Q: Will you be releasing Shonen Jump as a monthly magazine for the iPad? The iPad does lend itself well to presenting magazine content…
Joel Enos: It really does. I'm reading a lot of my magazines, comics and even manga on the iPad nowadays. But we're doing things one step at a time.
NEW FOR 2011: PSYREN AND YU-GI-OH 5D'S, PLUS NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN ONLINE
Q: One thing I noticed at the Shonen Jump panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2010 was that you didn't announce very many new titles. In fact, hardly any at all, which I thought was unusual. Do you have any more news to share at this time?
Joel Enos: I can only talk about what we're doing with the magazine at this point. We will be releasing graphic novels of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan and Psyren, but we haven't set the release date for these books yet.Psyren will be featured in our print edition, but Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan will be the first time that we'll be offering a full serialization of a series online just for subscribers to the magazine. We will be previewing Nura to our readers in the print magazine in the February 2011 issue in our standard preview format (two chapters featured in a few issues). But now, if you have a subscription to the magazine, you'll have exclusive access to new chapters of Nura, as we post them online every month.
If you're a subscriber, now you'll also get a passcode to be able to access the website to view this exclusive content. The idea is that it's your log-in and passcode that you paid for with your subscription. We'll probably have something on the backend to prevent people from spreading it around.
Fans have been asking for online Shonen Jump manga for a long time – not just previews or sample chapters, but full serializations. So with that in mind, we're giving readers the opportunity to read the whole series online. It's something we're trying out.
In the manga industry, and the publishing industry in general, we've been spending the last few years wondering if digital would be the end of printed books. I don't think that it is, but we're starting to see it more as something that we can take advantage of to get our comics out to people who might not get a chance to read them otherwise.
Q: Is this content region-restricted?
Joel Enos: Right now it is region-restricted. It will only be available to readers in North America. But that's because this is our beta test right now. If things work out, then who knows? The possibilities are endless.
Q: How will you be rolling out Nura online? Will it be a new chapter every week, or every month..?
Joel Enos: We're still working out the details. But the plan is to do it just like how we do it in the magazine, where we publish one to three chapters every month. We can probably do three chapters a month. As soon as we finish a story arc, these chapters will be collected into a printed graphic novel as usual. So you'll be able to buy it that way as well.
As you know, VIZ recently launched our iPad app, so the first titles on there are mostly Shonen Jump titles like Death Note and Naruto, but I think the idea is that if this works out well, then we'll make Nura available on the iPad as well.
Q: Are you considering doing a simultaneous / same day release of the iPad and the print edition of Nura when it comes out?
Joel Enos: I'm not sure how we are going to do that strategy. It's one thing to release a book simultaneously with iPad and print, but the fact that it's also in the magazine and available online? We're still trying to work that out. That's new territory for us. This is a case where fan input will determine a lot of what we end up doing. I think the next year will be an exciting time as we figure out what we can and will do.
Q: One thing that people love about Shonen Jump stories is that they have really exciting, compelling cliffhangers. It makes readers extra eager to read that next chapter as soon as possible. Is there some thought toward releasing chapters weekly online, or bringing over more content from Japan without as much lag time between the Japanese and English release dates?
Joel Enos: I think that would be fantastic! (laughs) That's something that we've been talking about, but it's not going to be something that will happen in these first couple of roll-outs. There are a lot of complicated licensing and timing issues that have to happen to make that possible. But I think a lot of people here at VIZ think that would be a really great idea if we could do that. I can't say that we'll definitely do that, though.
I WANNA BE LIKE BAKUMAN: OPENING NEW AVENUES FOR ARTISTS?
Q: Now that Bakuman has come out in the U.S., I wondered… well, one thing that Bakuman does is that it goes behind the scenes of the Shonen Jump editorial process in Japan, and tries to inspire readers by showing them ordinary high school kids pursuing a dream of becoming professional manga creators.
That has been one of the key differences between Shonen Jump in Japan and Shonen Jump in North America. Here, there aren't many avenues for aspiring comics creators to get their work published in a mainstream manga magazine. Is that something you're considering adding to Shonen Jump in the future, especially since you'll be expanding the amount of content that you'll be publishing on your website?
Joel Enos: Do you mean giving North American or international readers a chance to submit manga stories, have them published and have readers send in comments about them?
Q: Yes, exactly.
Joel Enos: That is something that I've always wanted to do. I wouldn't say yes, we're definitely doing it, but I can say that it's on the table, and it's something that we've talked about. In a perfect world with hypothetical situations, maybe there would be a digital submissions system where readers can send in their work. I will say that this isn't something that's part of our initial discussions now, but we might do that for fan art galleries in the future. If fans want to start submitting their work that way, then we'll try to make it happen. So avenues will be opening up.