Don’t Be Childish About the End of a Publishing Relationship

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Digital Manga seems to be having trouble, relying on Kickstarters to fund the publication of many of their books recently. Libre Publishing is the biggest Japanese publisher of boys’ love titles and a partner with Viz in the SuBLime yaoi English-language manga line. Previously, Digital Manga was bringing a number of Libre titles to English, but they are no longer working together as of the end of June.

In letting fans know about this, Digital Manga’s press release about this change sounds more like a tantrum than a professional company announcement.

DMI worked tirelessly to maintain an ongoing relationship with Libre and keep Finder titles in print, even going so far as to implement a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in order to meet English reader fans’ continuing worldwide demand for the series. Libre’s unjust termination of the publishing agreement means that DMI’s readership will never be able to read Finder volume 8 or the rest of the series in English. DMI president Hikaru Sasahara elaborated, “We are stunned and saddened that Libre has chosen to end our publishing agreement and included ongoing titles like Finder. We believe this is especially unfair to English reader fans since we know it will mean they will not be able to support the artists or publishers and may have to resort to scanlations.”

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Really? Going so far as to encourage piracy because you’re bitter another company chooses to no longer do business with you? Calling a contract negotiation that didn’t succeed “unjust”? And that Finder Kickstarter had issues making it to the goal, which may cause some to wonder just how good a shape your company is in. Particularly if you need to turn to fans via crowdsourcing in order to afford reprints and are terrible when it comes to missing release dates.

The press release mentions “almost 70” titles affected, but based on this list, it’s more like 85. Sure, that’s a huge blow, but geez, be responsible about it.

The ex-partner apparently felt the same way, saying

We were surprised by the recent press release from DMI regarding the ending of their agreement with Libre, and dismayed that they decided to make a business matter public in such an abrupt manner. The agreement was terminated some time ago under just cause due to a breach of contract, with DMI granted a sell-off period for any remaining stock.

Moving forward, we would like to reassure our English-language readers that we are actively working on plans so that they will be able to continue reading their favorite Libre series, including ongoing ones.

Yeah, “dismayed” is a good word. No additional information has come out that I’ve seen about the “breach of contract”, but it’s plausible. I suspect, since SuBLime has picked up other titles, that they would be a good choice for those Libre plans.

Update: I had missed (but Ash Brown caught) that SuBLime has announced that they will continue the publishing of Finder in English next year.

SuBLime has secured both print and digital rights for Finder and will release volume 8 in March of 2017. We will then rerelease the prior volumes, starting with volume 1 on May of 2017, continuing with a new volume every other month thereafter.

… As for the rest of Libre’s catalogue of titles, we will be taking a look through what series remain unfinished. Although we wish we could rescue everything for you, that simply isn’t feasible. Feel free to mention in comments any series you feel should be top for consideration (remember that this is only for Libre Publishing titles). If we do decide to rescue any other titles, we’ll make an announcement at that time. Please understand that we cannot comment on rescue possibilities.

I would like to give a big thank you to Libre and to Sensei for working so quickly on this matter, allowing us to make this announcement in record time. And thank you, everyone, for your continued support! It’s because of you that we have been able to establish such great relationships with our Japanese partners, and we hope you’re as thrilled as we over this exciting announcement.

Yes, work becomes so much easier if you create and maintain “great relationships” with business partners.



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