Retailer website ICv2.com talks with Tokyopop publisher Mike Kiley about the company’s recent decision to sell some titles exclusively through its website.
Kiley admits that the initiative is “kind of an experiment,” designed to utilize Tokyopop’s website community to draw attention to titles that haven’t performed as well through traditional distribution.
I would actually be kidding you if I told you there was a firm magic formula about what to put into the program. We just want to take advantage of this new audience we have online, in acknowledgement of the competition for shelf space at retail. This is a way that made sense to us to try in terms of, ‘Can we help find a bigger audience for particular books using a slightly different platform?’
In the spirit of full disclosure, the titles that are not volume 1s, the existing, continuing series that we’re putting into that program, probably fall into one of two categories. Either A, they have been commercially very challenged and we want to try and give them a shot in a different way; or B, they’re just really special in some way that we think the regular distribution mechanism hasn’t been able to deal with. It hasn’t been able to get the right amount of exposure and highlighting that we think those titles deserve. That’s my take on the two reasons why existing properties could go into the program.
With the volume 1s, it’s very consciously not an attempt to say, ‘Here’s the dregs or the bottom of the barrel’ or whatever. It’s very consciously more an attempt to say, ‘Here’s a book that we think is kind of quirky, interesting, can profit from a slightly different treatment prompted from the increased exposure it will get from this new audience that we’re cultivating online.’
Tokyopop launched its online-exclusive program in July with Atomic King Daidogan, One, starting with Vol. 10, and Neck and Neck, starting with Vol. 6, and has since added several more, including Heaven Above Heaven, Heaven!!, Rure, Soul to Seoul, King City, and Short Sunzen.
Kiley interview: Part 1, Part 2