Author Topic: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP  (Read 34513 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Walter

  • 賢者
  • Administrator
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 15898
  • Karma: 475
  • Gender: Male
  • Chapter ≠ Episode
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2013, 10:46:20 AM »
I'm formulating a reply now. I'm advocating the possibility of adopting an e-reader format for the middle volumes, and keeping the printing press happy with the newer volumes. Of course, that's up to Hakusensha.

I think this is a key piece of evidence against the belief that scanlations help foster growth for a series. We're seeing the fallout damage right before our eyes.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Walter

  • 賢者
  • Administrator
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 15898
  • Karma: 475
  • Gender: Male
  • Chapter ≠ Episode
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2013, 01:23:12 PM »
Excuse the double post but we've got another reply from Dark Horse on the matter:

Quote from: http://boards.darkhorse.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=19979
We would absolutely offer the volumes (all of them) digitally -- if the Japanese publisher would grant us that license. Unfortunately, our attempts to obtain it from them have been unsuccessful.

No surprise, really. We've discussed at length how it could benefit Berserk (and Young Animal in general) to be in a legitimate electronic format. The publishers are simply going to have to face facts that the landscape for the medium has drastically changed.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Gobolatula

  • Smooth operator
  • Falconian
  • Of the Vortex
  • *****
  • Posts: 1216
  • Karma: 68
  • Gender: Male
  • praise be to grail!
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2013, 02:45:01 PM »
I wonder how expensive a print-on-demand type deal would cost... Probably something outrageous. Ugh this sucks.

Offline Walter

  • 賢者
  • Administrator
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 15898
  • Karma: 475
  • Gender: Male
  • Chapter ≠ Episode
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2013, 02:46:12 PM »
I wonder how expensive a print-on-demand type deal would cost... Probably something outrageous. Ugh this sucks.
He says that 1,000 is the absolute minimum order, and even that comes with an extra cost. I can't imagine the cost of spinning up the press for a single issue. Thousands.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Bender

Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2013, 03:01:07 PM »
Still, I find it rather surprising that a country as populated as the USA would see so little sales.

Same here.  I wonder how that applies to large web shops like Amazon who might have had a large amount of copies of a volume stashed away?

The publishers are simply going to have to face facts that the landscape for the medium has drastically changed.

This is unfortunate for me.  I buy and read very little e-published material.  I personally like to have physical books and magazines.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 03:35:34 PM by Bender »

Offline IncantatioN

  • Falconian
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 3398
  • Karma: 59
  • Gender: Male
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #30 on: April 09, 2013, 03:14:12 PM »
A 1000 run of CDs with CD-art, booklet, back inlay, jewel or plastic case, shrink-wrapped, bar-code, sticker on the top comes to around $1600.00 / $1700.00 (give and take) that also includes the cost to ship the final product within the US from the production plant/ factory to the record label. Physical retail stores sell them for $12-$15 in NYC, pre-tax. It's just an example, two completely different formats in comparison but the end product price point is roughly similar. I don't know how expensive it is to print a volume in that specific page format, bind it, color cover with a poster embedded the way it is for Berserk. Don't know if DH has to pay a licensing fee for every re-print or whether it is a one-time fee.

I personally wouldn't mind contributing a little to help them reprint those out-of-stock volumes. IF it costs $5000 for a volume at a 1000 copies, a 100 of us donates $5 each and we're set. Just thinking out loud cos that's half of what I pay for lunch every day, it's a small amount considering the larger (good) picture. Is that something this community can bring to the table and help with or it wouldn't matter because of some sort of power-play where DH is pushing for digital only, and by not re-printing, they're making a point of it to Hakusensha?
At the end of time, a moment will come when just one man remains. Then the moment will pass. Man will be gone. There will be nothing to show that we were ever here... but stardust.

Offline dasfdeas

Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #31 on: April 09, 2013, 04:46:08 PM »
I think this is a key piece of evidence against the belief that scanlations help foster growth for a series. We're seeing the fallout damage right before our eyes.

I think you are right to the extent that they don't help or benefit growth in anyway, Walter, but I still think the extent to which they hurt sales is greatly overstated.  I really believe it's more of switch in consumer tastes.  Let me give an example:  I have an 18 year old cousin who I introduced to Berserk, through the 97 series.  He enjoyed that, did not enjoy the first recent movie, and was content to leave his Berserk experience at that even though he liked it (he said something along the lines of "I'll wait for another TV series if it's good").  The simple reason is that he doesn't buy comics or manga, he doesn't even buy DVDs or Blu-Rays, he just streams video (with Hulu, Netflix and Crunchy Roll) and has the Marvel Comics app on his iPad.  I'm pretty confident he would buy a Dark Horse app as well, if it were structured more similarly to the Marvel one and had Berserk.

