Robert Brown of The Anime Corner in Ranson, West Virginia saw the announcement about Tokyopop's exclusive Web offerings (see 'New Tokyopop Website Offers Exclusive Manga') and believes bypassing retailers will alienate the customer base:

I read over the article regarding Tokyopop's plans to move to a direct-only model for several of their titles, and also Ed Sherman's response.  Manga is one of our core products and personally I was stunned when I read what Tokyopop is planning to do.  Using their core products as an instrument to drive traffic to their Website demonstrates to me that they are desperate for new revenue streams.  The plan also demonstrates that the senior execs at Tokyopop do not understand their market.  Our manga customers want to buy Tokyopop products through us along with other publisher's titles; not direct.  Holding titles hostage from the retail channel to force manga readers to come to their Website will resonate with fans as a form of coercion, and will not be well received.

Most of the titles that they are currently planning to make direct have indeed seen their day, but I agree with Ed Sherman in that most of Tokyopop's sales woes in the direct market are resulting from availability problems of their hot releases.  We have consistently had trouble restocking literally dozens of their titles this year, some being unavailable for weeks (or months) at a time, with no explanations from them regarding when or if the availability problems will be solved.


In order to retake the top spot in the US manga market, Tokyopop needs to regain focus on their core business rather than grasping at bad ideas that will only further serve to alienate their core readership and their retailer base.


The opinions expressed in this Talk Back article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of