More on those Tokyopop cancellations

Yesterday, Comics Worth Reading posted a list of cancelled Tokyopop titles, but as I pointed out earlier, that list reflects cancelled solicitations, not cancelled series. I just finished a volley of e-mails with Marco Pavia, Tokyopop’s marketing director, and confirmed that indeed, the list reflects a shift in timing. Here’s Marco:

You are correct that we’ve postponed—not cancelled—these series, although the .Hack Manga-Novel Special Edition (a manga & novel combo book of two previously pubbed volume 1′s, at a value price) is something we may not publish, because of some licensing issues.

In general, we have spaced out the release frequency of some slower-selling titles, and as a result, we have fewer releases each month. I believe our release-plan refinement was reported in December.

Yes, it was, although that’s a bit vague. I asked Marco for some books that had been previously listed as cancelled, and he responded with vol. 5 of Love Attack, vol. 2 of StarCraft Frontline, and the Camp Rock Cine-Manga, which I have a copy of right now so I can vouch that it exists. I looked back at the list of cancelled fall titles that Christopher Butcher posted at Comics212 a while back, and I did find some volumes that have made it to print: vol. 3 of Silver Diamond, the Ai Yori Aoshi omnibus. Also, vol. 3 of Jyu-oh-Sei, which is on Johanna’s list, is now scheduled for a June 2009 release.

So, more or less as I reported last August, Tokyopop is slowing their releases. Mathematics as well as economics would dictate that this means some books will never re-appear, and Tokyopop could be more forthcoming about that, but the fact is that a cancelled solicitation does not necessarily mean a cancelled volume or series; in some cases, it’s just a matter of timing.

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  1. I’m glad that Jyu-Oh-Sei vol. 3 is only being delayed to June and not cancelled altogether. Do you know if Aria vol. 5 has also been rescheduled?

  2. Doinkies— I was the one on CWR who checked the amazon listings, and amazon’s date hasn’t changed for Aria, though it could be. Tokyopop’s listings in Previews have shrunk even more lately, so maybe the cancellations were a last minute reshuffling, after the larger schedule rework they’d already done. It does make ordering series confusing, and TP could of made it less bad by using the “will resolicit” option rather then the “cancelled by publisher” one.

  3. I asked about vol. 5 of Aria but Marco was shying away from getting too specific. I suppose it’s better to be vague than to promise something specific and then not deliver.

  4. I’d like they put thing clearly and be honest with us. I live in Brazil and got used to bay manga released in USA. I read Life and I think it’s cancelled forever. Not only due to Tokyopop crisis, but also Kodansha plans. Well, well, this world of publishers is not fair in any country.

  5. As Andre says, Diamond has a different code for “we’re know we’re going to offer this later instead”: it’s 2, Will Resolicit. (I explain that more at my site.) If Tokyopop really is sure that Aria will be moved later in the year, then they could have avoided a lot of speculation by using that code instead of the outright “Cancelled by Publisher”.

    While we may see some of the titles on this cancellation list reappear, I doubt we’ll see all or even half of them return. Tokyopop is cutting back, and it’s their marketing director’s job not to make that obvious to avoid additional speculation about the company’s health.

  6. Marco said that for whatever reason, Diamond preferred that Tokyopop list the books as cancelled for that month, but he asked me to check with Diamond and I wasn’t able to track anyone down. (Admittedly, I didn’t try that hard—it was Friday afternoon and I had a lot of other things to do.) I think another factor may indeed be that they are not sure which books will be coming back. What happens if you go with “2, Will Resolicit,” and then never follow through?

    I don’t think Marco would deny that some books aren’t coming back, but it’s not in his best interest to say which ones. I wouldn’t—suppose I promised that some specific title would definitely be published, and then something unexpected came up, such as the Diamond changes (which seem to have forced a lot of cancellations). And yes, it’s his job to put the best spin on things, and of course one always considers the source when having this sort of conversation. I do think you’re right that many, if not most, of these books are gone for good. However, there is a difference between cancelling a solicitation and cancelling a series outright, and that’s what I was trying to clarify.

  7. Yes, definitely, sorry if I sounded argumentative. And how much of a real promise a Code 2 is is a good question.

  8. Shannon Watters says:

    I did the copy edit for Aria Vol. 5 back at the beginning of December (which was fun, since the series was a favorite of mine when I worked for TP full-time before the June layoffs), so it seems unlikely to me that a book that far along (translated, adapted, laid-out, retouched and copy-edited) would be canceled completely. However, as you stated above, unexpected events do happen and anything could end up falling by the wayside.


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