First ads, now books: GREE keeps on diversifying its business. The social game company announced quite a spectacular deal with major publisher Kadokawa, under which it will distribute Kadokawa’s e-books, magazines, manga and other content to users of cell phones.
Both companies are trying to capitalize on the penchant for Japanese mobile users to consume book contents online (the first cell phone novel was released in Japan as early 2003 – see Wikipedia). Japan’s book market as a whole is worth $24 billion.
This summer, GREE will release a smartphone app, dubbed BOOK WALKER, that will make it possible to download content from the Kadokawa catalogue.
BOOK WALKER is the name of the e-publishing platform Kadokawa is running currently, but GREE will build social elements into the mobile service, for example enabling users to comment on or recommend certain titles and share the information with their friends on GREE.
The aim here (apart from leveraging Kadokawa’s huge catalogue and GREE’s member base of 24 million) is to enable a group of friends reading the same book to share thoughts and opinions, something that can’t be done easily in real life.
Here are early pictures of two manga that will be published via BOOK WALKER/GREE: