I can get it for you retail

The big retail news of the past 48 hours is that Borders is changing its strategy, with plans to close 250 of its Waldenbooks stores and focus on its “superstores.” This is generally a strategy I deplore, as I resent being sent off to a distant, soul-suckingly ugly commercial strip every time I want to make a single purchase. However, I can see the strategy here, as outside of manga the Waldenbooks inventory strikes me as very limited. The good news is that graphic novel sections seem to be getting bigger, as Wayne Beamer of Blog@Newsarama noted. When I blogged about bookstores last week, lots of people commented, most to say that their bookstores are expanding their GN sections. My local Barnes & Noble recently enlarged its manga section, but managed to do so without really increasing the variety of titles.

At Tokyopop, ChunHyang72 wraps up the latest manga news with handy links in her weekly Manga Minute.

Shaenon Garrity launches a pre-emptive strike at this week’s Overlooked Manga Festival, taking a good look at To Terra so it won’t become overlooked.

The Tennesseean takes a look at Christian manga, complete with quotes from ICv2’s Milton Griepp about the rising tide of graphic novels. That’s impressive but probably irrelevant, because Christian comics are more likely to be sold in Christian bookstores, which are outside the usual distribution and reporting systems, than in a Borders or a local comic store.

Graphic novels from religion publishers have been plagued at times in the past by poor quality art or weak stories, but that’s changing, said Bruce Nuffer, associate publisher of Zonderkidz.

Maybe, but I read the first volume of Serenity and wasn’t impressed with it’s we’ll-save-this-bad-girl-by-praying-for-her approach.

Your Libre/BeBeautiful update of the day: Simon Jones reports that the online store Rabbit Valley has dropped its BeBeautiful titles. So far that’s the only one anyone can find.

Meanwhile, June has published their release list for the immediate future. (Via Yaoi Suki.)

David Welsh points us toward the latest issue of Booklist, which is entirely devoted to graphic novels for youth and includes an article by Robin Brenner on building a library collection of manga.

At the Newsarama blog, Graeme McMillan notes the arrival of a new book and an exhibit on Osamu Tezuka. And here’s one I missed but they caught: Becky Cloonan talks formats and anthologies.

Pata explains how not to learn Japanese—and has some suggestions for doing it right. I have to say, my kids loved the Kana de Manga books, but they still don’t know Japanese, probably because it really is hard to learn a language on your own.

At MangaCast, new contributor Readilbert translates an Indonesian article on manga.

Johanna Draper Carlson welcomes Rob Vollmar as a contributing reviewer on Manga Worth Reading.

Reviews: Jessica Severs reviews vol. 1 of Archlord for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Active Anime’s Holly Ellingwood looks at vol. 7 of Black Cat and vol. 1 of Free Collars Kingdom. Julie checks out vol. 1 of Metamo Kiss at the Mangamaniaccafe. At Slightly Biased Manga, Connie reads vol. 2 of Saint Seiya and vol. 2 of Monster. Matthew Alexander enjoys vol. 1 of Kedamono Damono at Anime on DVD. Leroy Douresseaux checks out vol. 1 of Backstage Prince at the Comic Book Bin. I love the sluglines at Prospero’s Manga, and they’re particularly good today as Miranda takes on Poison Cherry Drive and Ferdinand checks out vol. 1 of 100% Perfect Girl. At Comics Worth Reading, Rob Vollmar gives Ode to Kirihito a slightly less glowing review than everyone else. And Katherine Dacey-Tsuei shows the rest of us how it’s done with her review of Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms.

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  1. ChunHyang72 says:

    Thanks for the link and the kind words about Town of Evening Calm. David Welsh set a very high bar for the rest of us would-be manga pundits!

  2. Thank you for the links, but the Ode to Kirihito review was Rob’s first contribution to the site, not mine. I think I need to find a way to make the author field more visible, now that there’s more than one at Manga Worth Reading.

  3. Thanks, Johanna! I fixed it.

  4. Having taken Japanese in university, I have to say, watching anime isn’t the way to do it, and even the best instructional books aren’t too handy. The textbook we actually used in the course was actually aimed at buisness men, so we learnt how to ask people if they wanted some booze or cigarettes :) It’s not something I recommend for students to fling themselves into lightly either- daily quizzes, constant drilling and conversation, it’s a lot of work, though 2 people I know who took the course have taught/worked in Japan.

  5. Oh, and dang, does Pata ever nail those resources on their heads.

  6. Well, this sucks for me since I was just praising my Waldenbooks on that post of yours last week:( I guess I’ll just keep going there as often as I can until it closes down (although I’ll keep my fingers crossed that maybe it’ll be one of the lucky ones that gets to stay in business)….and at least I’ll still have Barnes & Noble. And online shopping.

  7. I certainly understand Borders’ move, and have to admit it does make some business sense, but like Amy said, it’s only going to push me to shop more online and at arch rival B&N when my branch calls it quits.

  8. Pata has a good list, and I must say rikaichan is the most useful firefox plug-in I have. It allow me to be current on all major Japanese news and events. Pata also faied to mention Manga-jin, which I thought was a really great way to learn Japanese slangs and idioms through REAL manga.

  9. I can’t say I like the idea of my Waldens closing. The one I always go to in one town is gigantic and has an awesome selection of everything. The other place where I live has a tiny Waldens and no other bookstores for an hour. They’d better leave mine alone.

  10. I’m late to the party on this one, but I still want to talk about it anyway. It’s interesting that the article you linked mentions that they’ll be closing less than ten superstores, because there was an article in the Sun-Times that mentioned they were closing 3 in Chicago alone, or wanted to close them if they could get tenants for their buildings, which likely won’t happen. My boss mentioned another in Milwaukee that was recently closed, but I don’t know how recently.

    He also mentioned that this will probably be a sizeable blow to the publishing industry, at least at first. He speculated that we could see a lot of layoffs at the larger companies, and that for a couple months their stock and printing schedules will be out of whack. Also, we’ll probably see a huge increase in remainders for awhile. And I could talk about remainders forever.