Tag Archives: fans

Tokyopop Blog Discusses the FAQ of Manga on Hiatus

One of the questions publishers tend to hear the most (aside from, “when are you going to publish [insert name of manga here*]?”) is “when are you going to publish the next volume of [insert name of manga here**]?”

This tends to be one of the most aggravating for publishers to hear, actually. It’s not that publishers don’t WANT to answer it, it’s just that they’d prefer not to have to answer it 100+ times and have to disappoint fans over and over. (Not a very fun part of the job.) Sometimes there’s no answer to give people because the next volume just isn’t on the schedule yet. The typical vague and neutral statements issued in response satisfy no one because such questions are often asked in environments where a more detailed answer cannot be given.

But now, a Tokyopop blogger (presumably an employee, but I have no idea who it is, so it could be an intern) has taken to the time to give fans the lowdown on why series are put on hiatus and what you can do to pull them out of limbo.

The post is extremely thorough and well-written, answering not only why releases are put off, but how pubs get manga into bookstores, whether or not bookstores are bigger sellers than online retailers, why older titles are out-of-print, just why you SHOULD put your money where your mouth is and a lot of other insight into how book publishing works from a sales point-of-view.

Here’s a choice quote:

So sometimes we put a title on hiatus to see if fans manage to find what copies we have out there before we invest in producing more. How fast things come back from hiatus is heavily reliant on how existing stock performs, and whether we see an increased demand as people browse and pick up the early volumes and tell their friends about them, and then their friends go and pick them up. We’ve had some things reemerge from hiatus and perform well (Silver Diamond and Your & My Secret are good examples of this), and some things that in spite of their apparent popularity among the fans and buzz in the blogosphere, just don’t quite pick up enough steady business.

It’s worth checking out, which is why I’m posting about it. Bravo, TPHenshu, this is a great post.

*Quite possibly the name of something already published by another company. I’ve seen this happen.

**Quite possibly something that is already available for purchase, just had the next release date announced or is not even on hiatus.

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Fandom Hierarchy: Should We Be Allowed to Hate?

On Tuesday I managed to start a very wild discussion about Twilight & hating Twilight fans on Twitter. It’s actually caused a bit of a stir and started to make me think. (Especially with the reaction of fellow manga bloggers.)

(Please be patient with me, this post is going to be my train of thoughts.)

I’ve been a fan of manga (and by extension, anime) for almost 10 full years now. For the past eight years, I’ve been attending cons, usually more than one a year, and interacting with other fans on a person-to-person basis regularly. For the past five years, that regular basis increased to weekly basis. I’m around fans a LOT and although a lot of them are fans of a certain stripe, I still get along with most fans I meet quite well.

But there are still fans that annoy me. You may say that I’m jaded and cranky because I’ve (likely) seen all the horrors of fandom by now, you’d probably be right. And worse yet, I try to be a pacifist. So why do I still hate on fans? Why do I feel like I have the right?

Simply put, I don’t. I shouldn’t hate on Twilight fans, Narutards or any other obsessive fan just because I don’t like what they like. I shouldn’t call them crazy or freaky because obviously their definition of those words is way different than mine and they don’t fit themselves into those words. But I still hate on them. Why?

I’d have to say a lot of it stems from multiple negative incidences I have had with such fans. I don’t even care if Narutards wear those metal headbands that got banned in high school anymore, (Although I still make a snarky comment about how real ninjas wouldn’t wear shiny metal objects when they’re trying to be stealthy.) but more than a few Naruto fans have been rude to me after I said I really dislike Naruto. Which has lead me to say I not only dislike Naruto, but the way the fans behave as well.

My experiences with Twilight fans have been similar. When I answer a Twilight fan’s questions about whether I’ve read the book (I tried, I couldn’t finish it because it was so abhorant to me) or seen the movies (not wasting money and time when I didn’t like the book), I get a lot of peer pressure to “change my ways.” When I start to explain that I am not going to pick up the novels again and why, I get hated on myself. I get told that the reasons why I don’t like it are not what Twilight is about, that I’m missing the point. Even though those words aren’t necessarily insulting on their own, the tone used often is.

