Kadokawa, a Japanese publishing company of light novels and manga, announced on Monday that they have entered what they call a “joint venture” with Hachette Book Group to publish light novels and manga in English. Hachette Book Group, until this point, was the sole owner Yen Press, which was established in 2006 and has gown into the second largest distributor of manga and light novels in North America. Kadokawa has effectively purchased 51% ownership and has stated that the new company will be known as Yen Press, LLC.
It was the increased amount of sales of manga and light novels in 2014 that attracted Kadokawa to the publisher. Kadokawa stated that this venture will also put light novels into the forefront as they wish to make this a new content genre here in North America. With any corporate buyout, many will speculate about things such as layoffs or change in management, but Kurt Hassler, the vice president and publishing director of Yen Press, will continue to serve under the new title of Managing Director and Publisher.
This wasn’t the only announcement to come out of camp Kadokawa this Monday. They also announced a partnership with the legal anime streaming service Crunchyroll. This partnership will grant Crunchyroll permission to exclusive worldwide digital distribution rights outside of Asia for anime titles published by Kadokawa in the next year. This deal also includes the North American branch of Crunchyroll as well. Both Kadokawa and Crunchyroll have stated that this is just the first step forward to future collaborations.
Crunchyroll, founded in 2007, currently has 20 million subscribers and launched a manga service back in October of 2013.