Digital Manga Launches New, Smaller Tezuka Kickstarter

Ludwig B Kickstarter

After the massive failure of their overly ambitious Kickstarter to publish 31 books by Osamu Tezuka, Digital Manga is back with another try, one they’re calling “Smaller, Quicker, and Affordable”.

It’s faster than I expected, frankly, but I suspect that Digital Manga started replanning long before the previous effort finished, given the amount of feedback they got from potential customers. This time, they’re asking for a more reasonable $21,600 to publish two volumes of Ludwig B, Tezuka’s unfinished Beethoven story created late in his life.

Ludwig B Kickstarter

In the company’s Q&A, one gathers hints of the feelings behind the choice:

It is a fascinating drama with much emphasis on Ludwig van Beethoven’s rearing life and how he came to be one of the greatest music composers. Tezuka mentioned in his afterword that he relates to Beethoven in many ways, including to being a relocation freak himself. Beethoven changed his residence on 17 occasions in his lifetime, Tezuka moved 8 times before he got married. Tezuka actually visited Beethoven’s apartment in Vienna so you can imagine how much he was into his life while he was working on the title. The story takes you back to the late 1700 to early 1800 in Europe where the aristocrats frequently abuse and oppress the common people. As a commoner himself, Beethoven often encountered prejudice & discrimination but he bravely fought back and used it as motivation to end up being an official composer for the Royal Family.

Q2 – Why did you pick this series?
Because I can relate to the story so much. It’s like myself and my company, Digital Manga, where we are always pushed back by our big competitors with a lot more resources, connections, manpower, etc.

[…] Being poor makes you a great human being!!

The books will have a list price of $15.95, and Kickstarter supporters can get both in print for $32 (plus international shipping; domestic US is included), which seems fair. If you just want digital, the price is two-for-one, both volumes for $15. Many higher-priced tiers include collectible goodies as well. Estimated print date is next July.

Now, whether the previous Kickstarter titles will ever be tried again is an open question. I was once told, given my dislike of some of Tezuka’s old-fashioned “mature” works, that Rainbow Parakeet would be best for me to try. That was one of the titles in the failed effort. If it’s seen as tainted, that would be a shame.

In a statement included in the Kickstarter from the company president, they give this information:

So instead of publishing 50~70 books a year, we have switched the gear to 20~30 volumes. This change would substantially lower the cost of publishing including licensing fees, advanced royalties, labor, and other pertinent expenses. It would still take 20 some years to make all books available but it is way better than waiting 50~60 years. Under this revised schedule, we would still need to run each Kickstarter campaign with 1~5 books while leaving 1~2 weeks breathing period between each campaign in order to reach our milestone of rolling out over 400 books within the given time frame.

So expect to see a lot more Digital Manga Kickstarters this coming year. It remains to be seen whether they get declining results from using the method so frequently.


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