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Penguin Random House Publisher Services, Tokyopop Enter Multi-Year Sales/Distribution Agreement

posted on by Alex Mateo
PRHPS to sell, distribute Tokyopop frontlist/backlist worldwide starting on January 1, 2025

Image courtesy of Tokyopop
Penguin Random House Publisher Services (PRHPS), a division of Penguin Random House, announced on Wednesday that it has entered a a multi-year sales and distribution agreement with Tokyopop. PRHPS will sell and distribute the entire Tokyopop frontlist and backlist across all sales channels worldwide, starting on January 1, 2025.

Stu Levy founded Tokyopop, originally called Mixx, in 1997 and published manga in serial form in its Mixxzine magazine. Tokyopop later pioneered the publication of "unflopped" manga (shown in its original right-to-left reading format) for all of its titles in 2002 and launched divisions in the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as an imprint devoted to boys-love manga called Blu, between 2003 and 2005.

Tokyopop shut down its North American publishing operations in May 2011 but collaborated with other companies to release manga and world manga after the closure. Tokyopop announced at its Anime Expo panel in 2015 that it was planning to begin publishing manga again in 2016, and announced its first new manga licenses in 2018.

Tokyopop marketing associate Kae Winters confirmed in an interview with ICv2 in March 2023 that founder and CEO Levy has stepped back from the company's operations in the United States. Levy moved to Berlin in January 2020. ANN reached out to Levy regarding this interview, and Levy stated he "thinks the term 'step back' is a bit ambiguous," adding, "In our case, it doesn't mean that I have no involvement, but more that I need to focus on overall group strategy for TOKYOPOP instead of day to day operations." Levy also told ANN his position in Tokyopop's German operations is similar to the U.S., adding "I am chair but the day to day operations are handled by our super talented Managing Director, Susanne Hellweg."

Tokyopop and MBC Group, a large media company in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) based in Saudi Arabia, announced that same month that they were partnering to create MBC Anime, a new joint venture that commissions, produces, and invests in a series of anime titles. Tokyopop founder and CEO Levy is leading MBC Anime.

Penguin Random House Publisher Services' clients include Seven Seas Entertainment, Kodansha USA Publishing (which handles the Kodansha Comics and Vertical imprints), Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. for its Square Enix Manga & Books publishing label, and Dark Horse Comics.

Penguin Random House unsuccessfully attempted an acquisition of publishing business Simon & Schuster in 2020-2022. A federal judge blocked the Penguin Random House acquisition of Simon & Schuster in agreement with the Justice Department's finding that the acquistion would have Penguin Random House "hold unprecedented control and outsize influence over which books are published in the U.S. and how much authors are paid," saying that the merger may be "substantially to lessen competition." Simon & Schuster distributes Viz Media manga and novel publications in North America.

Source: Press release

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