Viz is launching an ambitious marketing campaign to promote the American version of Shonen Jump, the phone book size manga anthology magazine that sells 3.5 million copies per week in Japan. The American version of Shonen Jump will be a 250-300 page monthly anthology with a cover price of $4.95, with manga versions of two of the most popular shows on television with boys from 8-14, Dragonball Z and Yu-Gi-Oh. The first two issues of Shonen Jump (November and December) will be returnable, allowing retailers to experiment with the anthology, which is an unfamiliar format for the American market.
Viz is also shipping a free POP poster with the last Diamond Dateline in August and a shelf-talker with the Diamond September Previews. The popularity of DBZ and Yu-Gi-Oh makes the Viz Shonen Jump poster a 'must display' for retailers interested in attracting and nurturing young collectors.
Viz is also providing retailers with free copies of Shonen Jump #0, a 48-page, perfect bound sampler. Retailers will receive either ten or twenty copies of Shonen Jump #0 depending on their total manga orders through Diamond. Retailers can purchase additional copies of Shonen Jump #0 for twenty-seven cents. In addition to the free copies distributed through Diamond, Viz will distribute 50,000 copies of Shonen Jump #0 at San Diego's Comic Con International, and the publisher will match the number put out through the comic market with 100,000 free copies that will be distributed through the Suncoast video store chain.
Viz will announce the other five manga series that will appear in Shonen Jump on Wednesday in San Diego, but the two announced series, DBZ and Yu-Gi-Oh, are clearly the headliners, at least in their potential to bring in new, younger customers. The Yu-Gi-Oh manga, which is the basis for both the popular card game and the TV anime, will allow American readers to follow the series from its very beginnings. In Japan the anthology magazines are just half of the equation. They are followed by trade paperback collections of individual titles. The sales of these collections provide the bulk of the revenue for publishers and booksellers. True to form, Viz is promising an extensive line of low-cost graphic novel collections culled from the pages of Shonen Jump for 2003. So by supporting Shonen Jump, which may take some work given this market's past resistance to anthologies, retailers can also sow the seeds of future sales.