Sunday, December 16, 2007

Updates - December 14th, 2007

The holidays are upon us! We'll be working our butts off through the weekend to take care of all you last minute shoppers, and we're all looking forward to having a long four day weekend to spend with our families after next week. It's been a challenging year for both the Anime industry and the economy as a whole, but this is the time of year we are reminded about what really matters. The best thing about what we do is that we not only get to spend everyday working with what we love, but that we get to serve each other. What else could be more important...

It's crunch time for us, and the deadlines for online shopping are coming down to the wire. Christmas is now 9 days away, but the last day before we close up shop and take off for the long holiday weekend is only 5 days from now, so the holiday deadlines are closer than you think. The deadline for Economy shipping has passed, and you can use our holiday shipping schedule to see how you'll need to have your parcels sent to ensure they arrive on time. Noemi says we'll get your orders out, even if we have to stand on our heads to do it, you just make sure to choose the shipping method that meets your needs. :-)

Don't forget, if you can't decide what to get your favorite Otaku this Christmas try one of our gift certificates .They are a quick and easy fan favorite, and have been our number one selling item over the past 2 weeks!

ICv2 reported that the manga publishers plan to build upon their success this year by increasing the number of manga volumes released from 1,400 in 2007 to around 1,800 in 2008. I think it's great that manga is growing in popularity, but I also worry that the big two (Viz and TokyoPop) are going to be publishing so many new volumes next year that us fans will become overwhelmed with choices. Still, more diversity is good and as long as they continue to keep older volumes in print as the newer ones come out we'll continue to make room in the warehouse for all the new releases while we back stock all the original volumes. I figure by the end of this year we'll have about 42,000 manga volumes (that's books not series) in stock in the warehouse, and probably around 54,000 by the end of next year. Man, that's a lot of books, and a lot of manga love! :-)

A couple people have written in recently to ask why we are not carrying most of the new Funimation single DVD price downs, and the answer is simple - Boxed Sets. We're an independent store serving fans, and I don't believe we need to carry every single title released every single way a publisher sees fit. In the case of the single DVD repricing from Fun on titles like Alchemist, Trinity Blood, Basilisk, and Gunslinger Girl they are just trying to move excess copies of the original single DVD's at a lower price, but all of these titles have already been re-released as lower priced collections and we don't see the point in carrying the titles both ways. For instance, even though the MSRP for the single DVD's of Burst Angel has been reduced from $29.98 to $19.98, the MSRP on the Burst Angel premium boxed set is only $89.98, so why would people want to take a step backwards and buy the six single DVD's for $120 when the premium box is already available for $90? (I'm not using our regular discount price in this example, but it works out the same) The new Viridian boxed sets offer even more value over the single releases, so it's pretty clear to me that - as a 'thinking' Anime store manager - there is no need to carry these titles in multiple formats. That way fans can be assured that the products we do offer already carry the best value without having to wade through pages of different releases, just to find out later that something else was actually the better value. [steps off soap box] Nuff said.

Viz announced their release of the Buso Renkin Anime this week (for April), and interestingly they are going to do it like they did Prince of Tennis - as two collectors boxes rather than single DVD's. I like this methodology for these types of shows, and I give props to Viz for being forward thinking and offering fans extra value on these series right from the start.

Thanks to Tom for sending this hilarious video link to me this week. My only hope is that all Japanese don't learn English this way, but at least we know they will be prepared for their vacation here on the dangerous streets of the U.S.! I know I always wear a hanky on my head when I go out to rob unsuspecting Japanese tourists....with a nail file!!!???

The 2008 import calendars that arrived from Japan last week are proving to be one of the hottest selling categories over the past few days, and we've already sold out of a couple of styles. It's no wonder, as these are some of the best calendars I have seen in several years, so be sure to checkout our selection before they are all gone.

Our partner sale with JapanAnime (Adults only please!) continues this week on all of their Adult Anime DVD's, so you can still save at least 40% off retail on just about our entire stock of JA items.

There are only a few days left to save on our select list of holiday gift ideas that we've slashed up to 70% off the retail price. Several items have already gone beyond the qnty we had allocated for the sale and have been removed from the list (the Black Lagoon set for instance), and most of what is left is getting down to low stock and won't be available at these prices much longer.

