I noticed in early November that Tokyopop was selling print-on-demand volumes, at which point an editor from that company said “there will actually be a major announcement of this program when we’re ready to officially announce it.” Now appears to be that time — Tokyopop sent out the following press release.
TOKYOPOP, the country’s leading independent manga media company, Baker & Taylor Inc., the world’s largest distributor of physical and digital books and entertainment products, and e-commerce solution leader MashON, today announced the launch of the new TOKYOPOP Shop at www.TOKYOPOP.com. The new shop features manga-branded merchandise through MashON’s e-commerce solutions and thousands of manga titles, including titles that were previously out-of-print, such as Arm of Kannon, Gorgeous Carat, and Liling-Po.
This launch with TOKYOPOP is Baker & Taylor’s latest step in expanding TextStream’s presence in the publishing community. TextStream provides publishers with a full range of print-on-demand / print-to-order services and a wide variety of binding formats and trim sizes.
“TOKYOPOP has an amazingly loyal, passionate fan base, and offering print-on-demand will allow fans to complete their collections of their favorite series with volumes that had been out-of-print,” said Larry Bennett, Vice President of Digital Print Media for Baker & Taylor.
This partnership with MashON will allow TOKYOPOP to offer a wide array of merchandise with manga brand designs – already including iphone skins and mini-posters – with many new brands and products to be rolled out in the near future.
“As a technology provider, MashON has created a model for TOKYOPOP to integrate our eCommerce and Creative Platform with Baker & Taylor in such a way that it is the new benchmark for the publishing industry. It’s exciting to see the offering resonate with TOKYOPOP’s fans, especially when we consider that this initial launch is only a small fraction of the features to come. The combination of processes and technology which has been created and refined for TOKYOPOP, presents an incredibly attractive opportunity for publishers wishing to expand their product offering without increasing their inventory risk.” said Andre Costa de Sousa, MashON’s Head of Special Projects.
The new TOKYOPOP Shop is in an early beta stage and will be growing with new special discounts, bundle packages, and exclusive merchandise over the coming months. The Shop enters the marketplace at competitive pricing with a 30 percent storewide discount and free shipping on orders $25 or more.
That might explain why the print-on-demand prices were so high — price ‘em up so you can make people feel like they’re getting a deal. Already people have noted that the pricing doesn’t make a lot of sense in some cases. Amazon has Demon Sacred Volume 3, which came out November 30, at $7.23. That’s a 34% discount off the list price of $10.99. Tokyopop’s own website lists the MSRP of the book at $10.99. But when you click the Buy Now link at the Tokyopop site (link no longer available — the print-on-demand store has been taken down to build a “much better shopping experience”), you see the price listed at $11.19, discounted from the list price of $15.99 for print-on-demand.
This price game may make sense when the first professionally printed run sells through and Tokyopop becomes the only supplier of the book, but for now, it looks like they are trying to soak their customers.