Viz Donates $100 000

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Viz Comics announced today the recent donation of over US$100,000 worth of comics, books and videos to several public libraries. The full Press Release is printed below:




San Francisco, CA (6/16/00)-Viz Comics, America's 5th-largest comics publisher and largest publisher of Japanese comics, has recently donated over $100,000 in books and videos to U.S. public libraries. "It is pleasing to discover the help of a gift such as yours in active support for the library," praised Marjorie Rump, Deputy Director, Kern County Library (CA). "Your gift has put some new books on our shelves, a most important element in vital library service."

Comics are underrepresented in libraries, but the demand for manga(Japanese comics) has never been greater, especially with young readers. "I am certain that San Francisco teens will be thrilled with these titles," confirmed Jennifer Collins, Middle School Outreach Librarian, San Francisco Public Library.

The increasing popularity of Japanese animation--through TV broadcast of Pokémon, Gundam Wing and Dragon Ball Z, or direct-to-video releases--is leading millions of viewers to the original comics that inspired these popular series. Manga stories cover all genres and ages, and are equally enjoyed by males and females--romance, comedy, crime drama, science fiction, fantasy, action.

In Japan, popular titles regularly sell over 1 million copies per week before being collected in "graphic novel" (book) form, and they as much a staple of Japanese libraries as of bookstores. Viz has actively encouraged greater readership both among children with Pokémon, and teens with Ranma ½. Viz has donated $100,000 of graphic novels, books, magazines, videos and comics to fifteen library regions:

Tucson, AZ
San Francisco, CA
Dallas, TX
Bakersfield, CA
Santa Clara, CA
San Antonio, TX
Los Angeles, CA
Carmel, IN
Seattle, WA
Oakland, CA
Brooklyn, OH
Spokane, WA
San Diego, CA
Columbus, OH
Madison, WI

Viz's Director of Sales and Marketing Oliver Chin explained the motivation for this large scale effort, "As a publisher, Viz has a enduring responsibility to help improve public literacy and young people's enjoyment of reading. Since 1997, we have increased the sales of anime and manga on all retail fronts. Simultaneously we have actively increased the supply of circulating copies among libraries which lack the budget and resources to satisfy reader demand. Response has been overwhelmingly positive, and Viz will to continue build enthusiastic readership at the grassroots level across the country."

In addition, Viz regularly donates to community non-profit organizations, such as the Japanese Community Youth Council, Los Angeles Tofu Festival, and San Francisco Rescue Mission. On June 6, 2000, Viz donated $12,000 of Pokémon calendars and comic books to San Francisco's Chinatown Branch Library for their Summer Reading program. "Thanks again for your support and generosity towards the public libraries here in the Bay Area (those graphic novels are still flying off our shelves!)," commended Dorothy Yiu Chang, Branch Manager, Oakland Public Library.


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