The retailer-focused site ICv2 has posted an interview with Carl Horn, manga editor at Dark Horse. In it, he discusses my favorite manga title of theirs, The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. Unfortunately, the references aren’t encouraging.
It’s brought up in the context of titles that don’t have anime or live-action spin-offs, and as a result, it’s implied, it has “critical acclaim but sold very poorly.” Manga sells better if there’s an entertainment tie-in, which builds awareness and may even be seen as a sign of quality. Horn goes on:
If you only release a few volumes of series like that, you can make it profitable. You’ll still be in the black on a few volumes, but if you keep going, most series get gradual sales declines, and eventually the entire project gets into the red. So you start to lose money on the entire thing. There’s only so far you can go with that as a publisher. You can lose money for a little while if you really care about the book and it’s high quality, but after a while it gets to be a little ridiculous. You can do things like space out the releases so you don’t lose too much blood at one time, but that’s also a difficult way to keep readers’ attention.
I articulate these things because they illustrate one aspect of the ongoing challenges that I face. I won’t be satisfied as a manga editor until I can find ways to make books like that more successful. We’re hoping that with our new relationship with Random House that we’ll be able to reach a wider audience.
That explains why we haven’t seen a volume of Kurosagi CDS since December 2012. I second the hopes that more readers find the series.