I thought new arrivals would be really lite this week, but we ended up working it out with ADV to bring in the titles set to street the first week of January, so I'm VERY happy to report that we now have the first Kanon DVD in stock, along with the long awaited re-release of Nadesico that has been off the market for a couple of years. We also have our restocks of the hard to find Evangelion Perfect Collection Tins, and I think this will probably be the last of them we are able to get. We have another excellent new manga update for you, and several new figures in stock from Kotobukiya which currently produces some of the best values on the market for collectors. Check below for the scoop on everything that's come in, or check our updates page for the complete story!

One more week to go. WooHoo!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Updates - November 30th, 2007

Well, the holiday shopping season is now in full swing, and we have started working late into the evening to keep up with order volume. This is our 10th holiday season supporting Anime fans, so we know what to do. :-)

We have been working through the typical new release delays and shipment SNAFU's that seem to always occur right around the Thanksgiving holiday. Many studios close that entire week, and problems tend to become 'acute' faster than during other times, but as of right now we're in great shape. We have most of the titles for the first half of December in stock now (though ADV's stuff came...ummm...all at once), and we're well stocked for the coming onslaught over the next two weeks.

Speaking of ADV, we did receive a limited number of the Evangelion and Nadia perfect collection tins, but not enough to fill pre-orders. They ended up getting allocated as there were not enough to go around, and ADV has promised us more around the middle of December, though they could not be more specific. We've kept both tins on pre-order and we'll be filling the rest of those orders once more stock arrives.

We had a little glitch on 'Cyber Monday' in that Yahoo's backend that supports the cart was overwhelmed with traffic and ended up going down for a few hours. We worked with their engineering dept pretty much all day to get the site back up and running, and since then they have added several new transaction servers to the store system to accommodate the extra traffic, and now everything seems to be running even better than before. I apologize if this caused you guys any problems, and I appreciate the patience everyone showed on Monday as we worked to get the checkout system back up.

If there wasn't enough new stuff for you to buy this week, Ron just shot me a message from the receiving area to let me know that three more new DVD's just hit the dock over there and are being unpacked now - Witchblade 3, Musashi 4, and Paprika (BlueRay).

We've noticed the usual increase in delivery days for mail parcels as holiday volume ramps up, so we changed the default shipping method from Economy (standard mail) to Priority Mail on the checkout pages, though all options are still available in the little pull down menu. It's getting closer to crunch time and we're encouraging customers to take the safe road on those gift orders and select a faster delivery option.... hint...hint... -_^ I see a lot of stores emphasizing 'free shipping' this year over 'total value', but guys don't be fooled by all the hype - the ketchup and mustard packets are built into the price of the hot dog, always have been, and always will be. Just a little 'food' for thought. :-)

Our Holiday Madness sale continues through midnight tonight, though I am sympathetic to all the folks that e-mailed in this week asking us to extend the sale into next week. I have not decided on that yet, and while I normally would be happy to honor those requests, next week is the absolute busiest week of the year for us and honestly I'm not sure that it's a good idea that we do much to encourage extra orders as we'll already have our hands full.

Oh to heck with it, you guys talked me into it - we'll extend the sale until Tuesday. I'm such a sucker for what you guys want! :-) Damn the torpedos - full speed ahead!

I wanted to mention that our 2008 domestic calendars are selling out quickly, but the first shipment of imports is due to arrive from Japan early next week. We'll post them to the calendar section as soon as they arrive.

We've teamed up with some of the major studios and created a select list of holiday gift ideas that we've slashed up to 70% off the retail price - in fact, we've priced some of these items way below our regular cost. The catch is that we only have a certain number of units of each featured item available at these prices, so grab them before they run out.

Our partner sale with Adult Source Media (Adults only please!) ends tonight at Midnight so this will be your last chance to save at least 40% off on all of their titles.

We have about a months worth of new arrivals for you this week, way too many to try to feature here. Check below for the scoop on everything that's come in, or check our updates page for the complete story!

That's it for this week. Have a great weekend - and ENJOY your Anime! :-)