The japanese media and advertising giant Dentsu has announced that it was ready to start offering its digital magazine distribution platform called Magastore in the West, first in the U.S. and then in Europe. The platform, which is currently only available in Japan right now, makes digital magazines readable on smartphones (only on Apple's iPhones until now but soon on Android's too). The Magastore platform debuted in Japan in the Summer of 2009 with 30 titles provided by 20 mainstream publishers including Asahi Shimbun, ALBA, Kodansha, Shogakukan, Shinchosha, SONY, Hankyu and Fuso and was the result of a cooperation between Dentsu and Japanese tech firm Yappa.
The application wrapper was initially priced at approx. ¥115 / US$1 to download and magazine contents ranged from free up to ¥600 / US$6. The offering also included access to current and archive editions with a so-called “MyShelf” which allowed for customers to store their library of purchases. Considering that iPhones aren't as ubiquitous in Japan (they launched late after the market had long been inundated with other types of smartphones), it will be interesting to see how this will fare in the West, but I reckon it's got lots of potential!