Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 28, 2006

Tokyopop, HarperCollins Reach Deal

The manga publisher Tokyopop has reached an agreement with book publishing giant HarperCollins that involves both publishing and distribution, it was announced yesterday. Included will be a new line of co-published manga titles drawing on the work of HarperCollins authors, the first of which looks to be Meg Cabot.

The deal gives HarperCollins entry into the manga market in a big way, and gives Tokyopop much-needed stability and greater market reach. Although strongly denied by the publisher, Tokyopop's long-term prospects had been questioned by some industry observers as 1) access to top Japanese licenses had shifted away from the publisher, 2) their original english-language manga program had yet to find a clear market identity or flagship, 3) there were occasional, noticeable staffing-level changes and supposed philosophical publishing disgreements made public at the Los Angeles-based company.

The new co-published line will debut in 2007, and may eventually include up to 24 books. The business operations will move to HarperCollins by mid-June, which apparently is the date of expiration of the recently-renewed deal between Tokyopop and Perseus/CDS.

This is the part where I'm supposed to launch into some big, blowzy speech about what it all means, but I think it's pretty obvious that this is a solidly-conceived, major deal where two companies (Tokyopop, HarperCollins) stand to benefit in a signficant way, and one company (Perseus/CDS) takes a hit. This doesn't have an effect on Diamond or the Direct Market that I can see this early in the morning, except 1) the indirect effect of having Tokyopop books be that much more widely available in ostensibly competing outlets and 2) the potential benefit of Tokyopop being able to spend more time managing their DM relationships as they let HarperCollins drive the bookstore car.

For further reading, try The Engine, Newsarama,,'s Interview with Mike Kiley and PWCW's write-up.
posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink

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