The Hachette Book Group is launching Yen Press, a new comics and graphic novel imprint that will focus on titles for adults and young readers, PW Daily learned this morning. The imprint will be directed by former DC Comics v-p Rich Johnson, who joined Hachette last month, and Kurt Hassler, formerly the graphic novel buyer for the Borders Group, who will join Yen Press November 27.
According to the report, Yen press will concentrate on licensed manga, Hassler’s specialty, but “will also publish a wide variety of comics works. Young said the list will include original manga, original American comics and graphic novels, webcomics, licensed adaptations and children’s works.”
Two big things here: the announcement of a wide ranging line of GNs from a major publisher. Previous efforts have been narrowly focused, or else consisted of a smattering of books here and there.
The shift of Hassler, who was recently named the Most Powerful Person in Manga, is the other bombshell. Although Hassler is credited with being one of the major architects of the graphic novel boom via his canny decisions and passionate advocacy for manga at Borders, he was also a hardline gatekeeper on what material Borders would carry. Any change in the buying patterns there could have huge ripples at the chain and publishers.