Another Bad Manga Industry Sign: Del Rey Lays Off Ali Kokmen

Not much to the news beyond that, unfortunately. Ali Kokmen, friend of this blog and all-around terrific guy, has been laid off from Del Rey, as revealed in the fourth paragraph of this Publishers Weekly Comic-Con writeup:

… there’s another casualty in the manga market downturn. Longtime Del Rey manager marketing manager Ali Kokmen (who is roaming the floor at Comic-Con) has been laid off. Like every other manga publisher, Del Rey has been cutting back on the number of titles it publishes, and there is much speculation about the impact of Japanese publisher Kodansha, which supplies most of Del Rey’s manga list, launching a U.S. office and its effect on the Del Rey Manga licenses. There is much speculation that Kokmen’s departure may be the first indication of changes coming in the comics publishing program at Del Rey.

We’ve been worried about that here at MangaWorthReading.com, what with Del Rey’s growing dependence on licensed graphic novel adaptations of prose books they publish. Those have been growing in number while manga declined. Combined with the move to manga omnibus editions, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a continued cutback in the titles they publish, although that would be disappointing.

Update: Heidi reminds us that Del Rey is still distributing Kodansha manga, and parent company Random House distributes DC’s graphic novels.

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