§ Japanator weighs in on the Kodansha mystery with a pretty unequivocable Rumor squashed: Kodansha not making a move into the US market, based on a conversation with Ali Kokmen of Del Rey Manga.
After a bit of a laugh at it, Ali told me that it was totally false. He was at BEA, and heard nothing of Kodansha’s move, and when the rumor hit that Kodansha was coming in, Del Rey had someone in Japan setting up new Kodansha licenses for 2009 and 2010. So, that would seem to be a rumor that got busted.
Unless of course, I’m going to be proven wrong, and just need to “wait and see.” The biggest indication towards this whole rumor being true, in my mind, was the massive pullback of Tokyopop’s titles. But, that’s just to keep themselves from losing more money through cannibalization.
Quashed? Well, er, yes and no. We keep hearing rumours of Kodansha getting into the US market from reliable sources not named after an HP Lovecraft character, which is not exactly the same rumour as Kodansha pulling all its licenses from Del Rey and so on. We’ll just put a big question mark next to this one for the time being…there’s definitely more than a surface ripple here.
§ ICV2 sits down with former Tokyopop publisher Mike Kiley for more info on the restructuring (note: Kiley is still with TP, but his new position hasn’t been named yet.)
At a fundamental level, we wondered about the reasons for the corporate reorganization into two business units, and asked why two lines of business led to the decision to split into two companies. “I think the most immediate and practical answer is that we wanted to set things up in ways that would very clearly and definitively allow those businesses to focus on what they need to do to succeed,” Kiley responded. “The goals in each company are different and the achievement of those goals is more realistic, more possible if everyone working in each of those companies is very clearly focused.”
Added bonus: this interview with Kiley is the first time we’ve ever heard the term “rightsizing” used to mean “downsizing,” which itself means “layoffs or cuts.” Truly corporate euphemisms are a wonderful, wonderful thing. We’d like to attend the seminar where they invent them some day.
§ Bonus Tpop gossip of the day: Several OEL creators are even now attempting to buy back the rights to their books. Whether they will succeed or not — how much does Tokyopop need to money? — is unknown. One of the reasons for the big restructuring, we’ve been hearing, is massive returns from Borders recently, to the tune of 80% — part of Borders own massive financial woes.
ALSO, don’t expect to see too many exit interviews with Tokyopop editors.
§ MORE rumours! While Tokyopop remains the most chattered about company right now, Wizard is a close second. Everyone told us that Wizard World Phily was horribly attended — one exhibitor told us they made $14 on Saturday, and that was from someone who normally pays for travel expenses at the very least from booth sales. Most people doubt they’ll be going back. Wizard World Chicago , normally their biggest show of the year and arguably the second biggest comics show in the US, is in three weeks and no one seems particularly enthused. There’s been a lot of chatter about whether there will even BE Wizard World conventions next year — one rumor we heard a few times is that Wizard and Reed Exhibitions, which puts on the New York Comic-Con, may be in some kind of negotiations.
Dept. of Newsarama: Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that Graeme McMillan is no longer blogging for Blog @ Newsarama; he’s devoting himself full-time to i09, Gawker’s somewhat chimerical SF blog. Speaking of Newsarama, the new-look site apparently arrived so suddenly that the Blog@ crew didn’t even know it was happening until the site went offline. Long-time posters are predictably annoyed by the changes, and if you’re a really a masochist, you can read some of the pain here. From our standpoint, anything that makes Newsarama posters have to think just a bit more before they post may be a very good thing indeed.