It’s totally demeaning to hear someone imply that you’re stupid not to like something. I don’t really take well to being insulted. (I’m trying to work on that.) The little kid that used to get teased so often fights back. The conversation escalates, nasty words are exchanged and we both leave with a bad impression of each other. While I have many valid reasons for not liking the book, my reasons for not liking the more enthusiastic fans are largely my own fault (and, honestly, the fault of the obsessive fans too. Both of us should stop being so petty.)

Then on top of the horrible experiences, I hear that someone’s made a felted fetus from one of the books, someone else has made sex toys (and is selling them), someone else has started a group to “appreciate the values” of Twilight, etc., etc., etc. Well, there goes my faith in humanity. This fandom is going to last just like Star Trek and Star Wars fans have lasted (and so has the merchandising), I’m pretty sure of it. People are going to worship this book all their lives long and raise their kids on it.

So when I can’t stand the book, the fans are downright insulting and they keep doing stuff that’s toe-ing the line of cultish behavior, I feel a little bit justified when I call them crazy. But I’m still not right, mostly because not all Twilight fans are this crazy (I know this, I know many many fairly normal fans of Twilight too. They’re separate groups of fans to me.), and even some of the more enthusiastic fans aren’t participating in the creation of sex toys or knitted reproductive organs or are even deep into the appreciation of Twilight’s “values.” I’m still lumping them together as crazy and generalizing the group as a whole. That’s not fair either, even though I can’t stand screaming ninnies from any fandom.

Melinda Beasi brought up that Twilight fans get a lot of hate because they’re women and that fans who hate on Twilight are basically hating on teenage girls, being girls. This is true, but I don’t feel like I hate Twilight fans because they’re being girls. I hate them for thinking stalking is a plausible lead to a romantic relationship, not because they think Edward or Jacob or whoever is hot. If it was JUST them thinking Edward was hot, THAT I can understand. I do that too, albeit not with characters who are creepy stalkers. I hate them for thinking this book is the greatest thing ever and being annoyingly obsessive and rude to me when I don’t agree.

Do I still have the right to hate on them? No. I’m totally in the wrong no matter how much I explain my feelings about it.

Today’s lesson: Don’t hate on people. You don’t have the right  and it’s of no real benefit to you. You’re not better than them. No one’s better than anyone else, especially in fandom. Remember kids, superiority complexes start fan wars. Take it a little bit further and you can say superiority complexes kill.

Don’t be a jerk and start a fan war. DON’T follow my example.

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Ten REALLY GOOD Ways to Buy and Not Steal Manga

There’s been a lot of debate going on lately about plagiarism, piracy and scanlations in the manga world. No doubt you’ve heard of the recent trouble Nick Simmons has gotten himself into. With everyone up in arms and the conversations starting to turn to the feelings of entitlement amongst fans who feel it is right to steal, I came up with a few ideas on how to not steal manga and ruin things for the rest of us who actually do buy manga.

1. Go to the library:
Some people have some misguided ideas about how libraries work and think that it’s akin to reading scanlations. WRONG. At some point the library either had to buy the book or it was donated by someone else who had bought the book. Also, if a book is worn out from frequent use, the library will (more likely than not) buy a new copy to replace the old one. Most, if not all, libraries are free. All you have to do is sign up and you can borrow manga for free! FREE!!!!!!!

2. Make Friends, Borrow Their Manga:

Again, unless your friends are kleptos, they bought the manga at some point, so it’s not like scanlations either. Not only does this method allow you to read manga for free (FREE, YOU GUYS!!!), but it encourages you to read manga that you may not have read before because your friends suggested it or something. And it’s always good to have friends, especially ones with similar interests. If you’re still not convinced, look at your mom. Does she lend and borrow books from her friend? If so, you see anyone getting upset over it? Nope. Why’s that? Because this method of sharing allows word of mouth to spread and word of mouth is a GOOD thing for publishers.

3. Watch for deals and sales at retailers that stock manga:

I buy a LOT of manga. I have to save money somewhere, right? Right. So I sign up for every reward benefit thing at every store I go to that sells manga. Barnes & Noble gives members a little bit off each purchase and coupons; Borders often has coupons or buy 4, get 1 free deals; the local comic book shop in my hometown takes $1 off every $10 spent; RightStuf has amazing deals every single week and a well-stocked bargain bin. Those are only a few examples, but most every retailer uses such tactics because they know you’re more likely to come and buy one or two books from them if you have a coupon in your hand.