 I've talked to him about it a lot, and it's pretty standard with his generation (as compared to those of us who remember dial-up), they have no use for physical media and want everything centered around the media hub of their tablet.  There are only so many of us who keep enjoying Berserk (even if not anime/manga in general) after a certain age (say 25), and if the younger audience has tuned it out due to the strict adherence to print, it's not looking good for Berserk in the U.S.

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 18428
  • Karma: 631
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #32 on: April 09, 2013, 05:35:56 PM »
This is unfortunate for me.  I buy and read very little e-published material.  I personally like to have physical books and magazines.

As most of us do, but it's true that digital distribution is the way of the future. Ideally there's no reason we couldn't have both, although here the topic is more about having only one instead of none at all.

I personally wouldn't mind contributing a little to help them reprint those out-of-stock volumes. IF it costs $5000 for a volume at a 1000 copies, a 100 of us donates $5 each and we're set.

100 x 5 = 500, not 5000. And if we're going to fund a printing of Berserk I'd rather make my own edition and, for once, do it justice.

I think you are right to the extent that they don't help or benefit growth in anyway, Walter, but I still think the extent to which they hurt sales is greatly overstated.  I really believe it's more of switch in consumer tastes.

Greatly overstated? Get real. An average Berserk volume barely sells over 100 copies a year according to Dark Horse. In the same time period the entire series is obtained online illegally tens of thousands of times at the very least (Don't believe me? Go look at any torrent tracker stats). So please spare me this bullshit. If even a fraction of those guys bought the series the current situation with DH would be vastly different. And that's what the main issue is for those people: having to pay for it. Not that it's Print vs Digital. It was already like that 10 years ago.

Offline Tama

  • Falconian
  • Of the Interstice
  • *****
  • Posts: 238
  • Karma: 33
  • Gender: Female
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #33 on: April 09, 2013, 05:54:59 PM »
It's always makes me steamed when I meet new people that don't purchase official merchandise to help support what they love. I know I'm just preaching to the choir but the few times I was able to go to some anime conventions I was shocked at how many people I've met who told me they just torrent all video and manga scans. :( I guess I'm in the minority.

Offline IncantatioN

  • Falconian
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 3398
  • Karma: 59
  • Gender: Male
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2013, 06:17:52 PM »
Oops, my train of thought was quicker than what I wanted to say, sorry about that miscalculation. Was doing the math at $5 and then $10, then $15 in my head and made the post, what a mess. My apologies.

Agree with what you say in the end, Aazealh. A similar situation is in place for music. In support of physical format, vinyl is making a come back and I hope a similar wave hits the book/ manga industry.

And if we're going to fund a printing of Berserk I'd rather make my own edition and, for once, do it justice.

How would one go about this? Sounds bloody exciting when you think about it. I would love to read a version where there are no errors in dialog (only thanks to the forum that I even knew of bad translations, something a new fan wouldn't have access to) and possibly have it in larger page format sort of like a dream version. I'm sorry I digress from the main issue, please feel free to edit the post.

In the alternate that it isn't possible, I'd be open to the idea of helping (like if there was a Donate section just for Berserk) DH re-print those OOP volumes for the sake of a new fan.
At the end of time, a moment will come when just one man remains. Then the moment will pass. Man will be gone. There will be nothing to show that we were ever here... but stardust.

Offline Walter

  • 賢者
  • Administrator
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 15898
  • Karma: 475
  • Gender: Male
  • Chapter ≠ Episode
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2013, 06:23:42 PM »
Walter, but I still think the extent to which they hurt sales is greatly overstated. 
Aaz speaks for me on this subject. It's something we've discussed dozens of times over the years, and addressed it on the podcast a few times as well. Pirates have critically damaged this industry, all in the name of spreading the name of the series far and wide. Even if you approach that concept as an idealist, the trouble with that mindset is that it laid the infrastructure to completely invalidate acquiring the series legitimately, for all but the biggest fans.

It's quite simple, really. Pirates have made obtaining things illegally infinitely more convenient than the legitimate method, and it's free. So, why should you bother to order a real copy? Why bother to support the author of a series you love?

"Somebody else will take care of that."
"I would buy them, but I already have them all on my hard drive ."
"Hey back off, I bought the first three, and I'll get around to buying the others eventually. But for now I have the scanlations."


And on, and on the excuses go.

Quote
I really believe it's more of switch in consumer tastes.
I think that's a pretty ignorant belief, in the face of all the evidence we have. There's clearly something more sinister going on here to tarnish the market than mere superfluous preference. If preference were the biggest roadblock to someone not buying the series, then I guess they weren't really all that interested to begin with. I'd buy Berserk if it were on stone tablets.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 18428
  • Karma: 631
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2013, 06:31:05 PM »
How would one go about this? Sounds bloody exciting when you think about it. I would love to read a version where there are no errors in dialog (only thanks to the forum that I even knew of bad translations, something a new fan wouldn't have access to) and possibly have it in larger page format sort of like a dream version.

