Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bootlegging a ticket to the Titantic.

Tokyo Pop is no more.

At one point, this company was the biggest publisher of manga in the U.S.A. It was responsible for introducing Sailor Moon, the first really big hit. They made popular the original flip format, (reading the book backward), and the easy price-point, $9.99.

Borders was an early adopter of Tokyo Pop manga, filling their aisles.

And we comic shops were pounded by the internet 'experts' for being too stupid to buy a ticket on this wonderful new ocean liner called manga, which was indestructible, and would leave us stupid comic shops left floundering on shore.

We missed the boat, was the common wisdom.

I am one of the comic shops who actually did bring in vast amounts of manga and anime. I was a little doubtful -- I thought the demographic was a lot like the fans of music 'boy groups' and it was possible it was nothing but a fad.

Well, it was a bit of a fad. But more importantly, it was the group of customers who seemed to completely adopt the "free" form of downloading material. (otherwise known as pirating...)

I cut my losses --

I reorder only the top ten series, now.

A few years ago, two biggest entities in the U.S. manga world were Borders and Tokyo Pop. Both are toast.

So maybe comic shops were right to be skeptical of this ship. ( I noticed that there hasn't been even a comment so far on the Comic Book Industry Alliance.)

Some of the disdain that I saw from manga and anime customers toward the business of producing, distributing and selling this product, is the same disdain I now am seeing toward the business of producing, distributing and selling books.

And I expect I'll hear the same dismay when the structure falls apart.

See, there are these things called "books" and if the publisher who owns the rights to these "books" isn't around, they don't get produced -- at all.

You can't pirate what isn't produced.

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