Friday, January 30, 2009

Are the Wall Closing In on TokyoPop?

Slowly but surely, the walls seem to be closing in on TokyoPop. We've continued to watch the restocking situation on catalog (older) TokyoPop volumes deteriorate over the last 3 or 4 months, and in some cases we've been forced to take some volumes down off the site (which we absolutely hate to do).

The situation with Aria Vol 4 (which seemed to be short pressed and not followed up even though there is plenty of demand), has caused a lot of folks to start looking closer at the company's health.

Now we are seeing that Diamond Comics has listed a number of upcoming TokyoPop volumes "canceled by publisher".

This is not the first time TokyoPop has canceled or delayed the release of a substantial block of previously announced volumes, but this list is disturbing in that (unlike previous announcements) these are some of their best selling titles (at least at our store). And some of the titles are high sequence volumes from series that have been in release for a long time (like Initial D, Tactics, King of Hell, and Moon Phase) and represent substantial investments by fans that have been following these titles. It's hard to believe TokyoPop would leave fans hanging on a series after collecting 33 volumes, even if sales of those later volumes are a little soft.

Here's the list that Diamond is showing canceled:

Aria Vol #5 TP
Cause of My Teacher TP
Demon Flowers Vol #5 TP
Demon Sacred Vol #1 TP
Hack//Sign Special Edition Novel
Elemental Gelade Vol #11 TP
Get Backers Infinity Fortress Vol #3 TP
Initial D Vol #34 TP
Jyu Oh Sei Vol #3 TP
King of Hell Vol #23 TP
Love Hurts Aishiatteru Futari TP
Speed Grapher Vol #3 TP
Tactics Vol #8 TP
This Ugly Yet Beautiful World Vol #1 TP
Tsukuyomi Moon Phase Vol #13 TP
VB Rose Vol #6 TP

In regards to the cancellations, the folks at MangaBlog contacted the always helpful Marco Pavia (TokyoPop's Marketing Director) who claimed Aria 4 sold out "mainly because orders came in much higher than projected", but then he was non committal regarding if TokyoPop will reprint the issue saying "It all depends on demand...". First he says demand was overwhelming, and then in the same breath said demand may not justify a reprint. Huh??? I think things are a lot worse over there than they are letting on, and I also think they would buy a lot more fan capital by being more upfront about their problems and especially, their future plans. We'd like to know more than "we're watching the market and will let you know". I've said it before, but no one seems to be listening.

UPDATE: The folks over at ICv2 are reporting that they have contacted Marco Pavia regarding the reported cancellations, and he has stated that these volumes are just 'delayed' as part of their plan to cut 2009 output by an additional 50%, so they are just getting reshuffled in the schedule. TokyoPop is still handling PR on a 'damage control' basis, and this update is not much of a comfort to fans that are waiting for these volumes to come out. I would like to note that TokyoPop cut their output by around 50% last summer, and this additional cut will probably bring the total number of new volumes they are publishing to maybe 10-15 per month, way down from the 40-50 per month they were putting out a year ago. As far as 'reshuffling' the schedule, we'll see...

1 comment:

Starcade said...

The walls have been closing in on TokyoPop for quite some time. It's clear they are done -- it's just a matter of _when_. And trust me when I say that that is not a vacuous question. Two words: Fruits Basket.

I think it's clear what happens here: They hack and slash to ensure they can get Furuba finished and out in English, and then, as soon as it's clear that the cash cow has run its course, they very quickly shutter the rest of the operations.