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Via umadoshi.

I am bummed (the online scuttlebutt says that the new publisher is less than great at getting things published promptly and doesn't produce as good a product), but at least they finished SDK before this happened. But I was just starting Kamijyo-sensei's Code Breaker ... .

Other useful links from umadoshi on this:

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
smillaraaq
Oct. 5th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
Siiiiiigh. If they screw up the cover design (or leave out all the EXTREMELY VITAL endnotes) in Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei, I will be quite vexed. :(



Edited at 2010-10-05 05:55 pm (UTC)
lawless523
Oct. 5th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
Part 1 of 2
It's better than Del Rey going out of business and stranding the licenses entirely. Actually, it's better for Del Rey's parent, Random House, because it takes all the risk off of them and puts it back with the Japanese publisher.

From what I've heard, a lot of the problem with the market for manga in the US (and possibly everyplace outside of Japan) is the distribution of risk/reward between the licensor and licensee. The licensee takes all the risk; the licensor reaps a disproportionate reward. That was the reason behind DMP's announcement earlier this year of its pursuit of a new model under which percentages would be split between licensor and licensee as sales occurred instead of upfront payment of the customary (and guaranteed) licensing fee, which in some cases, in combination with the printing, editorial, and distribution costs, results in licensees losing money, and in all cases, requires the licensee to front the expense of a manga before seeing any revenue from it.

Japanese publishers (Kodansha included, it seems) have inflated notions of what they can charge for their product, both in terms of licensing fees and direct cost. Libre has issued cease and desist orders for Youka Nitta titles it is e-publishing at the ungodly price of $3 a CHAPTER. As far as any one knows, there are no plans to republish tankoubon. Kodansha's pricing levels sound similar, though they may think it justified for larger size volumes. The articles don't say what size they're talking about -- manga magazine size or Japanese manga size? The former is antiquated and probably no benefit; the latter, which is the size of most BL/yaoi publications and Ooku, for example, could conceivably command a higher price. Leaving aside the problems with e-publishing manga, a price like that is a ripoff that consumers find hard to swallow.

Slower and less definite publication schedules are probably a necessary evil until the market turns around. At least publishers like DMP are publishing, despite some squawks from fans. There was a big hoohah over delay in the publication schedule for Yellow 2 (I belong to several communities dedicated to its mangaka and her work) that turned out to be due to delayed provision of images on the Japanese end that required publication to be rescheduled for next year. Although the information was available on DMP's website, to the casual observer, or someone who called the 800 number, it appeared as those it had been abruptly canceled without a new publication date.

Edited at 2010-10-05 08:05 pm (UTC)
smillaraaq
Oct. 5th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 1 of 2
Yeah, I don't mind paying a little extra for something with the larger format and/or higher production value of some of the Juné, Viz Premium, etc. titles -- although personally I'd just as soon they not bother with trying to copy the Japanese style of separate slipcovers, and instead put that money towards better interior paper stock or better translators/localizers. It really kills me to hear the rumors that the publishing shift may involve a decline in quality of the physical product, because so much US-licensed manga is already rather cheaply printed, and the paper quality, color inserts, etc. in the Japanese volumes is sooooo much nicer.

And speaking of Makoto Toteno, what is the schedule scoop with Yellow 2? I was all fired up to get that when I saw the ads in the back of the recent omnibus editions of the original series, only to get frustrated when it never showed up for sale. If DMP has the information on their website, they've done a bang-up job of making sure it's in some place that their search engine doesn't touch. (Not that I'm surprised, so many US manga publishers have such godawful useless websites that I pretty much rely on looking things up via booksellers like Amazon instead...)
lawless523
Oct. 5th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 1 of 2
I'll have to check the comm (I think it was makoto_tateno, but I'm not sure), but as I recall, it's spring of 2011 -- March, I think. It's definitely not until next year; once the materials they needed were late, they lost the time they had reserved at the printer's for it and had to schedule it all over again.

What bothers me is that there were rumors flying. From what I could tell, the actual information wasn't that hard to find on their website (not where the books are sold -- on a forum or something like that), so you'd think people desperate to have it would have checked there, but instead, they started speculating that it was being delayed because the first volume hadn't sold well, which is how unsubstantiated rumors start flying.
smillaraaq
Oct. 6th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
Re: Part 1 of 2
Awww, thanks, no need to trouble yourself digging up the precise date, that ballpark range is good enough for me! Wherever DMP has buried the info, it's someplace non-intuitive and non-indexed, so using their top-level search feature doesn't get you anything useful, and neither does looking in the obvious "release schedule", "news", or "titles" links -- sloppy web design, sloppy marketing, what a killer combo. o_O
lawless523
Oct. 6th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)
Re: Part 1 of 2
I went looking, and all it says at the comm is early next year.

P.S. I agree with you about the separate slipcovers; I'd rather have the same image printed on the covers. Separate slipcovers are a nuisance and easy to damage. I don't know how much that saves, though - somehow, I doubt it's enough to make enough of a difference to the paper quality or translation.

Edited at 2010-10-06 01:06 am (UTC)
lawless523
Oct. 5th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)
Part 2 of 2
Crap. I just realized I copypasted over what should have gone here. Anyway, it was about the vagaries of Reload 10 and how TokyoPop told rroselavy that the delay is due to contractual issues with the Japanese publisher, which I would normally greet with enormous cynicism and three grains of salt, considering how easy and expedient it is to point the finger at the other guy, except that suanz has heard basically the same story from her local (Singaporean) publisher. I do not understand how this can be if licenses are series-by-series and not volume-by-volume, but who knows. I have been tempted to approach Ichijinsha (sp?) directly to see if or how much they contradict TokyoPop, but that would probably require translating a request into Japanese, and given how typically indirect and vague Japanese communication can be, I'm not sure it's worth it.

I am doubtful that Blast, Gaiden, or Ibun will ever be published in English, and I am operating on the assumption that they won't. I even bought a copy of Reload 10 in Japanese, although I didn't seek it; someone on my f-list was selling it for a reasonable price (about as much as I would pay for it if TokyoPop published it). I'd still snap up an English version in a heartbeat.

All of the above is why, no matter how dreadful Kodansha's track record is, I think we're better off with the Japanese publishers being directly responsible for publishing their manga here if licensing means they're going to jerk US publishers and readers around.
smillaraaq
Oct. 5th, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 2 of 2
FWIW, when I wrote to Ichijinsha last week to double-check on the postal address to use for the crane project, a very nice person answered my web inquiry (in Japanese, natch) within a few hours. Of course, that was a simple question about a matter of public record that even machine translation couldn't screw up too badly -- asking WTF is going on with the Minekura licenses is complicated enough that I'd think you'd really need to get a good human translator like Athena or Soto involved, and it's just the sort of question from the public that I'd expect most companies, American or Japanese, would tend to brush off with vague platitudes even without a language/cultural barrier being involved. :/
lawless523
Oct. 5th, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 2 of 2
That pretty much sums up why I haven't proceeded further -- I agree, I'd have to use someone like Soto or Athena to translate, plus I need to know more about how the licenses work to begin with, and I'm not likely to get a helpful answer anyway.

I have an LJ friend who knows something about the manga industry who I sent a PM to about this, but haven't heard anything from, and as she's currently working on her PhD, I'm not sure I will.

It still frustrates the legally-trained heck out of me, because there should be an answer, and I'm still not completely convinced TokyoPop is telling all. On the other hand, I don't resent them on general principle as much as a lot of other people seem to.
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