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I think Del Rey’s Going Under

September 24, 2010

For the record, let’s keep in mind that this is all guesswork, though with relatively good backing.

I’m pretty sure that Del Rey is sinking and quick. Multiple releases have been pushed back to 2013 on Amazon (literally, I checked them a few days ago and they were available for pre-order and had release dates for early next year), including Shugo Chara! 10, ARISA 2, and Fairy Tail 13. Fairy Tail is the one that especially gets me, as the latest volume is listed on Del Rey’s site (a topic I’ll cover in a bit) as one of their best sellers. Personally, I’m exceedingly frustrated with the Shugo Chara! push-back however, as it’s not the first time and it’s so close to being complete (well, 12 volumes complete), though I do recognize that publishing series when they’re not making money (as I’m assuming the problem is) is not the way to go, even if it does finish series for the fans.

Now on to Del Rey’s website. They’re recently merged their manga site with the general blog, Suvudu. If you haven’t been, I don’t suggest it. It’s impossible to find a single thing, and it’s basically the worst idea a publishing company has had for a website yet. There is no way to find out what their upcoming releases are and what they say the release dates are for said titles. The only thing even remotely related to their books are two small boxes of recent releases and best-sellers. This is somewhat helpful, but I’d rather see an ‘upcoming’ box than one showing titles that are already released. The fact that they completely downgraded their site doesn’t make me feel too good about the status of the company.

Another part of this is their terrible cycle of bad licenses. As FuyuMaiden said on twitter, “I blame this on the cycle. Crappy editing on shoujo -> Doesn’t sell -> Can’t afford editing -> Repeat. Now with massive delays!” warriorhope added in, “They also chose a lot of really sucky/mediocare shojo series before, so I think those not selling well also contributed.” They both really hit the nail on the head. Del Rey hasn’t really picked up the best series in the world, warriorhope mentioned both Four Eyed Prince and Papillion. They have had some great titles though, which leads to why they never seemed to take off: bad editing and a terrible lack of publicity.

Del Rey started off as a great publisher, they did great work on all their earlier volumes that I purchased and they quickly became one of my favorite publishers, but lately they’ve really just not been doing very well. I personally was rather vehement about the change from “Black Lynx” to “Black Links” in Shugo Chara!, when it was pretty obvious that Ikuto’s character change was supposed to be a cat, and therefor “lynx” was a much better fit. I know this might seem kind of minor, but Del Rey started out as what seemed to be a bunch of fans working for the fans and doing a great job, but when you get things like this, it says to me that they don’t care anymore and I don’t really feel like buying the work of someone who doesn’t care. I can just as easily start purchasing a new Shojo Beat series that I’m more likely to enjoy, because I tend to see love in their work. Putting off the fans is not the way to go in publishing, because they’re your source of income. You don’t make a quality product, people aren’t going to buy it. (And yes, I suppose there could be a scanlation argument here, but that’s really not my main point.)

Finally, the lack of publicity. I’m not sure the last time I saw Del Rey do anything even remotely related to publicity. Of course they include the pages of ads for their other series in their books, but that’s about as far as it goes. Viz has plenty of sites out there that make it much easier to find info about them and their products, and of course Shonen Jump is probably one of the best pieces of publicity they have (as well as the televised anime they have tie-in manga to). Yen Press has a lovely site, I always see their light novels shelved with the sci-fi and fantasy novels and not the manga, and they still have their magazine (though it is now online only). Tokyopop did their manga tour this summer (which I have very mixed feelings about, but it is good publicity), does a ton of twitter and facebook give-aways, and is really in general one of the most present publishers online. I did find some panel reports on Anime News Network from Del Rey panels, but the most recent actual Del Rey panel was last year; the only panel I could find from this year was one that Dallas Middaugh was on at SDCC, but that wasn’t actually a Del Rey panel, only one that he participated in. Basically, if people don’t know about your products, how in the world are they supposed to be able to buy them?

Bottom line, Del Rey has been doing plenty of things wrong lately. I’d love to see them survive, because I love Shugo Chara! and would love to actually see ARISA published past the first volume (there have been other series that I’ve liked from them, just not really any recently picked up titles). I really do hope that Del Rey can turn things around, but with all these release date changes to years in the future, it’s really not looking good.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. warriorhope permalink
    September 24, 2010 7:08 am

    SC is kinda of surprising too. I would have thought that they’d a least give the last three volumes an omnibus release.

    Like Fuyu said last night though, they have revoked scanlations bitching rights. People who would’ve bought their stuff if they were less crappy. I really enjoyed their work at the start, but than they started hiring the same crappy editers for all the shojo stuff.

    I’m hoping Kondasasa US will realise Arisa/the last few SC volumes.

    Black links is one of the stupidest things ever, but yeah.

    • September 26, 2010 1:41 pm

      Yeah, maybe that’s why the date changed? Hopefully it’s just a date that means they’re working on it and don’t know when it will be done as opposed to the more obvious, “it’s canceled, but we don’t want to say that out loud…”

      To be honest, I only kept buying them because I hate having series incomplete (and I read the scans, so I felt like supporting the mangaka in any way I could, though I do have issues of Nakayoshi with SC!, I don’t think PeachPit makes much, if anything from that, the book sales are what helps them), but I would have bought more of their titles if they didn’t end up being so terribly put together.

