Jumping on the bandwagon once again, I’ll throw in another 2 cents about Tokyopop. No ranting this time though. I think this is a good move for Tokyopop. Attention can be divided up properly, and well as investment. Tokyopop has alway tried to be on the cutting end of bring manga to new technologies, something I wholeheartedly believe in. But, I think these new digital mediums may have been distracting to the publishing side, and the publishing may even have been at odds with the digital side. Separating the two may help both grow without having to worry what the other is thinking or may do to stop them.
I think the reduction of releases is also a good idea. Quality is always better than quantity, and Tokyopop seemed to be doing the latter. I did some number crunching of TP titles at the end of 2007, and in just a 5 month period, they had 212 releases, with 37 new titles and 34 titles ending. About 1/6th of their titles monthly were either starting or ending. A lot of these titles were mediocre and short. As has been mentioned elsewhere, TP doesn’t have access to the super hot titles. Narrowing down their catalog to those titles that create the buzz and/or sell well is better in the long run both for the company and readers. We won’t have to wade through the chaff to find the wheat.
There have been worries that Tokyopop will work more on it’s OEL titles than import titles. I don’t see this as bad. If TP can do a proper editing job, and not be sneaky or condescending in their contracts, I think creating more OEL manga is a good thing. There have been some good titles to come out of these first few years. Dramacon, Bizenghast, and My Cat Loki are titles I’ve really enjoyed reading. We shouldn’t shy away from creating more works inspired by manga. We can’t rely on the Japanese, or Koreans for our reading material forever. We should want to create our own graphic novels (whatever we end up calling it), both original stories and adapatations of successful novels. I’m glad Tokyopop started the OEL line and hope they can learn from their mistakes and make the books better.
With the economy in recession, a lot of changes are going to need to be made. People are changing their spending habits to accommodate the rise in gas and food prices. Companies like Tokyopop that rely on people spending spare cash have to make changes just like everyone else. Becoming more competitive like this will be for the better.