manga bookshelf

TOKYOPOP shuts down US publishing

Having just entitled a post “WTF Friday,” it was tempting to name this “The REAL WTF Friday.” And as I find I have little stomach for reporting this news, I’ll do it as simply as possible.

Reported by Heidi McDonald at The Beat this afternoon: End of an era: Tokyopop shutting down US publishing division

The news was confirmed by ANN.

There will surely be a great many opinion posts & essays in the wake of this, and probably more news as well. I’ll plan to add particularly worthwhile links here. Expect a more thorough news post later on from Kate.

Readers, thoughts on this unpleasant development?

ETA: Michelle Smith, level-headed as always, takes a look at what books we might hope to see through the end of May.

ETA 2: Brigid Alverson asks an important question about OEL creators’ rights at Robot 6.

ETA 3: Kate’s terrific piece is up, and Heidi McDonald rounds up links, which means I don’t have to.

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  1. Danielle Leigh says:

    eh. I was going to post something relentlessly negative, but there’s really no point. I’ll hope for some license rescues and try not to be too heartbroken about unfinished series.

    I think TP is currently putting out entirely too much mid-level shojo but, of course, some of those mid-level shojo titles are favorites.

    But I think I’ll miss Junjo Romantica the most. A BL title that sold quite well (well enough for reprints) and they were just about to start releasing another title by the same author (Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi, which also has an anime starting right now and would have done quite well for the publisher). Argggh. It’s hard to let this title go. I mean, I have other favorites (Silver Diamond, Shinobi Life, Alice in the Country of Hearts) but Junjo has a special place in my heart and I know Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi would have had one as well.

  2. David Welsh says:

    Tokyopop published some wonderful comics over the years. My sympathies go out to their employees, along with my appreciation for their efforts in bringing me books I’ve enjoyed.

  3. Damn.

    That’s pretty much what I’m thinking right now. I was trying to write a more elaborate reply but it kept turning into incoherent babbling.

    Butterfly, Shinobi Life, Demon Sacred…


  4. Well guess this means I wont be getting volume Fate/Stay Night volume 12 but man this is just bad all around if Tokyo Pop shuts down in North America makes me a little uneasy abotu the other compaines in short all I can say is it’s an crying shame nothing more nothing less.

  5. Stephanie says:

    First, I’m sorry for all the people who have lost their jobs, from full-time staffers to freelancers. D.N. angel was the first manga I bought when I became a fan (thanks TP commercials on Cartoon Network). They have released some of my favorite titles but the company has been in trouble for a long time now. My only hope is that other American Publishers will rescue the licenses. Digital Manga would score well with the Blu catalog, especially Junjo and Sekai-Ichi. But I have lost hope for my all-time favorite series, Saiyuki. Looking over my library I have 22 series that I will probably never see finished. It is a sad day for the manga community.

  6. Wow, I did not see this one coming.. Tokyopop has certainly made missteps over the years, but they published some of the first series I ever read, ones that convinced me I needed to read more manga — not to mention atleast three of my favorite series (Tramps Like Us, Fruits Basket, Cardcaptor Sakura) — so I’m very sad to hear this. I don’t even know what else to say, I’m a little bit shocked. I guess they had been such a big powerhouse of manga publishing for so long I figured they’d always be there. Condolences to all the talented people who worked for them, thanks for all the work you did and good luck in the future.

  7. Katherine Dacey says:
  8. GAH! WHAT!!!?! Oh man, where am I gonna get the rest of Demon Sacred and Future Diary :( Does someone have to license rescue them?

    Still, sad to see another blow to the manga industry :(

  9. I’ll quote what I said on the friend’s LJ where I read this news first:

    Awful. For the employees, for all the readers who were collecting series, too. For the manga industry as readers get ever more careful about buying manga at all – who knows who’ll dissappear next?

    Selfishly I am glad that the German Tokyopop seems to be untroubled, they have some nice releases, which I shall now finish in German – they had the advantage of never having VIZ entering that market and the guy who got the job of leading there had previously single-handedly built up manga at comics publisher Ehapa (for manga we only have Ehapa-Egmont, Carlsen and Tokyopop over here).

    For example the current series of the Fruits Basket creator has just started to run in Germany. Aria the slice-of-life manga has gotten almost all its volumes released by now. We had the Sailor Moon manga in its entirety in the 90s – it was the start of the shoujo boom over here, because the German publishers seem to have worked to the standards the mangaka wanted.

