Shueisha’s managing director, Kazuhiko Torishima, recently revealed plans for 37 different Japanese publishers to collaborate and launch an online North American manga portal where licenses from each of the publishers will be distributed digitally.
The initiative involves the usual suspects — Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Kadokawa Shoten and others. The coalition of publishers hope to have a beta version of the site up and running by the end of the year, and the finalized site is slated for launch in March 2011.
This is the third time publishers have collaborated in such a fashion. The first was during an active resistance against digital manga distribution in Japan, while the second was an anti-piracy initiative, which involved cooperation with North American publishers as well.