Tokyopop’s officially announced to the Beat yesterday that its American publishing would cease operations as of May 31, just two weeks after the release of PRIEST. The movie may prove to be a sign of what the company’s business style will be like from here on out as its German branch, which is in charge publishing and film rights, will continue to operate. Following substantial rounds of layoffs over the past couple years (the latest happening in February,) this will bring Tokyopop’s 14 year life to an end after significant booms and busts in its American readership. Founder and CEO, Stu Levy issued a personal statement on Tokypop’s website to coincide with the press release, giving his reasons for "laying down his guns" in the manga revolution his company's championed throughout its life.
I have some friends who’ve worked for Tokypop in the past and they’d made it sound to me like this writing’s been on the wall for a long time, both internally and externally. This will surely mark a substantial change in the landscape of American manga readership, but I’m more curious as to what this means to you in the Anime Vice community. Is it the end of an era - - perhaps one that was always unsustainable? - - or is more simply a symptom of change in a market that's still evolving?