JManga, the digital comics site, launched its free digital manga service JManga7 yesterday with two well regarded shoujo manga series and a wide variety of other offerings, including free samples of a number of titles that are already available on its JManga sister site.
The two new launch titles are Crazy for You, a high-school romance by Kimi ni Todoke creator Karuho Shiina, and Pride, the story of rival opera singers, by Yukari Ichijo, a veteran shoujo manga creator and winner of the Kodansha Manga Award. JManga7 offers three chapters of each for free; readers who like them can buy the first two volumes of each series on the regular JManga site, which is offering them at a discount at the moment. (Interestingly, both manga are published by Shueisha, which is one of the parent companies of Viz.)
Many of the other series on JManga7 have been running for a while on its sister site, JManga. JManga business manager Robert Newman first told me about the new site in an interview at San Diego Comic-Con. The idea is to present new volumes of manga for free, a chapter at a time; when the volume is complete, the free chapters will be removed and readers can go to JManga to buy the full volume.
With current JManga series, the strategy seems to be to run the first chapter plus the chapters from the current volume at JManga7, so new readers will always have the first chapter as a preview.
While JManga7 is free, readers are encouraged to create a membership, which allows them to make a favorites list and get the site newsletter. A premium-level membership is also offered for $5.99 per month, which allows readers to access more chapters, get to them earlier, and read without ads.
JManga7 is available both on the web and on Android devices, and it promises that iPad and iPhone versions are coming soon.