The Isotope Communique
Posts Tagged ‘retail’
You Will Be Missed Tokyopop

Sad news today. The company that started a manga revolution, Tokyopop, is shutting down operations here in the states.

Back when the Isotope was still incubating in the demo tape years we had the proud distinction of the biggest and most diverse selection of manga in San Francisco, dominated by books from VIZ, PULP, Comics One, Dark Horse, Studio Ironcat, Redline Manga, Komics Dreamarts, and the early Mixx/Tokyopop titles. We put a lot care into expanding what we already had and diversifying our mighty manga selection every month. As it was always our mission to seek out new comic readers we were all particularly thrilled to see all of the non-traditional readers that it brought in. The section’s popularity continued to grow with the ever-increasing of great books and we did lots of manga business for that first year. With the launch of Tokyopop’s daring “Authentic Manga” (backwards reading) format suddenly interest in manga in San Francisco exploded… and suddenly, it seemed like every single shop in SF was suddenly a place to buy manga. Not just the comic shops and book stores, they were even selling the likes of Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon at our local 40oz liquor store.

Manga was everywhere in San Francisco!

And that’s when our sales went dead.

Whether it was that we hadn’t inspired enough loyalty in that particular customer base, couldn’t keep up with the stocking that multi-million dollar bookstore chains were doing, or just couldn’t compete when people were picking up their manga everywhere in the city it’s tough to say. But it was pretty clear that for whatever reason we’d lost the audience and we just weren’t the destination for those books anymore.

As an admirer of Malcolm McLaren‘s “forced generational gap” theory, I found the whole “Authentic Manga” choice downright brilliant on Tokyopop’s part. If he knew anything about the comics industry, McLaren would certainly have been impressed with the company’s most likely unintentional application of that theory of his! So while sales of their books had slowed to a crawl at the shop, and it took years of nurturing an audience for manga the likes of which Vertical, the VIZ IKKI line, and Drawn & Quarterly produce to once again move the manga sales needle here at the Isotope, my admiration of Tokyopop just grew and grew.

Tokyopop reinvented what comics were and who read them. They made the infusion of the culture of comics with fashion, music, and lifestyle effortless and fun. All things that we hoped to do in our own small way, things that had been built into the DNA of what the Isotope is. They made being a fan of sequential art something kids were excited about again and certainly made American comic conventions a heck of a lot more interesting. But they did so much more than any of that… they brought in a generation of comic readers and they made comics cool. So despite them pretty much being single-handedly responsible for mucking up the category’s sales at the Isotope, we will forever be in their debt.

I’m sure the rest of the industry will have a few thousand 2 cents on the topic as well in the coming days and weeks. And no doubt we’re all hoping that from the ashes of their closure there will be some rights reversions happening and someone will manage to re-publish some of the great OEL books that the company produced like The Dark Goodbye, East Coast Rising, Snow, and particularly Ross Campbell’s amazing zombie comic The Abandoned which has been out of print for far, far too long.

You will be missed Tokyopop. Your reign in the industry was truly glorious.

Making Your Holidays Simple

One of my favorite things in life is doing personal shopping, scouring the store shelves for treasures to put together the perfect selection of graphic novels for each person’s taste, and during the holidays I’m blessed to get to do it so much.

My goal when helping folks gift shop is always two-fold. First, I want to blow your friend or loved one’s mind with amazingness, hat’s probably fairly typical just about any small business you might shop at. But more important than that, I want your friend or loved one to open that present, look at you, and think one word, “Genius!” Because that is my real goal when helping people shop for gifts at the Isotope… I want to make you look like the most brilliantly genius friend or loved one they have ever met.

Just stop in and I’ll cheerfully do that exact thing for you, or for all those varied people on your holiday shopping list.

For those folks out there who can’t come into the Isotope, we’re happy to make personalized Gift Certificates for your friends and loved ones too. Just give us a call (415) 621 – 6543 and we can effortlessly make you one for any amount you’d like over the phone and email you one to put in their holiday stocking this year. And if you ask, I’ll even make you a special personal card too.

Shouldn’t everything around the holidays be as simple?

And Now, A Word From James

Cheers, beloved members of the Isotope family!

If you’ve been paying attention to the recent comic news you already know it’s another exciting time of change for the comic industry. One that will no doubt be great for comics and will also probably cause some chaos for us Friendly Comic Book Retailers throughout the industry for a bit. As you probably also know, everything we get from Diamond Comics Distributors is non-returnable, so if I order something that no one wants for whatever reason, that hurts the general healthiness of the store. Admittedly, I’ve always had a pretty keen sense of what will and what won’t sell at the Isotope and have done pretty well with that over the years. And I plan to continue doing just that. However, recently a number of publishers, understandably eager to make their mark in the digital comics world, are no longer providing folks like me with accurate information on what to expect as far as the wheres and perhaps even the whens of distribution on their books anymore. I don’t really mind these changes and think it all heralds an exciting new era for comics, but it does require a few adjustments on my part… ‘cos Momma Sime didn’t raise no fool. When it comes to order time I have to assume anything they publish will be distributed digitally at whatever unknowable price they might decide now (and perhaps on whatever unknowable day as well). With all that in mind, I’m sure everyone will appreciate that while the Isotope remains just as committed as always to selling and stocking a vast variety of comics I’m going to be just a bit more cautious about going out on a limb for certain books or formats in the future.

Fortunately, I had Comixology built so we can ensure my staff and I continue doing an excellent job providing you with all the information about upcoming releases we can and getting you all the books you want. Truth be told, after all the false starts I encountered trying to get an on-line Previews and pull-list made, I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out. I spent 3 years of my life getting that thing made and preparing the Isotope for this exact moment! Man, it’s great when a little duty now for the future pays off, isn’t it?

Orders for July/August are due this coming week, please take the time this weekend to place them. I am, of course, going to continue to bend over backwards to get you whatever you want, but anything with JUN10 order codes placed after Monday, June 28th at midnight may be subject to delays or allocations. So please do get those lists updated, por favor. Here’s everything Diamond is shipping for August/September releases:

If you don’t already have an account and would like us to start pulling titles for you (and get a nice discount on them as well) email hidden; JavaScript is required and I’ll help you get set up right away.


– James

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