      I really hope Kodansha USA starts pumping out more stuff, but not too much, because there is no need for the market to be inundated with more crap. But yeah, finished SC! and ARISA would be awesome. ARISA should do fairly well since it’s by Natsumi Ando and Kitchen Princess was a great seller for Del Rey.

  2. September 24, 2010 11:46 am

    At least you still have some hope for them. I’ve been on the verge of turning away from English publishers since I refuse to pay for translations that I’m not satisfied with. Why bother supporting you when you’re not going to get the job done remotely right? This is just my opinion, though.

    As for the date change, it’s gone and jumped over the edge for me already on a lot of occasions. I’d rather spend that time struggling with the Japanese copy since I’ll be learning as I read a long (and I actually have the book in nice unaltered format in my hands) instead of getting let down by the English version after such a long wait (that =/= worth it).
    That’s not to say I will stop buying other titles just yet since I hate international shipping so much T.Tbut the number of manga I plan to get in English version on my wish list is dwindling a lot. I only buy manga that I feel are worth buying so yea, that’s a pretty big drop as well.

    Not much to comment on the publicity part since I don’t actively follow who’s doing what. If they just deliver my book good, I’ll be happy. Which is not likely nowadays. *major sigh*

    • September 26, 2010 1:44 pm

      It’s a fair opinion! Luckily (unfortunately?) I can’t read a bit of Japanese, so I can’t really tell most of the time when translations are bad (though I can certainly tell when they don’t make sense or don’t match the characters’ expressions). If I read Japanese, I would totally buy more Japanese manga and probably give up on translations, but until that day, I’m going to have to stick with licensed manga. :[ (and yeah…international shipping is a bitch!! D: )

  3. addie permalink
    September 24, 2010 6:37 pm

    I’d bet money that the Black Lynx=>Black Links change was due to a trademark conflict or something.

    • September 26, 2010 1:23 pm

      It’s possible, but I’m almost positive that I’ve read an English-translated manga that included “Harry Potter”, and that’s definitely trademarked…

      Also, Del Rey mentions Starbucks in Kitchen Princess (I was just reading it, I know for a fact they mention it by name), and I know that’s trademarked as well.

      • chimitsu permalink
        September 26, 2010 3:14 pm

        that manga was Ultra Maniac (remembers that) that had the harry potter reference. But Del Ray…hmm…really makes you think. Some of their series are definitely taking forever to be released but others are doing just fine (like Fairy Tail and Tsubasa)

        • September 26, 2010 6:11 pm

          Fairy Tail 13 actually got pushed back on Amazon til 2013 as well, and it is one of their best-sellers. Tsubasa will be complete this November and it looks like it’s still a definite, thank goodness!!

          • chimitsu permalink
            September 29, 2010 8:48 pm

            lol unfortunately thats the *bad* volume because it ends the series in one of the most worse and strangest ways *cough* <—is shot

            I think Amazon is making a mistake though. I think we just have to wait and see from Del Ray themselves. Though I can't deny anything with Shugo Chara. Their pacing with releasing the series is just ridiculous

  4. September 29, 2010 1:21 pm

    :| this year hasn’t been a good year for manga publishers. First Go Comi!, then CMX, and now Del Rey is tittering over the edge
    I have to admit the editing on their products has really…gone down hill. One example is the newest volume of Ghost Hunt. I can’t remember what part exactly but it was some explanation John said that made no sense whatsoever (the way it was worded didn’t sound right at all). Then I saw the anime and that same part occurred, but with an explanation that made more sense (of course the anime could have switched it but the two followed closely together. Plus it was how it was worded that made the manga’s reasoning sound weird). However, seeing how I haven’t grabbed any Del Rey stuff recently (been loving too much on Yen Press), I’m not sure how the editing has gone since then (seeing as how the latest volume of Ghost Hunt came out about a year ago).
    BTW: I haven’t gotten to that part in Shugo Chara but I think Black Lynx sounds more in character with Ikuto. Black Links just looks…so out of place ^^:

    I hope they do pull out of their slump
    I’m interested in the light novels they currently have rights to – FAUST and Zaregoto :<

  5. cookiekarin5 permalink
    October 2, 2010 8:04 pm

    I noticed that, too, and am starting to wonder. I mean, they keep combining volumes into one, and paperback at that. I always thought that maybe something was going wrong. I hope not… even though they suck sometimes, they have most of my favorite mangas.

  6. October 4, 2010 1:06 pm

    @chimitsu lol, that’s true. The whole star road thing (or whatever it was called) was just ridiculous. Mostly I want Encore! to be published and now that it’s officially over for Del Rey, we’ll have to see. I think Shugo Chara! was always a pretty big seller for Del Rey and I know it’s huge in Japan, so I think Kodansha USA will continue it~

    @sylphalchemist It really has been a crap-tastic year for manga publishers. :[ I really hope that Kodansha USA finishes most of Del Rey’s titles (even ones that Del Rey stopped, like Nodame Cantabile). I think it’s looking fairly likely for some of their titles, especially ones like xxxHOliC, Shugo Chara!, and Fairy Tail. Unfortunately, they haven’t said anything about the light novels yet. I really hope they finish Zaregoto (though since they’re only two volumes in, who knows…).

    @cookiekarin5 I actually really like omnibus volumes, since it’s more of a value for the consumer (though I’m not sure how it works out for the publishers…). Since Del Rey did just fold today, Kodansha USA has said they’ll publish some of Del Rey’s titles on a title-to-title basis, but i have a feeling the most popular series will be continued. :]


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