News: Digital Manga Suspends Print Offerings

Today, Digital Manga Publishing‘s president, Hikaru Sasahara, made a rather unexpected and troubling announcement:

From: Digital Manga Inc. Blog

Today we would like to announce that effective January 1st 2013, the print editions for our DMP, June Manga, DokiDoki and 801Media imprints will be placed on a temporary hiatus. Please be advised that none of our licenses are cancelled, simply postponed. We will be resuming the distribution of our print editions in June, 2013. This hiatus will allow us to coordinate our production schedule for 2013 and temporarily shift our focus to our digital publications.

DMP has continued to push a digital-forward publishing strategy, expending resources to push their content into digital arenas both popular and fringe. While this announcement isn’t exactly stunning news for the company, at this point it appears that they haven’t gone out of business. The announcement does put a significant delay on some of DMP‘s popular titles, including Tyrant Falls in LoveVampire Hunter D, and my personal favorite, Itazura na Kiss.

The majority of DMP‘s content falls squarely into the microniche of yaoi manga, which, while having a very consumerist attitude, does not capture the majority of manga readers. DMP has taken a very sidelong gaze at the manga market and gone a much different path from industry “titans” Viz and Kodansha, but this path seemed up until recently to be doing fairly well for them.

While my conjecture is certainly not any more worthwhile than another person’s, I do suspect that DMP has spread itself a little thin. With a multitude of digital platforms, the Akadot retail store, Japanese tours, YAOI-CON, and a relatively new foray into both spec publishing and print hentai manga, it may be that there are too many ingredients in the stew. DMP might be using their digital only time to consolidate their business model, trimming up a bit of the fat, and working on products for 2013 and beyond. While the print gap gives the company a bit of breathing room financially, it will be interesting to see what happens after their content returns to print in July 2013. While some fans may wait for their releases, it is likely that those people waiting for print offerings will continue to wait, and their discretionary income will be spent in other places.

Of note, Kickstarter campaign items will still be released at their planned release dates – this is likely because these items are paid for with Kickstarter money. I suspect there would be a pretty unhappy fan group (myself included) if these releases had been delayed.

Frankly, this news is at the very least troubling and awkward. Certainly it is not a good sign of the health of the company. The hope is that these 6 months will give DMP the ability to survive in the long run – but the risk to their sales due to the delay could very well lead to losses and an eventual downward spiral.


4 thoughts on “News: Digital Manga Suspends Print Offerings

    • I agree. I hope that their time off will help set them back on track – DMP has done a lot of good work for the niche manga market.

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