While it's not quite as robust as Viz Media's iPad app, Multimedia company Square Enix has launched a new e-manga online storefront in for North American fans, offering early volumes of Full Metal Alchemist, Soul Eater, The Record of Fallen Vampire and Yumekuikenbun: Nightmare Inspector for a limited introductory price of $5.99 each.Fans can sample 60 page previews of each title's first volume (roughly a third of their total content) at the SE site before they download them for use on PC, and from what I can tell, Macs as well.

The reading interface, price point and selection aren't quite as impressive as they might be, making the seemingly soft-launch seem more like an experiment than an effort to make a dent in the digital comics market, but it's still encouraging to see SE enter the fray in North America.

I'm not entirely sold on the notion of a higher price than SE's opening $5.99 tag considering how easy it is to score a similarly low price on a physical copy through discounts and coupons at bookstore chains like Borders. Viz's current digital $4.99 price point on the iPad (about half the price of a a lot of its physical material) seems like a sweeter spot for readers.

[Via Anime News Network]