Tokyopop Returns… Again. Sort Of.

The Tokyopop website is up again. The domain was previously redirected to Facebook a little under two years ago. Now, it’s a way to promote sales of their titles through RightStuf.com, their print-on-demand partner, as well as logo merchandise hosted on CafePress.

The sales links caused some confusion, since they list an awful lot of Tokyopop’s OEL titles, plus Hetalia, the one license Stu Levy managed to keep. (Some random thoughts on the entire list: I had no idea Tokyopop put out so much non-manga manga, including many titles I’d never heard of. Plus, they’re putting them up with list prices attached, but RightStuf is selling them at less. Sometimes, much less.)

The Tokyopop Twitter account had to clarify last week,

Smiley face aside, Tokyopop’s promises in relation to the rights of the OEL creators in the past have been sketchy, so some might understand why creators would jump to negative conclusions. Six months ago, as discussed in that link, the publisher was saying that he’d negotiate for the return of OEL property rights, only to have some creators say when they asked, the answer was a flat “no”.

C. Lijewski, author of Re:Play, posted a plea on DeviantArt for her readers not to buy the books from Tokyopop. (She’s “lucyseven” on Twitter.)

Please don’t buy them. Buying them won’t help me at all, I won’t see a dime from them and any sales will just make my property seem like it has some money in it which will make it ever harder to ever get my property back.

That led to another Twitter exchange from the publisher’s official voice:

In response to which the artist pointed out that she was still owed recompense from Tokyopop that they didn’t provide:

However, another creator apparently did successfully reclaim her rights. Jen Lee Quick, author of Off*Beat, has announced plans to reprint books 1 and 2 and eventually publish the never-seen book 3, as she discussed in November 2011.

For more on Tokyopop’s future as a “virtual company”, read this panel liveblog by Mike Huang. Depending on your view of the company, the news that Japanese manga publishers are “reluctant” to license rights to a company using print-on-demand may be seen as a good or bad thing. Hetalia books 4 and 5 are still under negotiation. Tokyopop is looking into Kickstarter and potential TV/movie adaptations of OEL manga, since they still own the rights to those.

6 Comments

  1. Ed Sizemore

    Johanna, Do you know if Alex DeCampi ever got the rights to her books back?

  2. I’m guessing no, since she’s smart enough that if she did, she’d be using them/promoting the works/doing new versions or something.

  3. Has Jen Lee Quick said that she actually got the rights back to Off*Beat, or is it a situation like King City where Brandon Graham merely got permission to have it printed at another company (but TokyoPop still owns a majority share in the rights)? I’m hoping it’s the former but fearing it’s the latter…

  4. Yeah I was skeptical about this from the begining usealy if something seems too good to be true it is

  5. The odds of me buying anything with Stu Levy’s mitts on it are about the same as the “new” Tokyopop re-licensing Beck (read: un-freakin’-likely). He’s burned an awful lot of bridges over the past two years. If he wants to rebuild goodwill amongst those he’s spurned in the past, he’s got a mile, a while, and a ways to go. (There’s nothing I can suggest that can help clear Stu Levy’s name, outside of tricking uneducated “fans” into buying copies of Hetalia.)

    Something tells me this Tokyopop revival’s going to burn out faster than a faulty firecracker…

  6. [...] month, Jen Lee Quick mentioned plans to reprint the first two volumes of her Tokyopop series Off*Beat and publish a new volume 3. Now, the company [...]

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