Some of you might recall that at 2010 San Diego Comic-Con, Square Enix announced plans to launch a digital manga store in North America and France. This store is now up, but Square still haven’t announced how much content on the store will cost.
As of now, the first volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist and Soul Eater are available through the store. You can also grab the first two volumes of The Record of a Fallen Vampire and Yumekui Kenbun: Nightmare Inspector. Each volume costs $5.99, which is a special, temporary introductory price. You can find the French store here with its own selection of manga, at 4 Euros per volume (also a limited time price).
You’ll need to be registered with the Square Enix Members service (registration is free) to purchase from the store, but you can preview it without registering.
The first update to the store is scheduled for January 11, 2011. New titles will be added bi-monthly after January. Perhaps this image from Square’s San Diego Comic-Con site earlier in the year is indicative of what to expect?
For those wondering, Square’s online manga store only lets you stream manga through the Internet, not download it to your PC. Perhaps this has something to do with discouraging piracy, which Square say the manga store is meant to deter.
In addition to offering Square Enix manga — that is, manga originally published under Square Enix in Japan — Square will also partner with local publishers and localizers to promote printed versions of their manga globally.
It would appear that Square Enix will be one of the only Japanese manga publishers not collaborating with the coalition of 37 companies currently preparing to launch an online manga portal for North America.