Tokyopop repositions global manga

Steady Beat creator Rivkah Greulich heard from her editor at Tokyopop last week that the third volume of Steady Beat would be web-only.

I’m not sure how much I should say for fear of causing an outright panic with other creators, but essentially, nearly all of Tokyopop’s future books will be going straight to web. This wasn’t a case-by-case scenario. Neither I nor any other single creators were singled out. It looks like the whole line of non-licensed material will cease printing and be promoted online only.

Actually, it turns out that the outlook is better for some creators, worse for others. Bettina Kurkoski was told that volume 3 of My Cat Loki would not be published, which is a shame, but she’s going to keep busy working on Tokyopop’s Star Trek and Warriors manga, which have not been cancelled, plus she has some other irons in the fire.

On the other hand, Christy Lijewski’s Re:Play made the cut, and vol. 3 will not only be published, it will be published in print form. Tony Salvaggio is waiting for the other boot to drop on Psy-Comm. And Rikki Simons posted a few days ago that all systems are go for vol. 6 of Shutterbox.

Even before Tokopop split into two companies, a number of creators were told their series were cancelled or curtailed, including Dark Moon Diary, Divalicious, and Sea Princess Azuri.

One point to ponder: So far there has not been a huge wave of outrage from creators. One reason for that may be that a number of them seem to be working on Tokyopop’s licensed properties, which don’t seem to be in any danger of cancellation: the Star Trek, Warcraft, and Warriors series, and of course the many Princess Ai projects. I wonder if this is what the future holds for Tokyopop: More focus on licensed properties, fewer original projects?

Edit: Heidi posted Rivkah’s comments at The Beat, and as always, her comment thread is well worth a look.

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  1. To me this screams financial troubles. Everything they’ve done is screaming that they’re on the verge of collapse and they’re doing everything they can think of to stop it.

    They aren’t the first to try something like this either. Infinity Studios are doing a similar thing for all of their releases. They ran out of cash, so moved away from print publishing to ebook publishing, something which has only been partially recieved, and only because they’re releasing several much sought after series.

    TP seems to be heading the same route though, putting everything online. And i bet they’ll still epect people to pay full price for it.

    I can’t see it working in the long run though, for several reasons. Fans like to hold the books in their hands while they’re reading, and prolonged online reading is bad for the eyes.

    I wonder how long it’ll be before we some of the lesser popular licensed titles (namely the manwha) moved to web only.

  2. “One point to ponder: So far there has not been a huge wave of outrage from creators.”

    What’s to get enraged about? Cancellations happen. The market takes an occasional nosedive, and companies run low on money. Now the creators can work on their creations online (the Megatoyko model) and a print collection can be published when the market improves.


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