Tokyopop News: CSI Interns, Kindaichi, INVU, Company Plans, more

I was fortunate to be invited to a recent Tokyopop webcast where editor Lillian Diaz-Przybyl presented information on an upcoming work and took questions.

CSI: Intern at Your Own Risk

CSI: Intern at Your Own Risk cover
CSI: Intern at Your Own Risk
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First, we saw a small preview of the CSI Interns book, due out in early September. Although Gil Grissom and Catherine Willows make an appearance in the introduction, it mostly focuses on a new group of younger interns. Apparently, CSI has a significant teenage audience, which should overlap with the traditional manga reader. The one-volume story is slightly larger than the usual manga format, black and white, and 192 pages. It will also contain a preview of a CSI novel from Pocket Books.

Company Focus

After that, there was a short statement about how this is a year of “refocusing and reorganizing” for Tokyopop. They have about half as many titles now as a year ago in order to better focus on “what we think can be successful in a slow market”. They want to regroup and regrow to be in a better position to handle what’s going on in the economy.

In terms of causes for this change in strategy, returns had a big impact on them, because “the book market works on consignment”. Most of their audience shops at Barnes & Noble and Borders, and spring 2008 brought “massive waves of returns”. Now, they’re working on controlling inventory and being much more careful about what is printed.

The Kindaichi Mystery

Then came questions. I asked when we’d see another Kindaichi volume, which got the answer “It’s a mystery!”

Seriously, Lillian said there a lot of licensing issues with Kodansha right now (and they’re not the only company facing them). Plus, “not enough non-bloggers are exited about it”. They want to support the series, but it’s a “tough go”.

Other Questions: Format, Manhwa

It was asked whether Tokyopop was planning more longer-format titles (like the double-sized Tsubasa). The answer was possibly, because more content is a good value for customers, but the licensers are not always excited about them. They were able to do the thicker Tsubasa volumes because that series had been re-released as bindups in Japan, so that’s what they licensed.

Someone else asked whether Tokyopop had dropped their manhwa line. The answer was that many of them probably won’t be seen again, but there are some exceptions: Rebirth, King of Hell, and (most exciting to me) INVU volume 5, which is due in November.

I appreciated the opportunity to speak directly with the company’s representative and openly ask questions. I hope there are more such chances in future.

14 Comments

  1. […] Tokyopop up to these days? Johanna Draper Carlson summarizes a recent webinar for bloggers, which I also particpated in but didn’t have time to write up. […]

  2. This CSI project could be interesting…

  3. Also, the format – including the prose novel excerpt – echoes what’s already been done in cross-promotion between the two publishers re: Star Trek: the Manga. This should work.

  4. I was surprised to hear about the audience overlap, myself. The CSI format is also similar to the recent Tokyopop Ghostbusters release.

  5. […] Johanna Draper Carlson attends a recent virtual press conference thrown by Tokyopop and reports on what was said: After that, there was a short statement about how this is a year of “refocusing and […]

  6. mark thorpe

    No word on GTO the early years: Shonan Junai Gumi? Can I start assuming that it’s been greased like every other good book they had (Beck, Preist, and I still can’t forget how they tried to kill Dragon Head)?

  7. If they’re (TOKYOPOP)not going to release anymore Kindaichi books, they should release it as a downloadable manga at least. Besides, I am missing a few volumes I really would like to have, but won’t due to out of stock situation everywhere. Paying over 30 dollars / used manga is not an option, so I would most pleasantly buy a digital copy from TOKYOPOP (max. 5$/download please).

  8. I don’t think I’d be happy having part of a series in digital and part in print. It would frustrate me. And I’m not sure for how long they have the rights licensed from the Japanese publisher, or if digital rights were part of their deal. (I suspect not.) But it’s a good idea for them to consider going forward.

  9. Yes, you’re right. It would not be 100% satisfying, but I wouldn’t mind the format if it would be the only option to read the Headless Samurai, Playing the Fool, the Gentleman Thief, which I am unfortunately missing forever. In addition I don’t think we will ever see the reprints of these titles due to the rather poor sales, so digital format would be the only way. But as you, Johanna, pointed out they probably don’t have rights of digital publishing.

    Too bad the printing volume has been so small. Also some new titles of TOKYOPOP have immediately been out of print after the release. For example the third novel of the Twelve Kingdoms (Hardcover, 2009) can’t be bought anymore unless you’re willing to pay 100$-200$ for a used copy, well I am not.

  10. watashi: I’m not sure where you live, but here in Canada finding the third volume of Twelve Kingdoms is complicated by the fact that Chapters-Indigo put the wrong cover and title on that particular book record. I believe Amazon.ca did the same thing, but I sent in a correction and it got fixed.

    It’s not available through Indigo online anymore, but there are about 10 stores in Toronto that still have it in stock. If you’re in the States this might not be as helpful, but you can still get a book at cover price if you’re willing to pay the shipping.

    (Sorry for butting in, but I work for both a bookstore AND a library. I have a pathological need to help people find books.) :)

  11. Hi Cathy! Thank you for being nice & helpful. Actually, I live in Europe, so shipping costs tend to be much for ordering only one item, especially when bought from individuals. I have (very soon) the first two books in hardcover, but I guess I’ll accept the third paperpack release when it’s available in Europe. Hopely it won’t be out of stock instantly. Thank you for trying to help out!

  12. Oi. That was less than helpful, then! I confess that while I have spent more on shipping than on the book I was buying (I finished the Fruits Basket series by buying the other editions off of ebay) it was definitely an emotionally based decision rather than logical. Thumbing my nose at Tokyopop was worth it at the time, though. :)

  13. […] I’m attending the Tokyopop online press conference and sharing my notes with you. (I previously attended a similar presentation in July.) […]

  14. […] of waiting that caused a lot of useful discussion online. Earlier, she was a presence at the webcasts the company did in 2009. (I miss those. They were fun and […]

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