Tokyo, April 20, 2016 – Rakuten, Inc. today announced that it has launched Rakuten Manga, a new e-comic service for smartphones.
Users are able to buy and read both individual issues and volumes of e-comic titles by accessing the Rakuten Manga store (https://manga.rakuten.net/) through the web browser on their smartphones. Around 90,000 volumes of popular comics are available at the time of launch*1, including titles that can be read free of charge and the lineup of titles will be expanded going forward.
With the concept of creating opportunities to encounter a variety of comics, the service offers two top pages: a “store mode” that makes it easy for users to look up desired titles and a “search mode” that makes it easy to find popular titles by genre. Users are able to switch between these two modes at any time. A dedicated app viewer (iOS, Android™), which designed all the titles can also be viewed by both horizontally and vertically scrolling, is also available, making the smartphone-reading experience easy and convenient*2.
To purchase titles on Rakuten Manga, users first need to purchase “medals,” a dedicated virtual currency, from the store. Payment methods can be chosen from not only Rakuten ID Payment but also Carrier Payment*3, making it possible to align payments with mobile phone charges and allowing those who do not own a credit card to be able to utilize the service. When purchasing medals, users can choose from up to 10 courses ranging from 300 yen to 30,000 yen per month. One medal corresponds to 1 yen when purchasing e-comics. For courses of 500 yen or more per month, users will receive additional medals worth 10-25% of the cost of the course*4.
The eBook market in FY 2014 grew to an estimated 126.6 billion yen, a 35.3% increase year-on-year and by genre, e-comics are driving the market, accounted for 80% or more of that figure*5. To further vitalize the eBook market in Japan, Rakuten decided to provide a service specializing in e-comics, as the driving force for eBook business growth.
Rakuten Manga is a collaborative project with eBook distributor Media Do Co. Ltd. With Media Do’s expertise in developing and operating systems for e-comic services, Rakuten has been able to provide users with a highly convenient service.
Going forward, Rakuten will work to enhance Rakuten Manga’s functions and carry out promotions so that users can encounter a large range of titles and enjoy e-comics more easily.
*1 The number of comic volumes offered as of April 15, 2016.
*2 “MD Viewer” is a bookshelf and viewer app featuring “Universal Flick,” a function that enables users to read sideways or lengthways at will. The patent and trademark for this app are held by Media Do.
*3 The upper limit on the value of the monthly course that can be selected may differ depending on the carrier.
*4 When paying using Rakuten ID Payment, for courses of 300 yen per month or more, users will receive additional medals with a value of 10% of the cost of the course.
*5 Source: “E-Book Business Survey Report 2015” (published by Impress R&D, Impress Corp.)