Author Topic: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP  (Read 33429 times)

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Offline ApostleBob

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #50 on: April 12, 2013, 03:36:29 AM »
I don't really feel like searching for them at the moment. Maybe at some other time.

Well if you get a chance, it would be appreciated.  I'm curious if the new films have influenced sales.  Thanks in advance Aazealh.

EDIT:  Thanks for the research Aaz
« Last Edit: April 13, 2013, 03:40:04 AM by ApostleBob »

Offline Akebobo

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #51 on: April 12, 2013, 01:38:20 PM »
Well, crap.  I had all the Japanese volumes up to 32, but didn't bother with a full library of DH releases, just a few here and there.  After reading this thread I bought up all the missing volumes amazon still had available but I'm still shy 15 books from a full run.
I honestly believe the release schedule is what hurts Berserk most.  We here understand (for the most part) the necessity for the lengthening release cycle as the art has become increasingly complex, but for more casual fans it's difficult to stay invested when you have to wait so long for the next piece.  I fell away from fandom for a long while, really until the release of the first movie kind of rekindled my interest, and from there I've really come to appreciate the manga far more than I ever did before.
I've scrambled to catch up in the merch department, buying up AOW stuff when I can (super big thanks to Nirvana and IncantatioN) but the prospect of paying $30-40 each for out of print volumes... ouch!

Offline Aazealh

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #52 on: April 12, 2013, 01:43:34 PM »
I honestly believe the release schedule is what hurts Berserk most.  We here understand (for the most part) the necessity for the lengthening release cycle as the art has become increasingly complex, but for more casual fans it's difficult to stay invested when you have to wait so long for the next piece.

Keep in mind though that for someone only reading the volumes, the release cycle isn't all that different from what it was. It's once a year now, was twice a year before. If someone's willing to wait 6 months to read what's next, I think they can wait a year as well. Now of course, coming from DH's hastened schedule of one volume every 3 months that's a bigger gap, but that was always going to end once the US releases caught up with the Japanese ones.

I've scrambled to catch up in the merch department, buying up AOW stuff when I can (super big thanks to Nirvana and IncantatioN) but the prospect of paying $30-40 each for out of print volumes... ouch!

Maybe you should have bought the volumes first before purchasing merch that costs several hundred bucks a piece?

Offline Akebobo

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #53 on: April 12, 2013, 02:47:22 PM »
I didn't realize there would be a shortage, so it didn't seem priority.  Now my heart is filled with regret, and sorrows fill my empty wallet.

Offline Hanma_Baki

Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #54 on: April 12, 2013, 05:25:06 PM »
Wow, great thread, thanks to everyone discussing.

One of the guys I was talking about in the "Initiating other people to the series" thread recently contacted me and finally wanted me to introduce him to the manga after I told him the third movie´ll probably take a while before getting released and whatnot... And as a pure reaction I was thinking of giving him scans... :magni:
Luckily I read this thread before meeting him. But Im def sure he wont buy it himself (not to mention that there apparently arent that many available) so I´ll probably lend him my copies... (Of which some still got the plastic wrap on since I re-newed the collection some year ago, and I havent gotten around to read 'em yet, but boy! Am I glad I did it back then when they were still available :troll: )

Seriously, I feel so sorry for new fans who really want to buy it, hell, I´d go crazeh! (or even more anyway)


Someone speculated the re-print issue also might be a strategy from DH in order to "open up" Hakusensha´s eyes (or thats how I interpreted it anyway) to a new contract regarding e-book format releases, but I dont believe it got any response. Anyone else have any thoughts on that? Officially that Randy guy would never address anything about that of course but... I think it sounds reasonable, but according to the international sales figures on that table Aaz posted (excluding the US) Im afraid Hakusensha wont be intimidated :void:
« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 06:57:34 PM by Hanma_Baki »

Offline Rhombaad

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #55 on: April 12, 2013, 06:25:33 PM »
I've scrambled to catch up in the merch department, buying up AOW stuff when I can (super big thanks to Nirvana and IncantatioN) but the prospect of paying $30-40 each for out of print volumes... ouch!

Please. I paid almost $70.00 for an out-of-print copy of Vagabond volume 16. Where's your dedication?! :daiba:

:troll:

Offline Aazealh

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #56 on: April 12, 2013, 08:33:44 PM »
Someone speculated the re-print issue also might be a strategy from DH in order to "open up" Hakusensha“s eyes (or thats how I interpreted it anyway) to a new contract regarding e-book format releases, but I dont believe it got any response. Anyone else have any thoughts on that? Officially that Randy guy would never address anything about that of course but... I think it sounds reasonable, but according to the international sales figures on that table Aaz posted (excluding the US) Im afraid Hakusensha wont be intimidated

Honestly I doubt Dark Horse would try to pull off any weird scheme like that (and from what they've told us in the past, they definitely have no way to put any pressure on Hakusensha at all). That Randy guy's explanation was perfectly logical from a business perspective and so I think it's most likely the plain truth.

