TOKYOPOP & Diamond Announce Exclusive Relationship

Official Press Release

Diamond Comic Distributors and TOKYOPOP Inc. have announced a distribution agreement that makes Diamond the exclusive distributor of the publisher's English-language graphic novels to the comic book specialty market and hobby stores in North America. As part of this new agreement, the two companies have committed to working together to achieve timely release of TOKYOPOP's titles in these markets.

In addition, Diamond has elected to raise the discount it offers its retailer customers on TOKYOPOP's titles. Effective with items in the March 2004 Previews, all TOKYOPOP items will be sold to Diamond customers at an "E" discount, up to 50% off. The same discount applies to all in-stock merchandise, beginning with orders placed after March 31.

TOKYOPOP is the leading North American publisher of manga, the fastest growing segment within the publishing industry. With millions of books in print and exclusive rights to hundreds of licensed and original book, video and music properties, the company has rapidly become a media convergence leader. Among its many hit manga series are Fruits Basket, Love Hina, Chobits, Rave Master, Initial D, GTO, Battle Royale and Cowboy Bebop. Several of these series are also valuable motion picture and television properties.

In addition to publishing traditional manga, TOKYOPOP has also pioneered Cine-Manga, a blend of cinematic properties and manga that uses actual imagery from hit movies and television series. Titles such as Finding Nemo, SpongeBob SquarePants, Lizzie McGuire, Astro Boy, and Transformers Armada have been brought to life in this new portable format for readers. The company has also expanded its presence as a licensor, representing merchandising rights for Rave Master, Initial D, Stray Sheep and other high profile character based properties.

"Manga has proven to be a huge draw to mainstream audiences, and TOKYOPOP is not only one of the biggest publishers of manga in the U.S., but also one of the best known and most forward-thinking," said Diamond Vice President of Purchasing Bill Schanes. "Its diverse lineup of manga and sheer quantity of available backlist and frontlist have made TOKYOPOP an industry leader and one of the prime innovators in the manga field. The company has proven itself over the years to have a knack for finding, developing, and producing valuable properties and excellent entertainment, and this makes TOKYOPOP an important partner in the ever-changing comic book and hobby markets.

"In recognition of TOKYOPOP's popularity and success," Schanes continued, "Diamond has elected to make its products more affordable and profitable for retailers by increasing the discount we offer."

"We are delighted at the opportunity to partner with Diamond for our comic book and hobby market distribution," said Steve Kleckner, TOKYOPOP's VP, Sales & Distribution. "Diamond's skills in this market are evident, and it is our goal to continue to build our relationships with retailers in this space."

"TOKYOPOP knows the importance of quality stories, presented in the best format," Schanes added. "Countless readers, both new and traditional, have discovered or re-discovered a love of comics in part through TOKYOPOP's titles and efforts. We look forward to helping TOKYOPOP continue to bring the absolute best and most powerful character-based entertainment to the Western audience."

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