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Japanese Publisher Libre: Now On Kindle?

I spotted a manga listing directly from a Japanese publisher on Amazon today.


I spotted something veeeery interesting while I was stumbling through Amazon today. Let me preface by noting that Amazon's Kindle is no newbie to manga, even if virtually all of the titles they carry are yaoi: Yaoi Press, Digital Manga Publishing, and even creators straight from Japan (specifically Aya Fujii, whose Peach Boy was released earlier this month) have all published BL titles on the device.

 Note: this photo has been edited to suit my needs. I have no idea how this book looks on a Kindle.
 Note: this photo has been edited to suit my needs. I have no idea how this book looks on a Kindle.
But this is something a little different: I spotted a Kindle title called Delivery Cupid on Amazon. It stood out to me because Delivery Cupid has already come out in English in North America-- it was one of the few BL titles released by Broccoli Books USA before the company shut down. So I clicked the listing for more details and discovered that Delivery Cupid appeared on the Kindle on March 24th, and its publisher is listed as Libre Publishing Co. Ltd-- also known as Libre Shuppan, Japan's biggest BL publisher. It is, as far as I can tell, the only Libre listing on Amazon.

So there you have it: a Japanese publisher reaching out to the North American audience without the benefit of a middleman. Or mostly-- obviously Libre had the bonus of having a fully localized copy of the book already in their hands thanks to Broccoli. On the other hand, mangaka Aya Fujii apparently hired her own translator for her Peach Boy series. Still, though, I believe this is the first Japanese publisher I've heard of publishing manga on the Kindle in English.

It's not exactly unheard of for Japanese publishers to consider alternatives to the licensing route; I recall a particular program that was designed around the idea that its users would translate the manga, and could then sell the translations via the same program, with a portion of the profits going back to the original publisher. But none of the major pubs seemed very interested in it, and the program dwindled.

But here we are, with a well-known Japanese publisher dipping its toes directly into the waters of North American manga readers.

What do you think? Could a day come in the future when Japanese publishers retain their own translators and release titles digitally, rather than licensing them out? Anime companies are half-doing it via Crunchyroll, which generally helps them out on the translation front but which does not provide physical copies. 

More importantly, would you be interested in getting manga in this manner? You don't have to have a Kindle to read a Kindle book, after all; Amazon released free software for reading them. Would you try it?
Karasuon March 29, 2010 at 2:13 p.m.
I. Love. It. More like this, please. I absolutely want to see some middle-man cutting. (I have nothing against US publishers, but it's not like they're creating any of their content. It's more like scanlation meets venture capitalism.) I'd hope that less middle-man means more $$ to the mangaka (but I'll believe it when I see it).
 
I would absolutely try it, especially since I don't need to own a Kindle. I will never own a Kindle or Nook. I may one day own an iPad if they become a little more useful, but I'm personally very happy to read manga on my computer.
 
Any manga coming through Barnes & Noble's ebooks, yet?
MorpheusDreamweaveron March 29, 2010 at 2:44 p.m.
Maybe if I ever decide to get a dedicated eBook reader or an iPad. I spend enough time in front of a computer now; I don't really want to add in manga reading time.
giaon March 29, 2010 at 2:51 p.m.
@Karasu: Not much from B&N-- a search for manga in their eBook section mostly turns up novels that have manga tie-ins (Maximum Ride, Cirque du Freak), but not any manga themselves.
Vorsicon March 29, 2010 at 3:08 p.m.
Not only am I   interested but I have already bought manga in this manner. I just wish there was an easier way to find out about new releases.
giaon March 29, 2010 at 8:09 p.m.
@Vorsic: Sorry I was too late to break the good news to you this time. :)

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