It also fits their official numbers to a large extent: if you consider that the first 5 volumes sold around 100,000 copies, well that's ~20,000 buyers. Multiply that number of buyers by 36 (the amount of volumes out) and it's "just" 720,000 copies sold. Now if you consider that not all of the buyers bought each and every issue (which we can be sure of), that number can quickly go down. The "over 500,000" line appeared for the release of volume 31, meaning the number was breached with volume 30. That's 100,000 copies less than if we had stuck with the original 20,000 buyers figure. Which is actually a pretty honest retention rate over 30 volumes if you ask me. A testament to Berserk's quality.

Anyway, taking that loss of buyers into account, with 6 additional volumes the current sales numbers are likely close to 600,000 copies, but have probably not passed it yet. And it's not enough of a landmark that they'd necessarily advertize it anyway, preferring to stick to the "over half a million copies sold" line until they'd pass 750,000 copies for example.

Now, with all that being said, it's still rather short-sighted on DH's part to not be reprinting the volumes while there's a big media push for Berserk (related to the movies' release). No one's going to start buying a series when two thirds of its volumes are out of stock with no indication of when they'll be stocked again, so it's a vicious circle they'll never come out of. And for a company as big as theirs, I'm surprised that printing these volumes would be that big of a deal, but then again I don't know about their current financial health.

What's sure is that out of all the potential buyers of an English version (beyond the USA there's Canada, the UK, Australia, etc. plus a lot of overlooked countries without a local language option that would rely on it), 20,000 buyers really isn't much at all. Berserk can most definitely sell better than that.

Offline Hanma_Baki

Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #57 on: April 14, 2013, 10:12:46 AM »
Ah yeah, I guess I never whole-heartedly believed it myself, just got the feeling the notion got a bit taboo labeled since nobody adress it and I got suspicious :iva:

Anyway, as always, thanks for elaborating.

Offline ApostleBob

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #58 on: April 14, 2013, 10:45:09 PM »
It also fits their official numbers to a large extent: if you consider that the first 5 volumes sold around 100,000 copies, well that's ~20,000 buyers. Multiply that number of buyers by 36 (the amount of volumes out) and it's "just" 720,000 copies sold. Now if you consider that not all of the buyers bought each and every issue (which we can be sure of), that number can quickly go down. The "over 500,000" line appeared for the release of volume 31, meaning the number was breached with volume 30. That's 100,000 copies less than if we had stuck with the original 20,000 buyers figure. Which is actually a pretty honest retention rate over 30 volumes if you ask me. A testament to Berserk's quality.

Anyway, taking that loss of buyers into account, with 6 additional volumes the current sales numbers are likely close to 600,000 copies, but have probably not passed it yet. And it's not enough of a landmark that they'd necessarily advertize it anyway, preferring to stick to the "over half a million copies sold" line until they'd pass 750,000 copies for example.

...

What's sure is that out of all the potential buyers of an English version (beyond the USA there's Canada, the UK, Australia, etc. plus a lot of overlooked countries without a local language option that would rely on it), 20,000 buyers really isn't much at all. Berserk can most definitely sell better than that.

Thanks for this breakdown Aazealh.  It's hard to believe that the average number of paying Berserk fans in the English market is around 20,000 but the math looks sound.

Offline dasfdeas

Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #59 on: April 15, 2013, 05:36:02 AM »
I don't want to keep de-railing this thread, but I would like to address some of the issues involved and in particular Dark Horse's financial status, that Aazealh alluded to.  I don't want to badmouth Dark Horse anyway as I am a fan of their work and a customer, but the facts are the facts and in the end talking about them on a forum probably won't concern them too much.

I have a friend who works for a major comics distributor (you can probably guess which one, there's really only one left) and I've discussed this with him at length.  All of the comic/manga publishers are hurting right now, but Dark Horse is in a very bad position as compared to Marvel, DC and even Image.  

Here's the reason: the comics are now being seen, going forward, as the means by which to sell apps, licenses for action figures (or in Image's case, MacFarlane toys directly) and movies/tv shows. Dark Horse got into the app game late, and their app is devoid of titles and very highly priced per issue. On top of that, they own very few marquee series (i.e. they don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Star Wars). The bulk of their income comes from printed comics/manga so the Marvel business model just doesn't work for them. Plus, they mainly print traditional comics, as they don't have a giant back catalogue to print large TPBs and hardcover books with (whereas Marvel has been making a ton of money on their X-Men and Spider Man reprints). So not only do they rely on publishing almost exclusively, but they don't have the titles/rights to create the one thing people ARE buying, TPBs and hardcovers. For example, Marvel just keeps reprinting Phoenix Saga, Age of Apocalypse and Days of Future Past TPBs with no print run end in sight.

Just to make sure I'm clear here, I like Dark Horse a lot. I've been buying their comics since the early 90's, and have great memories of them. But they are not well poised to adapt to the changing marketplace, and keeping Berserk in print is probably at the low end of their priorities. Even my friend, who works on the distribution side of the comics industry, is looking for a new job because his probably won't exist anymore in 10 years as comic shops, bookstores and newsstands are on life support. If you really read the comments that were made on the Dark Horse forum, that response comes across as very frustrated to say the least. The best we can do is get people to buy the new volumes, but beyond that it's just not a good time to be a printed manga fan in the U.S.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #60 on: April 15, 2013, 08:28:36 AM »
Thanks TelegramSam, that's an interesting perspective, though I can't say I'm surprised by what you're saying. That being said, I think the manga market should probably be considered a bit differently than the traditional US comic book one. Not to mention that classic Marvel & DC series are always going to be more of a hit than foreign series in the USA.

