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Digital comics | The Korea Times takes a look at the comics market in that country, where government suppression of comic books in the 1990s (and school-sponsored book burnings even before that) has combined with the current demand for free digital material (in the form of the wildly popular “webtoons”) to create an uncertain environment for cartoonists trying to make a living from their work. “Unlike Japanese manga, which continues to drive a large part of the country’s publishing market and provide a creative influence to movies, music and video games, Korea’s cartoon culture was deprived of its opportunity to thrive,” said Lee Chung-ho, president of the Korea Cartoonist Association. “However, the most difficult process for us will be to find a sustainable business model. Readership has increased dramatically through webtoons, but you have no clear idea on how many of these readers will be willing to pay for content.” [The Korea Times]
Despite its name, Digital Manga Inc. has always had a robust line of print manga, skewing heavily toward yaoi and boys-love titles, so the company’s announcement late last year that it would be placing a number of print manga on hiatus sent shivers up fans’ spines; that sort of announcement is often a prelude to more dire news.
Not this time, though. Not only is Digital resuming print publication, it has moved some of its titles up and is making them available earlier than originally planned. Yoko Tanigaki, Digital’s vice president, sales and distribution, confirmed the publisher is resuming print publication, and none of its print manga series have been canceled. And there’s more: Three titles that were slated for publication later this year are either available now or will be available next week via Digital’s retail site, Akadot.com (note: link may be NSFW). Vol. 8 of Ai no Kusabi, scheduled for an October release, is available now, and Vol. 7 of Ze, originally set for September, will be there next week. And there’s more: Vol. 8 of The Tyrant Falls in Love will also be available next week, well ahead of its July release date, and it will come with a special postcard for Akadot buyers only. In an e-mail, Tanigaki said:
Earlier this week Digital Manga announced it will put its print manga on hiatus for the first six months of 2013. At the same time, the publisher is beefing up its eManga digital manga site, and one of the big changes is that comics purchased on the site will now be downloadable; previously Digital Manga offered streaming only. Of course, the company also offers a wide array of downloadable manga via its iOS apps, iBooks, Kindle and Nook. If it’s a digital platform, Digital is probably on it.
There are a few other changes, including a rewards program on eManga that gives the purchaser back 5 percent of the price paid in points, which can be applied toward future purchases or gifted to others. The revamped eManga site will be operational sometime before Nov. 30, according to Yoko Tanigaki, Digital’s vice president for sales and distribution.
Still, the announcement of the delay in print publication gave us pause, and we had a few questions, which Tanigaki was kind enough to answer for us.
Despite its name, Digital Manga Inc. has always had a robust print line; in fact, the publisher was releasing print manga long before it moved into digital. And it has a pretty solid niche, too: Most of what the company publishes is yaoi manga, fairly formulaic romance between two men, and it has a small but faithful following.
So it was a surprise when Digital President Hikaru Sasahara announced Wednesday that the company will suspend publication of print manga from January through June 2013. “This hiatus will allow us to coordinate our production schedule for 2013 and temporarily shift our focus to our digital publications,” he said on the Digital blog. The post includes a list of all the books scheduled for publication in the first six months of 2013, along with their new release dates. A few books will remain on their original schedule, including the next volume of Vampire Hunter D and the two Tezuka manga funded by a recent Kickstarter campaign.
Events | Richard Pachter surveys the graphic novel scene at Miami Book Fair International, which this year will include appearances by Chris Ware, Derf Backderf, Marjorie Liu, Dan Parent and Chip Kidd, among others. [The Miami Herald]
Events | A group of Canadian creators and publishers are in Tokyo right now for the International Comics Festa, where they are selling an anthology that includes work by Darwyn Cooke, Bryan Lee O’Malley, and Seth. Manga blogger Deb Aoki is there too, and she has all the details. [About.com]