Tokyopop discusses the consequence of Borders' bankruptcy on publishers
Manga publisher Tokyopop explains the superstore's effect on the industry
by Emily Warren
Date Published: 03/07/2011
A prize from the mobile phone game, Hetalia Chibi Carnival, recently introduced by Tokyopop.
This week in an interview with ICv2, Tokyopop CEO Stuart Levy blamed Borders' bankruptcy for layoffs within the manga distributor. "The facts are simple. Borders -- our biggest customer -- went bankrupt, owed us a lot money, which they didn't pay us, and as a result we are in a very challenging situation, and have had to react quickly to the situation. We did need to let a few people go -- and it's horrible for everyone involved to ever have to let people go. We will continue to do everything we can to evolve the manga business and we very much appreciate the support of our fans, our partners, our creators, and out retail customers."
Cracking under the competition and riddled with debt, Borders Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in mid-February. While in Chapter 11, Borders has started closing 200 of its stores and promised to compete more vigoriously in the ebook market. According to the Wall Street Journal, publishers are the ones who, besides Borders, stand the most to lose. Borders stopped paying key publishers in December and asked many to forgive unpaid bills in exchange for debt.
Borders was the first major chain to sell manga, and at one point was responsible for 40% of manga sales in the U.S. Even though Borders' manga sales have fallen, they still claim at least 20% of the manga market, as opposed to 8% of total book sales.
Even though Tokyopop has seen major successes in the past year, especially with the Hetalia series, which has remained on the New York Times bestseller list since the beginning of 2011, Borders' collapse can overwhelm its success in an increasingly competitive market.