    Of course, if I were able to read French there would be so many more manga I could read… the French started 10 to 15 years earlier than the rest of the west…

    • Katherine Dacey says:

      I’m not sure the German office will continue to publish manga; the articles I’ve read have mentioned the Hamburg office’s “global licensing operations,” which I interpreted to mean selling intellectual property rights, not publishing. If I get clarification on that issue, I’ll update my own piece with that information.

      • Katherine Dacey says:

        Strike my previous comment; the online consensus seems to be that the European publishing arm of TOKYOPOP is unaffected (for the time being, at least).

        • Hah, and I was going to convince you with the quote from the official press release:

          TOKYOPOP film and television projects and European operations, including the German publishing program, will not be affected by the Los Angeles office closure.

          Joachim Kaps had a lot of clout BEFORE he went away from Carlsen and I think he mostly dealt with the TOKYOPOP brand as a kind of franchise. I’m fairly sure he would have gotten credit extended anyway and I can’t remember any cancellations of titles they had announced – long waiting for particular releases yes, but no outright cancellations.

          • Note that I don’t know any longer if he had worked for Carlsen or Ehapa, heh. It’s been quite a while since that change… 6 years? hmm

            Well there is no official news release on their site yet, though. There is news about an ebay auction with original art from various German Mangaka and one piece of art by Akira Toriyama which will benefit a German charity in aid of the victims of Japan’s earthquake – starting on the 18th of this month, but that’s it.

            Ah, there actually is an official reply to that in their forums, let me see if I can translate that…

          • Quoting Joachim Kaps answer with a very literal translation:

            Our American sister company TOKYOPOP Inc. has announced today that the operational business in the USA will be shut down on Mai 31st 2011 and the bureau in Los Angeles will be closed. After almost 15 years a publisher’s success story comes to its sad end against the backdrop of dramatic changes on the American book market

            As has been already emphasised in the US press release, TOKYOPOP GmbH in Hamburg is not affected by these changes in the US and will continue all its activities in the exact same manner.

            Due to the continuing growth of support by our readers and authors, our license- and business partners, TOKYOPOP Germany has been able to continually raise its total revenue and its net operating profit after taxes in recent years. TP Germany operates financially independent of the US branch. The start into the current year has been very positive as well, due to your faithful support of our series, so we have every reason to look forward in an optimistic way to the developments on the German market.

            The management and the whole team in Germany only feel more motivated – to show respect for the achievements of our American colleagues in the last 15 years as well – to lead the brand TOKYOPOP as a publishing home for Manga and Comics into a successful future. More than before we will pay attention to the international marketing of topics [properties?] that have been developed by TOKYOPOP.

            Today our thoughts are with our colleagues in the USA, with whom we had the privilege to work in the past seven years and among whom we didn’t just find colleagues but friends during the course of those years. We wish every single one of them a lot of luck on their continuing way through life and very much hope that some of them will be able to continue their career in our line of business so that it will continue to be enriched with innovative ideas.

            At the same time we will tackle with increased force the advancement of our plans for a continuing positive development of the German branch of TOKYOPOP and of the German manga market. We would be delighted if all fans would continue to support us on our way in as enthusiastical a manner as they have in the past.

            • Katherine Dacey says:

              Thank you—you’ve performed a major public service for European manga readers!

              • Awww – well I actually wanted to give you Manga Bookshelf crowd all the available info on the Tokyopop business, so you could add that to your great coverage of the situation.

                I’ve enjoyed so many of your articles and discussions, so it’s nice to contribute something to your knowledge.

  10. It is really sad and disappointing what is happening. I totally didn’t expect TOKYOPOP to shut down and so all of a sudden. I wouldn’t say I collect many of their catalog titles but most of the ones I do are unfinished such as Gakuen Alice, Alice in the Country of Hearts, V.B. Rose, Jyunjyo Romantica and I was so excited about Shungiku Nakamura’s Sekaiichi Hatsukoi which was going to debut in July but it seems that won’t be the case anymore.

    I still have hope as the future of the unfinished series is not yet clear and so there is a chance for few of them to continue publishing in one away or the other. I just hope they won’t go digital. I know I am being a bit unrealistic here but it is really sad to see that everything is going digital nowadays. Don’t people read physical books no more?

  11. goosh, and i was barely gonna buy junjou romatica volumes…and was so excited for the sekaiichi hatuskoi release on June/July…this sucks! >.> a bunch of my favorite titles like loveless and fruits basket are under tokyopop..wait so this means no reprints right?


  1. […] to read the comment thread at Manga Bookshelf, where regular reader Estara has provided a helpful translation of Joachim Kaps’ official statement about the company’s future in Europe. Looks like the Germany division will continue to […]

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