'Manga' publishers see cell phones as the future


Cartoon-strip publishers, whose printed-matter sales have been losing steam, are actively embracing mobile media because cell phones are what young people are spending their time and money on. Cell phone sites for cartoon strips are booming, as is demand for popular titles. But at the same time, some famous "manga" artists are bypassing publishing houses to offer their works to "keitai" (cell phone) sites directly.

Toppan Printing Co. in April 2003 became one of the first firms to offer cartoon strips via cell phones. It currently offers 55 titles, including Reiji Matsumoto's "Ginga Tetsudo 999" ("Galaxy Railway 999") in collaboration with major publishers. The cartoons, which are converted to digital form from their original paper edition, cost 30 yen to 100 yen per episode. Company officials said they plan to add 100 more titles by the end of March.

"Sales of novels and photo books for cell phones are not bad either, but cartoon strips are deeply rooted in (the culture of) this country and are eye-catchers," said Tadashi Awano, manager of the firm's e-business division. While declining to give specific figures, he said there are "hundreds of thousands" of cartoon downloads a month. The driving force behind the cell phone cartoon boom is the introduction of high-speed third-generation wireless networks and flat rates for data communications, as well as bigger and sharper displays, according to Toppan officials. (Japan Times Online)

Manga on the go....like digital bento!.....now one can lunch while reading manga online....wonder if there is a PDA manga....it is a good and fast way to distribute manga daily.....what about anime online with 3G, daily anime on a go.....like this no need to work lar, just watch manga and anime all day. hehe.