TOKYOPOP Tops PW List of Fast Growing Indie Publishers

Author: Newsroom

Los Angeles, CA – The leading publishing industry trade, Publishers Weekly, has selected TOKYOPOP for the top spot on the latest edition of Fast-Growing Independent Publishers.  According to the PW article, the manga and graphic novel brand’s sales in 2022 doubled over  2021, up 580% from 2020. 

The article (PW edition March 20, 2023, pg-41) notes that TOKYOPOP’s impressive performance has been due to the overall surge in demand for manga. The boom has led longtime TOKYOPOP accounts like bookstores, libraries, and comic shops to increase their manga footprint while allowing the publisher to add key new retailer partners such as Walmart and Hot Topic. 

TOKYOPOP expanded its global retail reach through digital initiatives and developed more subscription partnerships. In addition, in January 2021, it moved its trade distribution from  Diamond to Independent Publishers Group. 

The publisher’s new title count, which includes books and single-issue comics, rose from  45 in 2020 to 61 last year, as TOKYOPOP focused on signing and releasing titles based on high fan engagement. Last year’s big success was the Disney manga titles, led by Marcy’s Journal: A  Guide to Amphibia and The Nightmare Before Christmas

“Credit for the phenomenal growth and success of TOKYOPOP is due entirely to readers and fans, who make all this possible, and to an incredible team of people that work very hard to curate, edit, produce, print, ship, and stock our titles,” says TOKYOPOP founder, Stu Levy. “Now  more than ever before, the factors that will drive the continued success of TOKYOPOP rely on  diversity and a lasting commitment to quality and publishing content that celebrates the best  aspects of humanity – creativity, inclusion, empathy, love, and courage.” 

Popular licensed series based on well-known entertainment IP from brands such as Disney and  Ubisoft endear TOKYOPOP to legions of readers, and several new top-tier properties will be licensed this year. The publisher is also forging fresh connections with a vast and underserved range of readers eager for diversity and a new era of characters and stories.  

TOKYOPOP’s LOVE x LOVE imprint is tailored for the substantial romance reader market, which generated over $1.4 billion in 2022, making romance the highest-earning fiction genre. LOVE  x LOVE celebrates straight and LGBTQ-themed romance with a colorful rainbow of acclaimed straight, shojo, BL, yuri, and josei-themed manga emphasizing quality. The imprint was born from a commitment to represent stories, characters, and voices as diverse as the readers. It manifested a core TOKYOPOP belief that “love is love” and all types of romances deserve to be celebrated. 

In 2023, TOKYOPOP also forged a publishing initiative with Noir Caesar Entertainment, a Black-owned indie creative company founded by self-proclaimed “blerd,” pro athlete, and entrepreneur Johnny O’Bryant III that supports and nourishes content from marginalized and  BIPOC communities for a burgeoning range of fans eager for wider representation in comics.  

Utilizing TOKYOPOP’s extensive channel distribution network, digital marketing resources, and production expertise, Noir Caesar kicks off this collaboration by releasing the coming-of-age martial arts drama XOGENASYS and the sci-fi adventure PRIMUS 7 in July. This will be followed in August by the launch of the gritty crime and redemption saga, TRY AGAIN.  

Finally, TOKYOPOP’s “Comics That Matter” initiative uses graphic novels to raise awareness about important causes and social issues. GUARDIAN OF FUKUSHIMA, named an official selection by the Junior Library Guild, is this catalog’s second and latest title. That also includes 2022’s release of VICTORY FOR UKRAINE, an impactful collection of nine stories by Ukrainian creators focused on the heroism of the Ukrainian freedom fighters in the face of overwhelming forces. More details at: https://www.tokyopop.com/comicsthatmatter

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