Something you may not have known is that, when Yen Press made the decision to turn their Yen Plus magazine from a print release to a digital anthology, they lost the backing of a major portion of their Japanese serializations, including series like Black Butler.
Yen Press editorial director Kurt Hassler attributes this to trepidation regarding digitization on the part of Japanese publishers, and it’s hard to disagree with him. While he wouldn’t talk about the fate of lost Yen Plus serializations like Black Butler, in an interview with Robot 6, he did confirm that new Japanese contracts were currently being worked out and that the first new Japanese serialization in the magazine may not be far off.
Meanwhile, Black Butler popped up in a separate area of the Internet — on Square Enix’s new manga website, where it is currently available for free sampling. While Square are currently hosting the Yen Press translations of the series, Hassler would not comment on the relationship between the two publishers going forward.
On the bright side, Yen Plus going digital means the magazine is now available across the globe. Ironically, according to Hassler, what is now the magazine’s greatest strength is also proving to be its greatest weakness, as global distribution appears to be what has most Japanese publishers skeptical.