Tokyopop to Dave: Please Stop Buying Our Comics

After reading this:

New Tokyopop Website Offers Exclusive Manga

In addition to making some manga available for reading online, the new Tokyopop site will also offer fans the ability to order some exclusive manga in book form that will not be available through retailers. The titles are a combination of never-before-released series and series that were launched through the trade that are now being converted to Web exclusives. Among the series that have previously been sold through retailers that are now being sold only through the Website are One, Neck and Neck, Heaven Above Heaven, Sorcerer Hunters Authentic Relaunch, Soul to Seoul, Dragon Head, Dragon Voice, and Arm of Kannon.

I was prompted to email this:

Dear Tokyopop persons,

I just read the news that your manga ‘Dragon Head’ is going to go to being exclusively distributed through your website. I’m sorry to hear this, as it ensures I will no longer be buying and reading Dragon Head, a book I really enjoy.

Right now I get new volumes through my comic shop, Modern Myths, as part of my regular order. This is convenient for me and helps support a shop I like. Moving to web-exclusive removes this convenience, asking me to place an additional order somewhere and pay shipping. As much as I like the book, and I like it very much, at the end of the day it’s just a funnybook, and now that you’ve made it more of a hassle to order it, I won’t do so. I can live without it.

In addition, this now makes me wary of buying any of Tokyopop’s titles. What if I start to enjoy something else and then find that it too will be made more difficult for me to get hold of? Rather than go through the annoyance of such a thing, it’s easier to simply avoid your titles altogether.

I urge you to reconsider this decision, as it is alienating to your readers and to the retailers.

Thank you for your time,
Dave Lartigue

Swell move there, Tokyopop.

(Hat tip: Chris Butcher)

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2 Responses to Tokyopop to Dave: Please Stop Buying Our Comics

  1. I liked this part the best:

    “Tokyopop Vice President Marketing Chip Meyers described the new site as “MySpace meets IGN for the manga lifestyle,” and said that the new features that have been added are designed to build a large community of manga fans. User-created content including blogs, forums, fan art, videos, and Podcasts can now be posted on the site, and editorial features have been expanded.

    Like Fox’s plans for MySpace, the goal is to build the community of manga fans to as large a scale as possible and monetize the audience by advertising Tokyopop’s products and selling ads to other interested companies, including Tokyopop’s competitors. ”

    OF COURSE! Most anime fans are so incredibly talented and mature, so this is likely to generate lots of great reading for outsiders… Oh, wait, it’s going to generate another subgenre of MySpace knockoffs, plus with extra ads and crap, with the added potential of seeing poorly-drawn anime breasts. (You know, they’re just like regular breasts without gravity, anatomy, perspective, or age-of-consent rules to hold them back.)

    I haven’t drunk the podcast Kool-Aid yet, so all that sounds really, really terrible. Most Myspace pages I’ve seen looked like a dog’s asshole with embedded MIDIs shoved up it, and IGN is an unreadable mess of Flash ads, crosslinked shite, and general crapulence, from what I can vaguely recall before realizing video gaming news sites were a pathetic waste of human effort.

    The linked article, however, is actually interesting:

    “The simple fact is that, given the competitive landscape now, retail can’t support every title.

    There is an enormous diversity and breadth of product coming out every single month, and it’s a simple fact that the marketplace speaks with its ordering power. There are certain books, because of customer demand, or marketing, or exposure across other media that are very easy no-brainers. There are other books that are mid-list, and finally there are books that are very, very challenged in today’s environment to get that support.

    I’m not aware of anything in the existing ongoing series category for which any retailers that I know of are going to be put into a situation of hardship by losing those particular books. That’s no knock on anyone; it’s just admission of financial reality. I can’t expect retailers to indefinitely support an increasing number of manga volumes per month. I was in retail myself, and I know how to manage an open to buy, and you have to really make some informed decisions about where you’re going to put your inventory dollars. We’re sensitive to that.”

    That’s more self-reflection than most comic book companies ever printed back during the last boom-and-bust cycle. You know it’s gotta be eating that guy alive to be reading marketing copy about Tokyopop wanting to “monetize their audience.”

    I got monetized once but then a little bit later I blacked out and woke up the next day with the worst hangover of my life.

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