It would necessitate a lot of money (and a lot of work), so at the moment it's a waste of time to even talk about it. One can dream, though.

Offline ApostleBob

  • Inhuman Cinephile
  • Falconian
  • Of the Nexus
  • *****
  • Posts: 526
  • Karma: 60
  • Gender: Male
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2013, 07:46:43 PM »
A sale figure of 80 to 170 copies per volume annually for the entire United States is just embarrassing.  I know there are more way more fans stateside than this.  Apparently most are entitled to receive Miura's life's work at no expense.  And that's not a judgement.  These figures show it as a fact.  Didn't realize the scanlation problem impacted the market this significantly.

This must make the English speaking market a tiny percentage of the 32 million volumes sold statistic I've heard about the series.  I'm really pretty mad because it makes it appear as if my market couldn't care less about the series.   :mozgus:

Offline Walter

  • 賢者
  • Administrator
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 15898
  • Karma: 475
  • Gender: Male
  • Chapter ≠ Episode
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2013, 07:48:49 PM »
A sale figure of 80 to 170 copies per volume annually for the entire United States is just embarrassing.  I know there are more way more fans stateside than this.  Apparently most are entitled to receive Miura's life's work at no expense.  And that's not a judgement.  These figures show it as a fact. 
Keep in mind, the number was referenced for the middle volumes, as in, not the first few volumes that newer fans might pick up, and not the newer volumes that people buy as they come out.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline ApostleBob

  • Inhuman Cinephile
  • Falconian
  • Of the Nexus
  • *****
  • Posts: 526
  • Karma: 60
  • Gender: Male
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2013, 08:47:18 PM »
Keep in mind, the number was referenced for the middle volumes, as in, not the first few volumes that newer fans might pick up, and not the newer volumes that people buy as they come out.

No I get that.  I never meant to imply that I thought that all volumes were selling so poorly, but I see how that came off.  It makes sense that there's a dip in the middle.  The established fan base that already has the back volumes are still buying new ones and obviously not concerned with the older volumes that they already own.  The early volumes still having steady pick-up might just be newcomers who give it a shot and lose interest, or else those who start with paper and move on to scans when faced with the investment of a 36+ volume investment. 

But the amount of drop off for the middle volumes is just staggering.

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 18428
  • Karma: 631
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #40 on: April 09, 2013, 09:00:47 PM »
This must make the English speaking market a tiny percentage of the 32 million volumes sold statistic I've heard about the series.

See this post for reference.


Announcement date            Volumes released                Amount sold in Japan                Amount sold internationally
March 29, 199916 volumes available10 million volumes sold
February 11, 200527 volumes available20 million volumes sold
January 13, 200629 volumes available21 million volumes sold
April 28, 200630 volumes available21.5 million volumes sold
June 08, 200630 volumes available21.5 million volumes sold4 million volumes sold
March 28, 200832 volumes available23 million volumes sold4 million volumes sold
June 25, 201034 volumes available24 million volumes sold7 million volumes sold
March 28, 201336 volumes available25 million volumes sold8.5 million volumes sold


The international sales are pretty sizable all things considered, but Dark Horse sales apparently don't contribute to that number all that much. For reference, in 2005 Dark Horse was advertising that the first five volumes had sold over 100,000 copies. Then in 2009, they advertised "over half a million copies of Berserk" sold, and "over 100,000 books sold in this year alone". So it seems that unless they lied at some point (either in responding to Walter or in their original bragging), which is unlikely, the momentum has somehow died since then. What's for sure is that they still currently indicate "Over 500,000 copies of Berserk in print", which does appear to confirm that the sales rate has slowed down. I wonder how many of each new volume they print...

Offline dasfdeas

Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2013, 07:01:38 AM »
Just to clarify, I would like to say that I don't support piracy and have purchased each of the U.S. volumes.  Having said that, I took a look at a not to be named torrent site and was quite surprised by the results.  I do see your point, but I just don't know that going forward you are going to see the print comic/manga market in the U.S. survive even if piracy is tackled in a meaningful way, because I don't think that it's a 1 to 1 of one illegal download equaling a lost sale.  Maybe with older, established series there will continue to be a market, but I just don't know that there is a willingness to pay for any form of a physical media among teenagers right now who will make up the vast majority of comic/manga buyers going forward. 

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 18428
  • Karma: 631
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2013, 08:34:20 AM »
I do see your point, but I just don't know that going forward you are going to see the print comic/manga market in the U.S. survive even if piracy is tackled in a meaningful way, because I don't think that it's a 1 to 1 of one illegal download equaling a lost sale.

It's never going to be a 1:1 ratio, but as I already said even if it was a 100:1 ratio it'd be enough to make a difference. That's the bottom line here.

