Editorial

Things We Learned From the AMA

Kodansha USA did an Ask Me Anything on reddit last week. Although I was unable to participate, there were some interesting questions asked, and a little data here and there that are worth exploring.

1. We finally learned what happened with the Vinland Saga V1/Amazon SNAFU. The short answer is that Amazon was shorted books, and because of this, pushed back the release date 2 weeks (this was over a month ago). Kodansha states they don’t know why preorders were cancelled.

Vinland Saga, V.1I was one of many loud and grumpy voices involved in the general social media questioning of Kodansha when the Vinland Saga issue first came to light. I was one of the first to preorder the book, and I still don’t have a copy. Amazon cancelling my preorder was essentially the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’m no longer interested in getting Vinland Saga as it is released. I cancelled my preorder of volume 2. I’m sure it’s a fine book. But I also know that I’m not interested in getting boogered on another deal like this. I’ve been preordering manga from various publishers for 3 years now, and I’ve never seen or heard of anything like this. Amazon isn’t the only party at fault here.


Of note: Amazon still doesn’t have a listing for a physical copy of volume 1.

2. Manga is on the upswing – and some publishers are doing leaps and bounds better. Dallas Middaugh delivered some interesting news via Bookscan – most manga publishers are doing better now than previous years. This is not really a surprise, since the ’07 manga crash and Borders’ closing did a lot of damage to the market. Of note,  Seven Seas Entertainment is selling approximately 100% more books than last year.

monstermusume_vol1_full

This uptick in sales is likely associated with two factors – a more active social media prevalence, and an uptick in licensing. The first set of licenses really started hitting shelves in late 2011, with Gunslinger Girl and A Certain Scientific Railgun, both of which were pretty popular with a certain piece of the anime fandom. They’ve picked up titles like the Alice in the Country of… series, as well as recent additions Monster Musume and A Centaur’s Life.

Seven Seas has found a niche in the market – their catalog has a large amount of moe, harem, and otaku-centric  titles. The moral here, if there is one, is sell what people want to buy, feathers, scales, and all. And talk about it a lot.

3. Some fans still don’t realize that Attack on Titan is published in English. Which is unfortunate, but ultimately, a sign of the way that things work in the fandom. When cool projects like PBS Idea Channel use pirated content on their YouTube show, you know there is a problem. Many people still don’t realize that manga aggregator sites are hosting pirated content.

4. Crunchyroll and its dealings with Kodansha Comics Japan were not monitored or connected to Kodansha USA. It seems odd, but Kodansha USA benefits by selling collected editions of manga currently available (but not in full) at Crunchyroll. In addition, CR gives weekly readers of UQ Holder, Fairy Tail, and Attack on Titan a chance to go to a legitimate website instead of an aggregator. The more you legitimize the content, the more likely people will pay something for it, right?

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5 thoughts on “Things We Learned From the AMA

  1. Ben Applegate says:

    I’m sure your stubborn refusal to buy Vinland Saga will pressure all parties into improving their practices. Disregarding everyone’s hard work and throwing an extended temper tantrum over a logistical issue instead of heading over to Rightstuf is DEFINITELY the way to go. Nice job!

    • Ben,

      I respect the work of the people at Kodansha, and understand that this situation has been difficult for you and your team. My refusal to buy Vinland Saga at this time is both born out of frustration, and practicality. I don’t work with RightStuf, and I only visit a Barnes and Noble once every two months. I am still interested in Vinland Saga as a series; what I am not interested in is pre-ordering comics that I can’t read because I don’t have the first volume, or using a service I have never used to buy a single book.

      I understand that you are frustrated, and that you have worked hard to resolve this issue. I hope that this situation ends soon so that Kodansha can put it in the past. I am still excited about Kodansha’s old and new offerings, and I hold the work you all do in high esteem.

      While my comments and discussion about this situation may not have been favorable to Kodansha, I don’t feel I was or am “throwing an extended temper tantrum.” The insinuation here is that I am an irrational child who is mad because I didn’t get my way, which I refute. What I am is a customer who did not receive good service, and I feel I have a right to discuss that poor service. I hope that even if you do not agree, and even if you disagree vehemently, that you can at least see this incident partially from my viewpoint and understand why I have said what I have said.

  2. Ben Applegate says:

    You’re right to demand a higher standard of service, of course, and I’m glad to hear you may still read the book at some point. That’s all I care about. Sorry about the attitude.

  3. Pingback: Manga Thanksgiving 2013 | MW

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