Viz Media has really embraced digital publishing in the last few months. Ever since they announced their iPad only app, they have been releasing new volumes practically every week. They now have over 100 volumes from their Shonen Jump, Shojo Beat and Shonen Jump Advanced lines available for download, mostly from older well-known titles such as Dragon Ball/Z, Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, Vampire Knight , Otomen, and Ouran High School Host Club. They have also started dabbling releasing digital content before or in the same month as print releases, with Bakuman and Blue Exorcist.
Viz has been hyping changes lately. Back in July, at SDCC, they promised big changes for Shonen Jump. Two weeks ago, they started hinting at “big changes” coming “soon”. Those “big changes” have finally been revealed. Shonen Jump will have some exclusive online manga that only subscribers can access, and they will be selling manga through an iPad app. Whoo. Big changes. Yeah….uh, no. There is nothing really big about these announcements, nor are they any real changes.
One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall
Last Friday night, news started coming in over twitter that Amazon had pulled the buy buttons from all of publisher MacMillian’s books from their website. The books could only be purchased there from 3rd party sellers, and this was for both print and digital books. This included all of their imprints such as First Second books, Tor, and Seven Seas Entertainment. The New York Times then broke the story that Amazon and MacMillian were arguing over Amazon’s $9.99 pricing for e-books. MacMillian, one of the 5 publishers who had signed on to Apple’s iBooks store with the tiered pricing plan, now wanted Amazon to do the same. Amazon’s reaction was to pull MacMillian’s books. You can get a lot of links to reactions here. By Sunday, Amazon had posted to their blog that they would have to give in to MacMillian’s demands, and as of this writing, the publisher’s books were being made available again. This has been brewing for quite some time, and it seems only with the advent of the Apple iPad and iBooks store that publishers seem to be embolden enough to push for the tiered pricing. While the iPad/iBooks is an alternative, I don’t think it’s going to be as definitive as they believe. But the fact that Amazon has admitted it will cave shows they knew this was inevitable, and held the line as long as they could. Whether readers will go along is another matter all together.