As for the Print vs Digital market issue, that's another topic altogether (and the two really shouldn't be conflated). Legal digital versions will not be bought as long as illegal free ones are readily available. That's the truth of it. There's no question that piracy is a serious issue and that fighting it would make a difference.

Offline Lithrael

  • Of the Nexus
  • ***
  • Posts: 864
  • Karma: 87
  • Gender: Female
  • Remember, always hold your apple tight
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #43 on: April 10, 2013, 01:33:20 PM »
It's never going to be a 1:1 ratio, but as I already said even if it was a 100:1 ratio it'd be enough to make a difference. That's the bottom line here.

I don't mean to downplay piracy's negative impact but I'm always astounded how many kids download stuff that they never, ever even look at.  I'd think a more reliable indicator would be how many page hits those 'read manga online' sites get.  

As for the Print vs Digital market issue, that's another topic altogether (and the two really shouldn't be conflated). Legal digital versions will not be bought as long as illegal free ones are readily available. That's the truth of it.

On the other hand, legal digital versions will not be bought as long as they don't exist.  They also will not be bought as long as the price is analogous to physical media.  I'd consider myself a typical case and I turn to legit sites for most of my entertainment purposes now because the stuff I want is increasingly available on demand for a decent price, even though I have easy access to pirated content.  

eta: I do think we're approaching the point where this stuff is working as intended, and now we just need to shift the attitudes in the customer base.  "Don't pirate that, get a ride to the store and pay $25 for it if they have it" was a hard sell, "Don't pirate that, it's $1.95 on Amazon on demand you dick" IMO should have a lot more traction.  Once every-damn-thing is online we can call it the new normal.

There's no question that piracy is a serious issue and that fighting it would make a difference.

True, true.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 01:57:14 PM by Lithrael »

Offline IncantatioN

  • Falconian
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 3398
  • Karma: 59
  • Gender: Male
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #44 on: April 10, 2013, 01:44:02 PM »
That's an excellent statistic Aazealh, thanks for it and it's pretty good to see an increase in sales figures, slow and steady but constant given the release schedule (frustrating to some) or the online piracy situation.

Do you have similar figures for volumes 35 and 36? I saw volume 37 hit the number 2 spot when it came out (according to MAL).
At the end of time, a moment will come when just one man remains. Then the moment will pass. Man will be gone. There will be nothing to show that we were ever here... but stardust.

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 18428
  • Karma: 631
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #45 on: April 10, 2013, 02:24:49 PM »
I don't mean to downplay piracy's negative impact but I'm always astounded how many kids download stuff that they never, ever even look at.  I'd think a more reliable indicator would be how many page hits those 'read manga online' sites get.

It kind of does come across as an attempt to downplay it, but I'll agree that some people just hoard content without ever putting it to use. Anyway, adding stats from "online readers" would easily push into the hundreds of thousands of times the series is "consumed" each year, and that's being conservative.

On the other hand, legal digital versions will not be bought as long as they don't exist.  They also will not be bought as long as the price is analogous to physical media.

Like I said, it's another issue altogether. Since no one here's saying a proper digital offer shouldn't exist (quite the contrary, in fact), I don't know why we're even talking about it.

Offline ApostleBob

  • Inhuman Cinephile
  • Falconian
  • Of the Nexus
  • *****
  • Posts: 526
  • Karma: 60
  • Gender: Male
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #46 on: April 11, 2013, 06:21:18 PM »
Where can I find a more up to date metric on how Berserk's sales record.  Aaz's statistc is great, but it's three years old now.  Does Hakusensha publish this information or is this just found nestled in with promos and such?  Both current domestic and international sales would be great to know.

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 18428
  • Karma: 631
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #47 on: April 11, 2013, 06:41:50 PM »
Where can I find a more up to date metric on how Berserk's sales record.  Aaz's statistc is great, but it's three years old now.  Does Hakusensha publish this information or is this just found nestled in with promos and such?

They regularly publish those numbers in YA when advertising.

Offline ApostleBob

  • Inhuman Cinephile
  • Falconian
  • Of the Nexus
  • *****
  • Posts: 526
  • Karma: 60
  • Gender: Male
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #48 on: April 11, 2013, 07:33:32 PM »
They regularly publish those numbers in YA when advertising.

I don't have a subscription to YA.  Any chance you can share what the most recent figures are if you have one?  Also, I can't read japanese.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 07:48:28 PM by ApostleBob »

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 18428
  • Karma: 631
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #49 on: April 11, 2013, 07:41:47 PM »
I don't have a subscription to YA.  Any chance you can share what the most recent figures are if you do?

I don't really feel like searching for them at the moment. Maybe at some other time.

EDIT: Alright, here are the latest numbers: 25 million copies sold in Japan, 8.5 million sold internationally.