Both my daughters are devoted Fruits Basket fans, and they like to pre-order so they can get the books as soon as possible. Today, they pointed out something that strikes me as strange:
On its website, Tokypop gives the release date of Fruits Basket Volume 12 as December 13. Amazon says it will be available on December 30. But Barnes & Noble says they can get it for you on September 28. Not only that, their remarkably prescient website tells me that “People who bought this book also bought… Fruits Basket Volume 13.” Eh? OK, maybe they’re referring to pre-orders, which strikes me as cheating. Anyway, the anomaly continues, as we’ll be able to buy volume 13 in from Barnes & Noble in October or direct from Tokyopop in … uh… never mind, the link isn’t even there yet, let alone a release date.
Then I was looking at previews of Her Majesty’s Dog and noticed that it will initially be available “exclusively at Borders and Waldenbooks. Volume 1 will be available everywhere in April 2006.” In this post on the Anime on DVD forums, Jake Forbes of Go! Comi says the book will be available in Borders and Waldenbooks in late October. That’s a hell of a lag, and it means they miss out on Christmas sales everywhere else.
I’m a reader, not an industry-watcher, so maybe I’m missing something here, but if the book is ready to ship, why cut your sales by only offering it in one chain? And isn’t that a bit hard on independent retailers?

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  1. TP has been changing the dates for Fruits. Vol 12 for awhile. It should be out in Dec, that is according to Diamond and TP’s website. At one point TP had a release date of April for vol 13. I do know people who emailed them about the long wait but basically TP said nothing. My guess is that TP feels when fruits comes out that is all they buy. I guess they want to give their other titles a chance.

  2. Thanks for the insight, Za. I guess Barnes & Noble’s website is just wrong, then. I’m not looking forward to breaking that news to our resident Furubatarians.


  3. While I can’t vouch for Go! Comi’s decision for going the exclusive track with “Her Majesty’s Dog,” I do know that it’s a very proven way to help new companies into the market. If you have an exlcusive title, then it means you know just how many books to print and have a pretty good idea of what your sales are going to be like. It also means that the store is going to hype up the fact that the book is exclusive at their store and that means free advertising for the publisher. It also ensures traffic to the store, which tends to mean that you’ll go for that book and probably come out with something else. In a way, everyone wins.