Wither BLU?

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Wither BLU?

Postby lore » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:34 pm

(oh man, posted this in the wrong place. If anyone can, please feel free to delete it under the DMP general discussion board)

Don't know if you saw the news last week, but Tokyopop laid off a good number of its remaining staff, leaving a skeleton crew in its place along with many freelancers. One of the people laid off was Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, who was responsible for the resurgence of the BLU imprint (among her many other editing duties).

This is the best post I could find in terms of rounding up links to all the additional information and commentary about TP's layoffs. I'd follow the links in the main body of the article, at minimum, although there are more links at the end of the article:

http://comicsworthreading.com/2011/03/0 ... whos-left/

Not. Good.
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Re: Wither BLU?

Postby Hiyoshimaru » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:55 pm

TT_TT how sad... I hope BLU doesn't die. Noo!
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Re: Wither BLU?

Postby Noon » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:41 pm

I somehow find it hard to believe that BLU will disappear as the imprint titles sell well compared to the others. They even said so themselves.
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Re: Wither BLU?

Postby Senyoru-Chan » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:10 am

I don't think so either. Series like Junjo romantica has been best selling for a long time. I'm pretty sure a lot of other new Blu titles sell fairly good every month.
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Re: Wither BLU?

Postby lore » Wed Mar 09, 2011 12:27 pm

Actually, BLU titles are solid sellers for TP, but they're not breakout hits the way some of TP's titles are.

The point is, the early days of BLU books were mostly tame BL books - great stories, not as much va-va-va-voom. Then it seemed like BLU titles weren't coming out for a few months. When BLU returned, it was with a stronger slate of titles more firmly in the BL genre (balance of story with, *ahem* scenes). That's when Lillian Diaz-Przybyl took over developing BLU and increasing TP's shojou titles. She speaks Japanese and had a good rapport both with Japanese publishers and the editors and freelancers under her at TP. She's the one who made the licensing decisions or pushed for licensing the last two years (or more) of BLU books.

TP is now operating with less than a handful of regular staff, supported by many freelancers. Losing Lillian is a blow to TP and, especially, the BLU line. For a while, books she licensed will still be released, but don't be surprised if, down the line, you start to see less accurate translations and less quality of books.

TP, in general, might slip in quality with so few guiding hands left full-time there. Unless someone just as knowledgeable and talented as Lillian takes over guiding the BLU imprint, I don't think it can help but decline.

I really encourage you all to follow the links contained in the story and at the end of it. At this point, there's some serious question as to whether TP itself can survive, let alone the BLU imprint.
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Re: Wither BLU?

Postby Ruby_Alexandrine » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:32 pm

Its truly sad that more people are getting laid off in the delicate economy. Viz Media, Kodansha Comics, or Yen Press could hire Lillian. I really cannot visualize TokyoPop operating with a small staff and still publishing manga.

Here is another link concerning the TokyoPop's layoff and the CEO, Stu Levy.
http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/20 ... r-editors/

Levy's twitter message: "Wow #GDC2011 [Game Developers Conference] is blowing my mind. Why have I been stuck in such an old-school, out-of-touch industry for so long?! (yes I mean books!)" It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I truly thought that TokyoPop was on the come back trail especially after the 2008 (?) layoffs but apparently not. The CEO is fixated on his "America's Greatest Otaku" documentary that isn't really getting much attention from manga and anime fans.
Last edited by Ruby_Alexandrine on Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wither BLU?

Postby 2old4yaoi » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:59 pm

This is simply awful news. No wonder their online shop at their website has been down for almost a month now too. I think the TP's CEO is short sighted as well. In tough times, you don't lay off the best talents (experienced editors) who had been responsible in turning you company around. They become even more valuable in times like these for your survival. Even if the co is to move most of their content to digital format, they still have to rely on experienced editors such as Lillian who understand the co's customers best & to pick the most likely to succeed product. This doesn't bode well for the future of all TP's imprints at all.
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Re: Wither BLU?

Postby lore » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:11 am

Real quick, in TP's defense, the reason they had to lay off staff is that Borders filed for bankruptcy owing TP money.

Also because of Border's, TPs books aren't as widely available as they once were. The articles will tell you, regular mangas still sell the most through brick and mortar stores, and Borders was a huge chunk of those sales. Barnes & Noble barely carries manga, which leaves only several smaller chains and independent book stores and comic book stores for brick and mortar sales.

Unfortunately, the quickest way to fix a cash flow problem is to cut your work force. (I'm sure the money owed TP was meant to pay for works in progress like printing or storage rent payments or any number of bills)

Cutting those positions will probably hurt TP in the long run, yes, but TP had to survive in the moment. The hope of any company in trouble is that cutting staff will give it the time and enough in salary savings to correct the cash flow problems, and then it can work on re-hiring. The reality is that many companies run into deeper problems and the positions are never re-filled, or, worse, the company eventually goes under. We'll have to wait and see with TP.

Oh, and this is soooo not any defense of Stu and his antics. ~_^ Just of TP as an entity.
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Re: Wither BLU?

Postby Senyoru-Chan » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:43 am

Well with all ads from illegal manga sites on Tokyo pop's own site no wonder sales are going bad. :roll: I still hope we can get some more decent BLU manga. :/
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Re: Wither BLU?

Postby Ruby_Alexandrine » Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:47 am

I'm aware of the reason why the layoffs occurred yet the twitter comment was just poorly timed. Here is another article related to TokyoPop from Publishers Weekly.

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-t ... yopop.html

In that article, Stu Levy states that TokyoPop Germany is doing better. The German and American manga market are different and according to the Stu, there are more independent booksellers in Germany.
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