Friday, April 15, 2011

TokyoPop Shutting Down All North American Publishing Operations

Here, sadly, is a big one today from the Anime Economatrix, posted a couple hours ago:

Tokyopop Senior Vice President Mike Kiley has confirmed that the company will shutter its Los Angeles-based North American publishing operations on May 31.

In a post on the website for Tokyopop's America's Greatest Otaku reality web series, the company's CEO, Stu Levy, announced that he will spend the next year in the Japanese prefecture of Miyagi, making a documentary about the effects of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake disaster of March 11. The proceeds of the documentary will go to support the victims. He also posted a farewell message on the official Tokyopop website.

The company's film and European operations will be unaffected by this closure, and its office in Hamburg, Germany will continue to handle global rights sales for the company.

May 31 is less than three weeks after the first major feature film based on a Tokyopop property, Priest, will open in American theaters.

Last month, Levy commented that the February bankruptcy of the Borders bookstore chain had played a significant role in its decision to lay off a number of the company's employees.

The bankruptcy of Borders, a key retailer of manga, and the associated disruption of cash flow and likely losses, was undoubtedly a final nail in the company's coffin.

Not much I can say here. So that's the end of TokyoPop manga (and BLU). It's not like we didn't know it was coming, and I think making movies is a much better endeavour for Stu than publishing manga. He's a creative person but he never really did know what he was doing in the manga business. His business ideas for Digital? DOA. Print on demand? DOA. Concentrating on bookstore channels and alienating your directs? DOA. Selling direct from TP's website and alienating ALL your channels? DOA. On and on and on. From what we've seen going on in the supply chain for over a year, we're surprised they lasted this long. Stu "fought the good fight", but in the end, he lost - and now so do we.

So I'm sure everyone will be wondering what will happen to TP's licenses and what previously announced upcoming manga will be published and won't be published. Don't know yet, but I'm sure there won't be much good news if any - only 2,000 headaches. I'll post more info when we have it.

UPDATE: Well, it's official. All TokyoPop and BLU titles scheduled for release after May 4, 2011 will be canceled and not published. We'll begin removing these books from the site shortly, and all pre-orders for them will automatically be canceled. Sorry folks, I'm just the messenger.


Midir said...

Honestly, after looking through 36 pages of Tokyopop's back catalogue, it seemed they released all their most popular titles in the first few years of operation, Chobits, Rave, Rebirth, CardCaptors, GTO, Gundam Wing, Initial D, and so on. It seemed to get more and more niche as time went on. In other news however, I never realised they finished publishing Et Cetera, which has been out of print since 2008 or so. To eBay!

Will said...

Sad to hear that more people in the manga/anime biz are losing their job. Hopefully they will all land on their feet somehow. It's probably wishful thinking on my part, but I hope to hear that they will maybr finish out some series that are on the last volume at least, before closing down.

Starcade, back on Leviathan said...

I just had a feeling that Fruits Basket was going to finish and that was going to be it.

Another one bites the dust.

Aaron B. said...

A majority of news reports on the demise of Tokyopop's publishing endeavors appear to have the bad habit of deifying Levy's contributions (and the management of those contributions) to the industry.

Getting manga into large retailers? Okay. But what did Tokyopop do to balance its retail relations among all levels/sizes? Getting manga into the hands of female demos? Okay. But did Tokyopop really do anything to actually grow with these readers, and retain them over the years? Publishing an enormous quantity of titles? Definitely. Except for the fact that they quickly flooded the market to the point where everything looked the same.