Following my recent Q&A with Kurt I had some more questions, so off I went to ask him a few more quickly. Specifically abut the Azumanga announcement.
TD: Why did Yen license Azumanga considering it’s already had 2 print runs with ADV, both as individual volumes and an omnibus?
KH: AZUMANGA DAIOH is a bestseller in the market that isn’t easily available at the moment. We’d had some retailer requests specifically for the title, it meshes well with our work on other yon koma, and given our licensing agreement for YOTSUBA&!, it seemed like a perfect addition to the the list.
- TD’s thoughts: Makes sense really, since demand for it is high to release a new version. And it does fit in well with their line up. However I do wonder if the demand really is that high for it… Though I suppose this is one of those that could be considered for long term sales, rather than the short term.
TD: Is the edition Yen is releasing the old version with new translations, or the new 10th anniversary edition just about to be released in Japan?
We’ve got a couple queries out about the 10th anniversary edition material but frankly aren’t sure this will be possible. We’d love to see it happy, though, if an opportunity presents itself. In the meantime, though, the book will be wholly reworked with new translations and lettering.
- TD’s thoughts: A shame really, I think the new 10th Anniversary edition would have sold better than simply a reprint of the old one. Since old fans probably would have picked up a copy.
TD: A lot of fans are hoping for a rescue of Gunslinger Girl as well, is this something Yen are considering?
KH: As a general rule, I’d rather not discuss licenses that Yen may or may not be considering. It’s so much more gratifying to make a definitive announcement about something.
- TD’s thoughts: hmmmmm so not no hope, which is a start I suppose. this is a series I’ve looked at a few times, but I really hate picking up incomplete series, no matter how good they are.
TD: Was moving the UK distribution of Yen Plus to Diamond UK a good choice. Wouldn’t one of the more mainstream distributors (such as Dawson’s) have lad to more exposure. Since Diamond only deal with comic stores, and not with supermarkets or newsagents. Where as Dawson’s and other mainstream distributors deal with both.
KH: Generally speaking, the UK market reception for manga in a magazine format has been lukewarm. Since most of our presence in the market thus far has been with comic shops, Diamond UK was the perfect partner for us on that front. That said, for all of the UK fans, if you really want to see the manga market grow, you really need to make a point of making your voices heard to the retailers out there who you’d like to see carrying the product. Show them the demand and your purchasing power and the market can and will grow from there!
- TD’s thoughts: A vicious circle really. Fans want it but can’t buy it cause it’s not available, but to make it available fans need to buy it. I wonder what constitutes as a viable voice. WHSmith apparently had over 2000 requests for Yen Plus in the first month it was released. I personally think that’s a good start >.<
TD: Finally a question i meant to ask originally. Has Yen Press considered doing the printing of both magazine and manga within the UK. Would that not reduce the costs and time lag of having to ship them from the states, then distribute them?
KH: Given the relative size of the UK manga market at the moment, it really wouldn’t be cost effective to do our printing locally. The plant costs associated with setting up a print run — particularly for a relatively small print run — simply exceed the shipping costs. As the market for manga in the UK grows as I expect it will over time, then we may reach a point where reevaluating makes sense, but for the moment we’ve found this to be the best approach and have been working hard to minimize delays.
Many thanks as always to Kurt for taking the time to answer my question. Coming up shortly is an interview with a full production line up from Yen Press. Svetlana (Dramacon and Nightschool), Christine Schilling (translator), and Tania (editor). Look for that hopefully the end of the month.