Anime Vice News

SoCal Manga Publisher Up for Sale

And it's probably Aurora.

An interesting and sad development comes to us via Simon at Icarus Publishing: the BizBuySell website, which focuses on the sale and acquisition of businesses, lists a manga publisher for sale, based in Southern California. The publisher has an asking price of $300k with a gross income of $531k, inventory of $338k, and two employees (one full-time, one part-time).


The company that most likely fits this bill is Aurora Publishing, child company of Japanese publisher Ohzora Shuppan. Aurora is a small, young publisher based in Torrance, CA (where the sales broker is also based) that has rather notoriously been selling its books off at dirt cheap prices for quite some time now, a move that now seems to have been a lead-up to an expected sale of the company.

There are other southern California-based publishers-- Go! Comi, based an hour off from Torrance and also awfully quiet of late; Seven Seas in Los Angeles, which just did some license rescues and is therefore probably not struggling all that much, and TOKYOPOP, which if nothing else has considerably more than two employees. So I'd join Simon and put my money on Aurora.

According to The Comics Reporter, Aurora is also about to lose its contract with digital manga/manhwa publisher Netcomics.com, who will be removing all Aurora manga from its site on April 14th-- which seems like another sign of a likely demise-- not to mention that attempts to reach Aurora have generally been in vain (the only phone number I've ever had for them is apparently disconnected, and as yet there has been no response to my e-mails).

It's rather fascinating: Aurora's focus was on the female market, publishing josei and yaoi titles. Yaoi fans in particular are widely credited with being better about buying than the average anime/manga fan in the US, but that doesn't seem to have helped Aurora much. On the other hand, their titles never seemed to get a lot of buzz, for all that some of them were quite good.
SimonJoneson April 9, 2010 at 3:58 p.m.
There's curious timing between the 4/14 pull-out date for Aurora's books on Netcomics, and the April launch of Animate USA's yaoi Kindle books.  Looking at Deux's catalog, there are 6 series from Libre/Biblos.
 
Not saying there's a definite connection here (heck, not even sure if Aurora is the publisher for sale, or that the sales listing is even active), but it's quite a coincidence.  Perhaps this is the first rumblings of an overall shift of strategy at the Japanese publishers, a realignment of loyalties and partnerships, and a new perspective on licensing.
Count_Zeroon April 9, 2010 at 8:57 p.m.
Phone number disconnection is usually (but not always) a definite sign that a company is going under (see my desperate attempts to contact US Manga Corps before it died).
sotyfan16on April 10, 2010 at 2:16 a.m.

In seeing this it makes me wish I had the time, money and materials to buy/save this company. A key location and recognizable name are important points to understand when trying to make your name (or a title's name) worth its salt to America and its anime/manga audience*.  
 
I feel that anime/manga need to become fully mainstream and will do what I can to make such a world possible.

ShadowKnight508 moderator on April 10, 2010 at 3:17 p.m.
It is a shame to see a anime studio (even if it is not a well known, giant studio) get shuttered by the struggling economy...here is hoping that someone comes with the monetary backing to save it.
Gozertcon April 11, 2010 at 11:43 p.m.

Whew... when I saw the headline I immedietly thought of 7 Seas.  Then I read the description and knew it wasn't them and I'm glad.  I know too many folks over there and I'd hate to see them fold.  (Even been on a panel with them at Comic Con. :) )  
 
giaon April 16, 2010 at 1:54 p.m.
@SimonJones: That is very interesting-- wish I'd spotted this comment arlier. Hmm.
giaon April 16, 2010 at 1:54 p.m.
@Gozertc: Ah, were you one of the people they called up at Expo...let's see, musta been 2007? I was in the audience at the time :)
Gozertcon April 29, 2010 at 1:12 p.m.
@gia: *Chuckles*  Yeah I was the big guy on the end.  Called myself "Gozer the Carpathian" as I still do.  :)    
 
As I said I know several of the artists and writers personally and knew the president on a first name basis.  At least back then I did.  :\ 

Dig Deeper into Aurora Publishing

The North American arm of Japanese publisher Ohzora Shuppan, focusing primarily on josei manga.

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