Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tokyopop Visits

As promised, my notes from Tokyopop's presentation - and an answer to Lyle's question (sort of):

As I mentioned in the previous post, Hillery Pastovich came out to talk to us at our Youth Services Director's request; a request that was prompted by a previous controversy surrounding an adult book about Manga.

Ms. Pastovich was very nice and was very good at her job, which was mostly to convince my fellow librarians that graphic novels have a place in libraries, to get us interested in her company's products, and to give us some knowledge that would be useful in responding to concerned parents.

Since none of us need the vocab lessons or to be convinced that graphic novels are good things, I'll skip ahead to the interesting bits.

- Tokyopop is in the early stages of revamping it's rating system. Generally, some of the OT stuff will become M, some T stuff will become OT, etc. Don't expect to see it until fall, and they may or may not go back and adjust some of the already published titles still in print.

- The first copies of Kilala Princess just came off the presses. She brought a few copies for us to look at. Sadly, there wasn't much time to do so. You can see even more on their website than I got a chance to read. (Although it was different pages, weirdly enough. I think the website must start with the first chapter, but the book includes a prologue.)

- Any librarians out there (and presumably laypersons as well), you can go directly to http://www.tokyopop.com/libraries/ so that you don't get "lost in message boards for the rest of the day" trying to find useful information.

Which brings me to Lyle's questions:

- I don't know about Tokyopop, but Ms. Pastovich was well aware of the problems caused by revamping the site. I doubt they plan on drastically changing it anytime soon, although one would hope that they figure out a better way to direct potential readers to actual content sometime soon.

- With regard to how librarians (and readers) can find out which titles belong to which genres (since Tokyopop's imprints are mostly by age) Ms. Pastovich says the new books should have the genre printed on the back and side of the cover. Their website does break down the titles by genre as well, although I'm not sure if they make that information clear on the synopsis pages or on lists of new books, etc.

The whole hour was a lot more fun than I've made it out to be. Ms. Pastovich had some pretty funny comments about some stuff. Tokyopop apparently called up YALSA and asked them "Are you sure?" (or something to that effect) when they found out that some of the more controversial manga - such as I Luv Halloween, which she described as "South Park meets Quentin Tarantino" - had been nominated for various awards. When talking about Fruits Basket and it's popularity, her comment was "we're not sure why, but ok!" She said the same thing in reaction to middle aged women being the largest demographic for Yaoi. (I decided my first meeting was not the best time to explain the attraction to those that don't already get it.)

She also did a good job explaining why they started the Jr. Manga imprint and how it was different from regular manga. Essentially, little kids were always asking to be read from manga books, but pre- and early readers have a hard time following lots of panels of sequential art (which makes sense, considering how kids learn to read) and the stories weren't always appropriate, so they started making larger books with only two panels per page with stories appropriate for young children.

I'm not sure about the new MangaChapters line, just because from what I've seen, the mix of manga and print hasn't been completely worked out. However, I think it's a good idea, especially since some of the librarians who were skeptical about the value of graphic novels perked up at the idea of a book that would be a bridge from sequential art to "literature."

And that's all, folks!

1 comment:

Kat Kan said...

Tokyopop is working with an excellent, sharp, manga/graphic novel-savvy YA librarian to revamp its ratings, so librarians should be able to rest assured that they'll do a good job.