What’s happening to Del Rey manga?
Just a few weeks ago, in response to fan concerns about some volumes being canceled or postponed, we asked associate publisher Dallas Middaugh what was going on, and he was very reassuring:
Let me assure you that Random House plans to be in the manga business for years to come, and our program overall remains strong and steady.
Perhaps Random House does, but the Del Rey imprint seems to be foundering. At the manga site Kuriousity, blogger Andre notes there are no new Del Rey titles in October Previews, and no new Del Rey titles on Amazon after November, except for a handful that have been pushed back to 2013.
I e-mailed Middaugh for a response, and he replied, “Thanks for asking, but we have no comment at this time.” Andre got a similar answer from Del Rey’s PR person, April Flores.
Meanwhile, Del Rey’s website (which was one of the better-designed publisher sites) has been folded into Random House’s Suvudu.com, which is a horrible mishmash in terms of design and product presentation. As a result, catalog descriptions for Del Rey manga, whether by design or by accident, are now almost impossible to find — they don’t show up when you search the site, only when you search in the Random House box.
What does it all mean? Commenters at Kuriousity speculate that Del Rey will stick to global manga, and Japanese licenses will go to Kodansha USA, which is distributed by Del Rey’s parent company Random House. Del Rey has a panel scheduled at New York Comic Con, but it seems to be about prose properties. So for now, all we can do is wait and see.