visitors to the BookWalker booth at NYCC who show the signed in BookWalker account on their phones or tablets will get a chance to win these prizes:
- Sword Art Online figures, based on the gaming fantasy anime/manga/light novel series byReki Kawahara
- Fate/stay night figures, based on the fantasy-adventure visual novel, manga and anime series by Type Moon
- Ninja Slayer tote bags, based on the action-adventure manga by Bradley Bond and Philip “Ninj@” Morzez and anime series from Studio Trigger
- Everyone will receive an $8 BookWalker gift card, which can be used to buy almost any manga or light novel on BookWalker.
JAPAN’s #1 LIGHT NOVEL DISTRIBUTOR ENTERS THE N. AMERICAN MARKET
BookWalker Co.,Ltd. is already the #1 light novel eBook retailer in Japan, with annual sales of approximately 9 billion yen (USD $75.4 million), and over 1.5 million downloads of the BookWalker apps.
BookWalker will be increasing its inventory of comics and prose books in English for the worldwide market, with the addition of over 700 titles including exclusive titles on BookWalker and new titles in October 2015, with many more to come. Readers will be able to read their books from the BookWalker iOS, Android, and PC apps, and download the ePub files directly to their devices to read them anytime, even while offline.
While fans may not be familiar with Kadokawa, many will know their line-up of bestselling manga series, including Neon Genesis Evangelion, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Sword Art Online, plus popular light (prose) novels with current anime tie-ins, including No Game, No Life and Durarara!!Kadokawa manga and light novels are currently available in print from Viz Media, Dark Horse Comics, and Vertical Comics, and many of these titles will be available as eBooks from BookWalker too.
But BookWalker is more than just an eBook store for Kadokawa titles – it’s also gearing up to be the premier destination for manga, novels, books and magazines in both English and Japanese from Japanese and American publishers, including Viz Media, Dark Horse Comics, Digital Manga, Creek & River, Cork, Futabasha, and Harlequin, with more to be added soon.
Kadokawa’s expansion into the English language eBook market is just the first of step toward their goal to make BookWalker a “full-fledged, global ebook business,” said BookWalker President Yoichi Yasumoto.
“In Japan, BookWalker is very popular ebook store with a lineup of popular manga and light novel titles from over 600 publishers, including Kodansha, Shueisha, and Square Enix,” Yasumoto explained. “Because we’re part of the Kadokawa group, one of Japan’s largest publisher of manga and light novels, BookWalker can differentiate itself from its competitors by giving readers special extras, such as free manga, giveaways of limited edition booklets, autographed volumes of manga, and limited edition illustrations that are available only to BookWalker members. Get ready for these new and exciting changes to BookWalker, as we create a one-of-a-kind eBook store where fans can find all of their favorites comics, novels and magazines in one spot, direct from Japan!”
MEET KADOKAWA BOOK☆WALKER EXECUTIVES AT NY COMIC-CON
Kadokawa / BOOK WALKER Co. Ltd. executives, including Yoichi Yasumoto, BookWalker President and Norihide Tominaga, VP of Global Business Development will be attending New York Comic-Con, and will be available to answer questions from press. Please contact Norika Suzuki for enquiries or to schedule on-site or email interviews with BookWalker executives at or before NYCC.
BookWalker is the one of Japan’s most popular reading platform to read digital manga & light novels. There have already been over 1.5 million downloads of the BookWalker apps and users are enjoying 200,000 titles from over 600 publishers including Kodansha, Shueisha, Square Enix, KADOKAWA and more. Members can read as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. BOOK WALKER Co. Ltd. is member of KADOKAWA CORPORATIONand was founded in 2010. Visit our Japanese site at: http://bookwalker.jp or English site:http://global.bookwalker.jp/
KADOKAWA is one of Japan’s largest publishers, with a deep catalog of manga, light novels, and magazines. KADOKAWA has also expanded its business into games and movies, with a media-mix strategy to better promote exciting cultural content in Japan and around the globe. KADOKAWADWANGO merged operations on Oct. 1, 2014 to establish the world’s leading platform for digital entertainment content. http://www.kadokawa.co.jp/
About NEW YORK COMIC-CON
New York Comic Con is the second largest pop culture convention in America. NYCC 2015 will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City from October 8-11, 2015. For more information about NYCC, visit: http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/