With more and more scanlation aggregator sites going offline due to pressure from publishers, more digital initiatives are showing up from both the US and Japanese side to fill the void that is starting to show. Square Enix is sending out notice that they're doing just that in the fall of this year with a site for US and French fans that revolves around manga, communities, shopping and more. Through their site and their Comic-Con page, it looks as if they're planning on the following series for their launch. Check out the full PR after that.
North America: http://www.square-enix.com/na/manga/
Free previews (1st chapter) currently available:
O-Parts Hunter (666 Satan)
The Record of a Fallen Vampire
Spiral: Bonds of Reasoning
Durarara!! (While its not mentioned in SE's Manga Store, it is on their Comic Con website)
Square Enix Co., Ltd. (Square Enix®) today announced that it will launch a digital manga store serving customers in North America and France in the fall of 2010. Localized electronic editions of such popular Square Enix manga series as Fullmetal Alchemist® and Soul Eater® will be made available for the PC via the Square Enix group's North American and European websites.
Square Enix currently releases manga titles in 20 countries overseas through partnerships with local publishers. Series in circulation include Fullmetal Alchemist, with cumulative foreign shipments now surpassing 10 million units, as well as others that continue to garner worldwide acclaim, such as Soul Eater and Black Butler™.
Given the increasing popularity of electronic reading formats, Square Enix has decided to take advantage of the online distribution infrastructure originally developed for its games business, along with the company's existing payment system and online fan communities in order to establish a paid digital distribution channel to better serve the varied needs of its global customers. Square Enix will continue to work with its existing regional publishing licensees to promote both electronic and print versions of titles, while aiming to deter piracy by establishing an official web-based distribution source.
Square Enix will be demonstrating the new service on machines at Comic-Con International, which starts today through July 25, 2010 in San Diego, California. In addition, the first chapters of Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, Black Butler and O-Parts Hunter™ are available for download free of charge on the Square Enix group's North American and European websites in advance of the paid service's launch, with other series planned to follow.
Square Enix is dedicated to creating new entertainment experiences via online communities, shopping sites and other Internet-based business operations, and paid digital distribution of manga is one such endeavor toward that goal. The company plans to continue delivering a wide variety of content to an expanding global customer base through numerous outlets and multiple forms of media.
Details on the number and pricing of titles available at the store's launch will be announced at a later date.
North American and French Digital Manga Store Details
Service Launch: Fall 2010
Fees and Pricing: TBA
Note: Access to the digital manga store requires registration with the SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS site (registration free of charge). Current membership: over 1,500,000 members worldwide (as of July 14, 2010)
Access to the free downloads available on the preview site does not require SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS registration.
Supported Operating Systems / Browsers
Windows XP / Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or above, Firefox 3.x, Safari 3.x
Windows Vista / Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or above, Firefox 3.x, Safari 3.x
Mac OS X v.10.4 or above / Firefox3.x, Safari 3.x
Note: The newest Adobe Flash Player plug-in (version 10 or above) is required for all browsers.
1024 x 768 resolution or higher
ADSL or faster