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Tokyopop CEO “bullish” on iPad, planning more iPhone content this year

by  in Comic News Comment
Tokyopop CEO “bullish” on iPad, planning more iPhone content this year

Tokyopop CEO and CCO Stuart Levy spoke with about a variety of topics recently, covering everything from the condition of the manga market to new initiatives to the Priest movie to digital comics. The interview is broken up into three parts (part 1, part 2, part 3) and I’m betting Brigid will have more to say about the bulk of it, but the part that caught my eye was what he had to say about digital content and their plans for various Apple devices.

Although they’ve tested the water with a few of their properties in the past through companies like uClick, Levy said Tokyopop plans to start publishing their own iPhone content this year. “We were pleased with the market, but it’s very important to us to publish our own content,” he told the site. “Whether we’re working with developers or whether doing technology work internally we want to be in a position where we felt we could publish directly onto the Apple platform. Now we are in a position to do it.”

After knocking Amazon’s Kindle, he goes on to say that he’s ordered his own personal iPad already, and Tokyopop will be involved with the device’s iBookstore:

In the very beginning, it’s not going to start out 37 million iPads like it is with the iPhone. For me personally, the most interesting thing on the iPad is the iBookstore. To the degree that anybody around the world can easily get onto this iBookstore and find the books they want and make the distribution mechanism become more or less invisible, that will help everybody focus on content. Do you need to have a dedicated app for either the iPad or the iPhone for a comic book when the iBookstore can simply make it something you download like music? That’s what makes me excited.

In terms of applications there could be some very interesting value add stuff on the applications themselves. To me it’s really about a property. Imagine Priest. If you’re excited about the movie coming out, you’re excited about the graphic novel, maybe there’s videogame-related stuff. There are a series of things that the Priest world entails including social media. Wrapping all that into an iPad/iPhone experience that you’re able to experience–that’s in my opinion the most exciting and ultimately the most rewarding opportunity for both the consumer and the content holders. Tokyopop isn’t a technology company. It will take us a little bit because we want to do this right and we want to see what’s out there. We’ll be focusing more this year on the iPhone because the install base is so big and I think it’s getting to the point where standardization is beginning to happen. The iPad is something that we will be involved in. We’re involved in the iBookstore. We may or may not have our books available from day one but hopefully we’ll be pretty close behind that. We’re thrilled to be part of that endeavor. That’s a big initiative for us.

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