What’s Up With Tokyopop? New Book Unavailable

I like the Aria series, but I no longer preorder manga from any retailer. I want to be able to browse, and usually manga, since they’re in book format, are pretty easy to find. That wasn’t the case here.

Aria Book 4 cover
Aria Book 4
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Aria Book 4 came out at the beginning of December. I had some credit with a mail-order retailer, so I asked them to send it to me, along with several other graphic novels, at the beginning of January. I just got the shipment, but Aria 4 wasn’t in it. It seems that it’s sold out from Diamond.

Now, these folks are good, so I’m assuming that since they didn’t mention “we’ll try again later” that that word was final. For comparison, Amazon lists it as shipping “within 11 to 13 days”, not a good sign. (The longer a period they list, the less chance you’ll ever be able to get the book.) Borders and Books-a-Million says 2-4 weeks. Barnes & Noble simply says “not available”.

I’m now wondering… is Tokyopop only printing to initial orders? Have their print runs decreased? That’s no way to build series customers. I was very disappointed that I wasn’t able to get the book I wanted through my preferred outlet. I feel like I’m being forced into preordering, and I don’t see how this does the publisher, retailer, or customer any good.

11 Comments

  1. With Nozomi, an independent producer, finally coming through with the Aria anime series — it would be the height of stupidity for Tokyopop to not support the manga with everything they’ve got.

    ##

    I’m not saying that Tokyopop is going to reverse itself here.

    I guess what I’m saying is that Tokyopop is stupid.

  2. I’m guessing that Tokyopop is having the same problem that other manga publishers are facing with order numbers where one of the big B&M bookstores will place an order for a title and another may choose to pass on the book completely (and vice versa). The results is that print runs are getting smaller and more to order leaving few copies left for reorders and backlist.

  3. Additionally the Diamond cancellation list for February (available at their website) shows a “cancelled by publisher” for Aria volume 5 (along with 15 other, mostly freshly solicited titles).

  4. [...] that answers that question. I’m having a hard time finding Aria 4 because Tokyopop has given up on the series, along [...]

  5. [...] Tokyopop only printing to initial orders? That’s the question that Johanna Draper Carlson is asking, after the almost immediate sellout of the fourth volume of Kozue Amano’s charming [...]

  6. It could also be that Tokyopop is having the same issue that many businesses are having today: The credit markets are not available for many businesses. It may not even be a Tokyopop issue, but rather the printer they’re using. It could be anywhere in the supply chain.

    Or it could be that, once again, Tokyopop made a mistake. They seem to be good at that…

  7. [...] Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson reports having trouble getting a copy of vol. 4 of Aria. What’s up with that? I asked Tokyopop [...]

  8. I asked Marco Pavia directly and he said that the sales exceeded projections and they ran out. Given that ADV published the first three volumes of Aria a while ago, longtime readers may have just picked up the series again with volume 4. I posted his answer in full over at MangaBlog.

  9. “sales exceeded projections and they ran out.”

    Which really doesn’t say anything at all. It could mean demand went up as easily as it could mean they projected demand to go down and printed fewer books.

    Gotta love corporate speak: talk without actually saying anything.

  10. Brigid, thank you so much for following up, but I’d be more reassured if the answers weren’t quite so generic. It reminds me of what ADV Manga was saying a while back, and we still haven’t seen any new books from them.

    I think your supposition, about readers coming back, is likely accurate.

  11. [...] After some trouble, I finally found a copy of the latest chapter of this gorgeous series. [...]

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