Tokyopop Closing North American Publishing Division

The Anime News Network has confirmed that Tokyopop will close its publishing operation on May 31. Love them or hate them, this is big blow for American manga fans. Tokyopop was one of the oldest manga publishers in the US and did much to popularize manga here. They will be missed.

The fate of their digital manga publishing project and remaining print titles is yet to be announced. It seems likely that other publishers will pick up the rights to popular titles. I hope that the passing of Tokyopop from the publishing business marks a bottom of sorts for the collapse of the manga market in the US.

Fruits BasketThis latest news is more evidence that the traditional print publishing business model is no longer viable, particularly for niche publications like manga, graphic novels, and comics. The massive rush to digital comics I saw at C2E2 this year was no accident. The industry insiders already know that with fewer physical bookstores, that digital is the only way to cut costs, combat piracy, and reach a consumer base that clearly wants digital product. Going digital will also allow them to monetize extensive back catalogs of books in a way never before possible.

Sadly, it appears Tokyopop won’t be around to take part in the digital transition. RIP Tokyopop, you brought me Fruits Basket for which I will always be grateful.

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