How to win friends or influence people

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.

2 Responses to How to win friends or influence people

  1. Anonymous says:

    yo. as a Supervisor at Borders, a huge national book retail chain, i can say without a doubt that web-exclusive titles hurt us, and it hurts the readers, the majority of whom have no idea why they can’t find their fav manga in my store anymore and i have to explain to them (if i’m lucky enough to be there helping them at that time) that they can only get it online. it’s already hard enough as it is keeping popular titles in stock and getting enough copies; web-exclusives make it even more difficult. otaku shop at booksellers for the manga first, comic shops second, and online a far last. i am really not pleased about the web-exclusive thing.

  2. Lea says:

    I was just wondering myself why the web-exclusives aren’t being offered to the Direct Market. Those are guaranteed, non-returnable sales, unlike bookstores.
    Unless the titles in question simply can’t be supported by DM sales–but then how much are they expecting to sell by web-only? Will cutting out the bookstores’ discount be the difference that keeps a title viable?

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