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Steamy Romance Novels In Manga Form On Cell Phones, Oh My!

Harlequin Enterprises finalized an agreement by their Japanese operation, Harlequin K.K., to provide digital manga content to SoftBank Creative of SoftBank Group, one of the largest providers of cell phone services in Japan.

Harlequin is the global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction.

Beginning in April 2008 SoftBank will distribute digital versions of Harlequin K.K.'s successful comics on cell phones and Internet distribution sites.

Over the next five years, SoftBank will carry 1,000 Harlequin manga titles chosen from over 10,000 of the romance publisher's novels.

Internet and cell phone users will be able to view manga that capture the essence of the Harlequin experience.

Harlequin will continue to publish paper versions of their manga novels in Japan in addition to their traditional text- based romance novels.

In addition to this new deal to provide digital comics, Harlequin is currently a leader in selling digital versions of its text-based books in the U.S. and Japan, and is rolling out that offer around the world.

The company -- which releases more than 120 titles per month -- was the first major publisher to make its complete frontlist catalog available in the eBook format.

Harlequin has pursued a goal of meeting the needs of its current audience and reaching a new and diverse base of readers. It is Harlequin's ambition to offer stories to readers in all formats, for consumption at all times.

Harlequin has considerable experience with the manga format. The publisher released digital manga versions of its novels in Japan since 2007 and had traditional manga adaptations of its novels successfully published in the country since 1998. Harlequin also had an agreement with Dark Horse Comics to distribute manga in North America.