4. Contests and giveaways:

Let’s start with TOKYOPOP because I know them best. They keep giving away free copies of their new releases if you follow them closely on twitter. There’s plenty of other contests through their website. DMP also gives away free previews online manga to their followers on a regular basis. I’ve seen a number of manga blogs do the same thing. I’ve already gotten a few manga this way myself. VERY USEFUL. Even if I don’t enjoy the manga, I’ve read something and kept myself from being bored for awhile. Again: FREEEEEEEEEEEE!

5. Publisher-endorsed online manga:

Publishers are getting the hang of the whole online manga thing. Viz has it’s SigIkki website, as well as Rin-ne and Arata: the Legend. I know TOKYOPOP is already releasing a few chapters of manga here and there (most notably Re:Play) and is looking interestedly into getting digital rights to put more online. Netcomics has everything online for pretty low prices. So does DMP. Vertical has previews up (the glory of their print editions really demand that you purchase the hard copies, however.) Even Marvel is putting more comics online. Not all of these online manga are free, but most of the prices are pretty reasonable in my opinion.

6. Used Book Stores:

There are a number of used manga book stores in my area, but I’m lucky because there are large populations of Asians in Los Angeles and Orange County. Still, when I lived in my small college town, I was able to find used manga every once in awhile in the many used bookstores the town held. You might have to be pretty diligent, but I think it’s worth it for cheap manga.

7. Go to Cons:

Cons are great places to buy manga because retailers always have great deals going on so you’ll buy THEIR manga. In fact, I just went to Long Beach Comic Expo a few Saturdays ago and got some manga for $1. That’s an AMAZINGLY GOOD DEAL. Sure, it was a little hard to find something I was interested in, but my friends who got there before me kind of cleaned the place out of stuff I really wanted. I also got 40% some hardcover graphic novels! At Anime Los Angeles, I bought so much manga, the retailer gave me an even better discount than posted and gave me a box to carry it all in. Any manga fan who knows where their towel is will be walking out of a con with armfuls of deeply discounted manga.

8. Learn Japanese:

This is the most expensive and time-consuming way to buy and not steal manga, but it has other non-manga related benefits. If you are around the average age of manga and anime fans (high school- or college-age), then you could actually do with a foreign language in your repertoire. A lot of colleges and certain jobs really really like bi- or multi-lingual people, so it’ll increase the chances of you getting hired in the recession. Hey! You could even get a job in the manga publishing industry. Wouldn’t that be a dream?

9. Turn off your computer:

Being on the computer a lot is actually really bad for your health. It deteriorates your eyes and causes a lot of joint problems in your hands. I know so many people who are slowly going blind or have carpal tunnel from too much computer time. These are pretty young people too. So you might as well save a little bit on your health care bills by turning off the computer and reading a print edition of something.

10. Feed me:

By buying manga you are essentially allowing me to eat. Since you’re reading this blog, I assume that you might care whether or not I live or die. Since I’m currently working in the American manga publishing industry, buying manga (TOKYOPOP manga, but I won’t judge if you buy Viz) inevitably puts food on my table. Now just think of all the hundreds of other employees like me who publish  manga in order to buy their daily bread. If all of  you keep reading scanlations all the time instead of buying the manga, the companies we work for will STOP PUBLISHING MANGA. Sure you may think that’s a good thing, but just wait until you want to read your favorite series and the scanlation group has decided to disband, leaving you in the dark. And what if no other groups take it up? Huh? Well, guess what: publishers (YES, EVEN TOKYOPOP) try REALLY REALLY hard not to do that to you. Yeah.

I’m not going to lie: I don’t really have problems with anyone reading scanlations of unlicensed series. That’s one of the very few nice things about scanlations, you can read some manga that aren’t licensed yet or might never be licensed in the U.S. BUT IT’S NOT COOL TO STEAL FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING. (Trust me, very few people in the industry are raking in the dough.) If you insist on doing so, I’m going to haunt you when I die from starvation. Just so you know. No high horse here. I don’t think I’ve ever read a licensed scanlation, except for one time when I read one in order potentially promote the legit licensed version because I was short on time. I felt so dirty afterward, I definitely don’t want to do THAT again.

If anyone has any other suggestions on how to buy and not steal manga, let’s hear them!

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