§ Brigid links to the latest on yaoi publisher Iris Print, which, like several little boutique BL publishers, is not doing so hot, and has actually shut down:

1) Iris Print is shutting down. Unfortunately, the heartwarming support Iris’s readers have shown was too little too late. There was a large enough boost in sales to give me hope for a while, but not large enough to actually breathe life into the company again. After Queer Magic, there will be no more books from Iris Print; however, orders are still shipping from the store.

2) Queer Magic is not cancelled. The title is delayed until July 30, because there were not enough pre-orders to pay for a normal print run. The difficulty of finding a new printer that can do a smaller-than-average print run at a reasonable price has caused a few delays. I’m not running off with anyone’s hard-earned money, and anyone who pre-ordered the book is still just as free to cancel their pre-order as they ever were.

There’s much more involving unpaid creators and so on, but we’re a bit pressed for time today and suggest you just read the links.

§ David Welsh’s Flipped column is up at Comics Reporter and provides a crisp summary of what’s going on at Tokyopop and the latest on the Kodansha rumor. We’re being told that something is definitely up with Kodansha and their US manga plans, but we’ll have more than whispers when we can.

§ Rich Johnston backs up what we’ve been told: Tokyopop is giving back the rights to some OEL to its creators:

TokyoPop, criticised for intangible contracts, and currently undergoing a financial crisis, is going through the process of giving full copyright back to creators wishing to pull their projects, with hardly any fuss. I can’t think of a big company doing this in recent years – especially not so many at once.

I understand that Image Comics has become suddenly favoured with a number of high quality, fully developed OEL content. All their Christmases have come at once.


  1. I’ve gotta say I think these events are all signs of the manga bubble burst. It is a very devoted, energetic, and enthusiastic fan base, but it’s small even in comparisons to the funny book world in general. Whether the commodity be real estate or manga, speculation is still speculation. That’s my read on it all.

  2. Jonathan — there is no Manga “bubble” — the best selling manga books outsell the best selling superhero or indie graphic novels by a WIDE WIDE WIDE margin. Narutoe alone has sold millions of copies.

    Yaoi is a niche, no question. Manga is not.

  3. What I was trying to say that I realize now didn’t come across in my first post is that my prediction is that manga sales will start to decline in the very near future. I think there is a bubble and it’s bursting. Obviously it’ll take sales numbers over the next few years to figure out if my prediction holds true or not, but I think that’s what’s going to happen. I’d like to see this vibrant and energetic segment of comicdom hold strong, but my prediction is that it won’t.

  4. More than a bubble, I think the issue is that not every manga title is a blockbuster monster; and western publishers have been acting as if they were. Not every one of those books sells like Naruto,even in their home country.

  5. “Rich Johnston backs up what we’ve been told: Tokyopop is giving back the rights to some OEL to its creators:”

    As far as I know, this rumor has no base; I’ve asked every creator I know and so far nobody has said Tokyopop has been willing to give them back the rights to their works, only to negotiate on giving back certain print rights, and only self-publishing print rights at that.