This Week in Manga 1/30-2/5/10

One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall

Last Friday night, news started coming in over twitter that Amazon had pulled the buy buttons from all of publisher MacMillian’s books from their website.  The books could only be purchased there from 3rd party sellers, and this was for both print and digital books.  This included all of their imprints such as First Second books, Tor, and Seven Seas Entertainment.  The New York Times then broke the story that Amazon and MacMillian were arguing over Amazon’s $9.99 pricing for e-books.  MacMillian, one of the 5 publishers who had signed on to Apple’s iBooks store with the tiered pricing plan, now wanted Amazon to do the same.  Amazon’s reaction was to pull MacMillian’s books.  You can get a lot of links to reactions here.  By Sunday, Amazon had posted to their blog that they would have to give in to MacMillian’s demands, and as of this writing, the publisher’s books were being made available again.  This has been brewing for quite some time, and it seems only with the advent of the Apple iPad and iBooks store that publishers seem to be embolden enough to push for the tiered pricing.  While the iPad/iBooks is an alternative, I don’t think it’s going to be as definitive as they believe.  But the fact that Amazon has admitted it will cave shows they knew this was inevitable, and held the line as long as they could.  Whether readers will go along is another matter all together.

Careful What You Wish For

The announcement of the iPad last week had the web buzzing, but with mixed reactions.  I’ve already stated my feelings on the device.  Deb Aoki of the blog spoke to manga publishers and got their reactions to the device.  Many were optimistic about the potential, though I think for manga, the iPad isn’t going to do much.  Manga is a black and white medium.  A color screen isn’t going to add much, except maybe some contrast.  Comic publishers will find more to work with.  But I think publishers should take their time considering a deal with Apple and Jobs.  The iPad is based on the iPhone/iPod Touch operating system, a system that Jobs is determined will remained closed and under his tight control.  That means, the apps, and possibly books that will be available for it will be censored.  Just look at Yaoi Press’ troubles with getting their books on the iPhone.  Do you seriously believe that Jobs will relinquish some of his control over content?  Especially when apps for the device will transfer over?  Publishers should think very carefully before getting in bed with Jobs.  He thinks he knows what people need and doesn’t care about what they want.  They will want what he wants.  If he doesn’t want certain kinds of books being sold in his store, he will keep them out.  And that’s the wrong kind of person to have in charge of a bookstore.  Period.

A Yen For More Manga

It’s that time of year, when young lovers confess their feelings, and manga publishers look for or announce new licenses.  Yen has announced a handful, and what a handful it is!  The gag manga for The Meloncholy of Suzumiya Haruhi series, The Meloncholy of Suzumiya Haruri-chan topped the list.  This was a no brainer, since Yen already has the manga and original light novels.  Next, they add to their growing library of 4-koma manga with K-ON!, of which the anime version has attracted a lot attention.  Another light novel series will make it’s debut with the strangely titled, but also intriguing sounding plot, Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime.  Yoshinaga Fumi fans and foodies can rejoice at Yen’s next license, Not Love But Delicious Foods, and the last title is a French comic that’s a twist on fairy tales, Goldilocks and the Seven Dwarf Bears.  May have to get this one form my youngest daughter.  It’s an interesting lineup, with a lot of variety.  4-koma and light novels as well as non-Japanese licenses make Yen a publisher that diversifies.  And their concentration on titles that are known in the anime and otaku fandom certainly aren’t hurting them.

eManga For All!

Digital Manga Publishing has truly been embracing their name in this last year.  They revamped, and have been putting their books out, not just on eManga, but for the Kindle and iPhone.  Now, they’re taking the next step and are putting all of their releases out on eManga, and are sharing the wealth by making some of these titles available to readers for free.  All you have to do is follow @digitalmanga on Twitter, and wait for the message to roll by giving you the keyword to email.   If a title comes up that you’re interested in reading, I would definitely give it a try.  The eManga site is well designed, and their manga reader software is one of the best.  Even better than Viz’s.

Insider Trading

Tokyopop has changed the date of their latest Tokyopop Insider.  It’s now scheduled for Monday, February 8 at 10am PST/1pm EST.  It will feature Benjamin, the creator of the color comics Orange and Remember.  If your free, be sure to check it out.  Tokyopop is usually good for a surprise or two at their webinars, and maybe even a controversy!

NYT Best Sellers List

Wow!  What a serious shake up of the list this week!  Not only does Viz lose its near complete dominance of the list, it loses the top two spots!  Black Butler vol 1 from Yen debuts straight in at #1.  Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle vol 25 from Del Rey debuts right behind it at #2.  Spots #3 and #4 are held by former number ones Fullmetal Alchemist vol 22 and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX vol 4.  Another Del Rey title debuts at #5, Shugo Chara vol 8Naruto vol 46, which has been in the top five for weeks, falls back to #6, with Maximum Ride vol 2 and vol 1 right behind at #7 and #8.  One Piece vol 24 keeps it’s hold on the list at #9, and trailing last is Vampire Knight vol 8 at #10.  Viz falls back to only hold half of the list, with a 5/10.  Yen Press gets 3 spots and Del Rey, which hasn’t been around for a while takes 2 spots with debut titles.  But will they be able to hold on for more than a week or two?  Del Rey titles haven’t shown the stamina of Yen and Viz.

Manga For Your Ears

Sesho’s Anime and Manga Reviews

Spiraken Manga Review

This Week At Manga Village

What I’ve Been Reading

  • Cat Paradise vol 2
  • Nightschool: The Weirn Books vol 1
  • Zeus: King of the Gods

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