How to win friends or influence people

August 31, 2006

Retailers seem to be lining up at ICv2 to voice their displeasure with Tokyopop’s on-line exclusives:

Ed Sherman of Rising Sun Creations:

“It doesn’t make sense to pursue promoting poorer-selling titles online when there are so many hot Tokyopop titles that have been out of print for so long. I cannot get copies of Kingdom Hearts #1-3, Loveless #1, or Battle Club #1, just to name a few. These are all strong selling books that have been out of stock for months.”

(David Taylor offers his thoughts on Sherman’s comments at Love Manga.)

J. Carmody of Serenity Studios:

“Tokyopop was my first choice for the manga lines, however with their recent news, I will continue to promote and sell Tokyopop product but I will be selecting a different publisher to use as the flagship publisher in my advertising decisions for manga-related product from now on.”

Any volunteers?

Robert Brown of The Anime Corner:

“Holding titles hostage from the retail channel to force manga readers to come to their Website will resonate with fans as a form of coercion, and will not be well received.”

Brown also mentioned the difficulty in restocking popular titles, which seems to be coming up fairly often in reaction to this initiative. I don’t know if bookstore chains are having the same problem, but it seems… I don’t know… anecdotally common among Direct Market retailers.

Recovering retailer and veteran blogger Dorian looks at it from the perspective of someone who helps a shop fill out their monthly manga order:

“My first impulse, honestly, is to simply stop ordering any Tokyopop titles outside of what we need to fill pull-lists. Why should I take a chance on ordering a new series from Tokyopop if, two or three volumes later, they might decide that it isn’t selling what they think it should be and make it an online exclusive item? Why should I attempt to build an audience for a title in the store if Tokyopop could decide that they’d rather cut out the middle-man and sell the title direct themselves? And what do I tell customers already buying a title when Tokyopop decides to take it exclusive?”

Good questions, I think.

And of course, there are the comments on this post at Chris Butcher’s blog, which include more reaction from Chris and this one from Jim Cosmicki:

“Unless these are print to order, they could EASILY still solicit these through Diamond as well as being online. Just don’t send them through the bookstore distribution chain. But Tokyopop has a badly designed new webpage to justify, so they go for the cliched ‘web exclusive’ tag instead.”

Update: Dirk Deppy rounds up all this stuff and more and offers his own commentary in today’s entry at ¡journalista!.

Update 2: Brigid at MangaBlog takes a trip around the blogsplosion and provides commentary as well.

Chaucer… Rabelais… Balzac!

August 31, 2006

There are a couple of interesting pieces on comics in libraries, a topic that obviously interests me a whole lot.

The first is a local overview in a letter to The Comics Reporter. Mason Adams uses the occasion of the Roanoke (Virginia) Valley Bookfest to check out the holdings of some local book lenders. Adams is a comics fan and writer for the Roanoke Times.

Steven Grant tackles the topic in this week’s Permanent Damage column at Comic Book Resources. Grant takes a somewhat spandex-centric look at the growing place of graphic novels on library shelves, but it’s an interesting read. And as usual, there are some gems of bluntness:

“Of major concern to many librarians are excesses we could easily get by, if we abandoned the notion that the medium and the art of comics are somehow improved by being a boys’ club of unfettered pandering to our own basest instincts. Mainly characterized by triple-E cups and degrading male-dominated sexual content. Strange as it may sound, apparently girls, a large portion of the library comics audience, don’t like things like that. Which might be grounds for schism right there, since, apparently, many artists seem to be attracted to comics not to tell stories but to indulge those particular fantasies.”