World's First Interactive Japanese Manga Web Service Creates Community of ''Reader-Translators''



    --Captures Spirit of Web 2.0 in Online Community--

    TOKYO, October 1 /CNW/ - Manganovel Corporation and Toshiba Corporation
today announced that they will bring the universe of Japanese manga to the
global market with the launch of "Manganovel," an on-line service that allows
readers not only to download and read manga in Japanese but to post and offer
for sale their own translations of content. The service started beta testing
in June this year, and is now officially ready to take manga characters to
anime lovers around the world. The site can be accessed at: URL:
https://www.manganovel.com .

    "Manganovel" will serve as a distribution source for Japanese publishers,
and go beyond that to create a community of readers. In a world-first for the
comics industry, members will not only be able to download and read Japanese
versions of manga, but, by making full use of the potential offered by Web
2.0, be free to upload and even sell their own translations of the comics.
Potential readers can get advice on the quality of any individual translation
offered on "Manganovel" by reading the comments of other readers on the site's
discussion boards. The whole operation will offer secure digital rights
management with "MQbic" (Multi-cubic), digital copyright protection technology
developed by Toshiba.

    "Manganovel" will serve the Japanese market with a Japanese site for
downloads, and the global market with an English site where readers can
download Japanese manga and translations by "reader-translators." This novel
approach will give readers in overseas markets early access to new manga
titles at a price similar to that paid by readers in Japan, while supporting a
community of "reader-translators" offering access to the texts in English.
Comic lovers anywhere in the world will be able to register for and use
"Manganovel's" services, and make on-line payments by credit card.

    "Manganovel" is already attracting attention and support from manga
publishers who recognize its potential power as a marketing tool.
Shonengahosha, one of Japan's leading publishing houses, will initially offer
titles on "Manganovel," for both download and translation.

    "Manganovel's" operating security will be guaranteed by "MQbic"
(Multi-cubic), Toshiba's proprietary digital copyright and rights management
and protection technology (DRM: digital rights management). The site's
operations will be enhanced by the application of a "server thin client model"
developed by Toshiba in collaboration with the Simplicity consortium at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Media Lab. In the future, this
system will allow members to view the comics they purchase not only on a PC
but also on a mobile phone or portable game player.

    The "Manganovel" concept was developed by Toshiba in collaboration with
Professor John Maeda, a world-renowned graphic designer, visual artist and
computer scientist, and with researchers in the Media Lab's Simplicity
consortium, and the related application and server software was implemented by
Fixstars Corporation, which also has a minority holding in "Manganovel."

    The Simplicity consortium specializes in fusing design, business models
and technology. Its "server thin client model," as used by "Manganovel," does
not require users to save content at their end; all content is managed by
"Manganovel's" distribution server. Users can access the service from any PC,
and in future they will be able to read purchased comics on multiple
platforms, including mobile phones and portable game players.

    Manganovel will continue to work with Professor Maeda to develop a
platform even more convenient than a comic; an interface combining usability,
usefulness and enjoyability. Also, "Manganovel" will be used at MIT in
Professor Ian Condry's course on "Japanese Literature and Cinema," to help
students study Japanese pop culture and comics.

    The "Manganovel" Concept

    1. Members buy Japanese version of comics for $4 to $5.

    2. "Reader-translators" translate the comic to other languages.

    3. The "reader translator" e-mails the "translation" to "Manganovel" and
can price it at either free or 2 percent of the original comic price.

    4. Readers can purchase the original Japanese comic and the translation
data.

    5. If a translation is purchased, the "reader-translator" gets 50% of the
sale price as a royalty.

    6. Readers who purchase translations can review them on "Manganovel's"
discussion board, and use reviews to select a translation of a comic from
among multiple translations. The original "reader-translator" can also use the
feedback from discussions to revise the text and try to improve it.

    Background

    Comics are more popular than ever, and interest in Japanese manga is
soaring. International sales in 2005 (excluding Japan) stood at $245 million
(approximately Yen 29 billion), a more than three-fold increase over 2001's
$75 million, and manga accounted for over 60 percent of the market, generating
sales of $145 million (approximately Yen 17 billion).(a) This is despite the
fact that only a few titles are released in the overseas market, where sales
are undercut by delays in getting titles to market--a month's delay is typical
for paperbacks--and relatively high prices. "Manganovel" will end these
problems and meet pent-up demand for an instant, low-cost service for manga.
With cooperation from major comic publishers, "Manganovel" will make Japanese
comics globally available and create an innovative mode of translation
supported and driven by lovers of manga.

    (a)ICv2 White Paper -- Graphic Novel Growth and Diversification by ICv2's
Milton Griepp's

    Outline of Manganovel Corporation

    
    Company name:                 Manganovel Corporation
    Date of establishment:        June 27, 2006
    Representative director:      Yoichi Ibi
    Capital:                      45 million yen
    Shareholders and holdings:    Toshiba Corporation: 89%;
                                  Fixstars Corporation: 11%;
    Address:                      Nisshin Building 3F, 1-8-27 Kounan,
                                  Minato Ward, Tokyo
    Business activities:          On-line distribution of Japanese comics
                                   to the Japanese and overseas markets
    

    MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:
http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=5506091




For further information:

For further information: Toshiba Corporation Corporate Communications
Office Yuko Sugahara, +81-3-3457-2105 Fax: +81-3-5444-9202 URL:
http://www.toshiba.co.jp/contact/media.htm

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