Bill Flanagan has some thoughts on just why Tokyopop might be offering on-line exclusives over at Sensei’s Ramblings. It’s an interesting look at the costs and perils of getting a book onto the shelves, and Flanagan ends it on an optimistic note:
“If a publisher can sell weird and off-beat manga from their site and still make a profit, it means that there is a viable avenue for things like more Josei manga, more quirky seinen manga, more older manga, and more of any other genre that doesn’t do well in retail by giving them a way of succeeding on fewer units sold.”
Flangan’s piece does make me wonder if the possibility of a sleeper manga hit – a title that builds an audience slowly but surely over time – really exists in manga publishing. How many titles are on the shelves at all because they’re being subsidized by their publisher’s hit books?
Speaking of Tokyopop, there’s an interview with CEO Stuart Levy in this week’s Publishers Weekly Comics Week. It’s pretty much what you’d expect, only more so. Like… cubed.