It's hard to believe that the average number of paying Berserk fans in the English market is around 20,000 but the math looks sound.

It's less than that nowadays if we factor in a slow erosion of sales like what I speculated in the previous post. There's no way to know the exact model of course (especially since we don't have the actual total number of volumes sold), but I doubt there's more than 15,000 "active" fans currently purchasing the volumes.

Offline Groovy Metal Fist

Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #61 on: April 17, 2013, 02:47:59 AM »
Even if you didn't consider the morality of it, relying on scans for Berserk still would be a terrible idea. Well that is unless you like listening to Guts call Ganishka faggot ass or apostles making Austin Powers references. Don't subject yourself to that awful dialogue.

Offline ApostleBob

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #62 on: April 17, 2013, 03:47:56 AM »
Even if you didn't consider the morality of it, relying on scans for Berserk still would be a terrible idea. Well that is unless you like listening to Guts call Ganishka faggot ass or apostles making Austin Powers references. Don't subject yourself to that awful dialogue.

Agreed, but it means we'll need to rely on sites like this more than ever to receive accurate translations.  I really hope Dark Horse is able to continue to publish volumes until the end of the series.

Offline JezzaX

Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #63 on: April 18, 2013, 06:03:39 PM »
I'm a bit baffled as to why now, of all times, DH has decided to not encourage more prints of Berserk manga. Whilst many of us agree that the new films are a very poor representation of the manga, it has increased awareness of Berserk to a new generation of anime lovers, that are likely very curious to it's origin and in turn could promote more manga sales.

Although, I do think that DH has been on the side of caution when choosing the amount they send to print with each volume anyway. I didn't start buying all the English volumes until a few years back, when DH had nearly caught up to the Japanese releases and then I decided to buy 3 volumes  every month until I had the entire collection, which in itself proved to be a challenge, especially with volume 15. Now, whilst I'm not proud of what I did, it became infuriating not being able to find volume 15 for several months, so much so that I bought volume 16 and had to settle for a horrible scanlation to fill the gap, as I wasn't sure if I would ever find a copy, or at least a copy that didn't cost in excess of £60. Now, when you think about this lack of access to the public collectors who impulse buy out on the high street, Dark Horse have very much been their own downfall.

I don't know what it has been like in the US, but I visit book stores regularly to look at their latest manga releases, and over the years I have usually seen Naruto, Bleach and Deathnote lining the shelves with only a few other random mangas scattered amongst their designated section. In that time I have usually seen only a couple of selected volumes of Berserk and even in the biggest manga store in London (Forbidden Planet) Berserk has been very scarce, apart from when a new volume is released. Which has really infuriated me over the years, since there's little draw for anyone to pick up the series and give it a glance, since it doesn't have much presence wherever you go.

Whilst I love having a solid copy of Berserk in my hand and I'm very proud to look up to my collection, I can't deny that digital copies would hold a great benefit. Distribution would cost less, translation mistakes are easily corrected ( :slan:), all volumes can be read anywhere without the need of damaging the books and depending on the screen you're using, the quality of Miura's artwork could be perfectly shown off, heck, I'll gladly buy every volume again in digital format to just for the higher level of quality. I just hope that DH can really talk sense into Hakusensha to get the digital rights, otherwise international sales are just going to continue to drop, which from a fans perspective is a really horrible thing to see  :judo:.

Offline Walter

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #64 on: April 18, 2013, 08:19:45 PM »
Whilst I love having a solid copy of Berserk in my hand and I'm very proud to look up to my collection, I can't deny that digital copies would hold a great benefit. Distribution would cost less, translation mistakes are easily corrected ( :slan:), all volumes can be read anywhere without the need of damaging the books and depending on the screen you're using, the quality of Miura's artwork could be perfectly shown off, heck, I'll gladly buy every volume again in digital format to just for the higher level of quality.
All that being said, scans will never do the visuals justice. Either they're not formatted for the screen properly, so you can't see everything at once, or it's improperly cropped or stretched to fit your screen.

There's nothing quite like reading the series with the ability to see the whole page as it was meant to be presented. I've always felt that scans aren't an authoritative way to read Berserk. I never feel I've truly seen it the way it was intended until I see it in the printed form. And yes, I know that makes me sound like a snob.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Tama

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #65 on: April 18, 2013, 08:54:29 PM »
I think I'm in the minority these days when I say that I love reading the physical copies of manga graphic novels as well. I have tried reading some on the Ipad and nook a few times, but the scans come out horrible, or at least the ones I got. I agree that for someone that doesn't have a lot of room or is in college it's a great idea to have everything in one unit, but there is something I feel that is lost when you don't hold the real thing in your hands.

Offline Gobolatula

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #66 on: April 18, 2013, 11:28:16 PM »
I wonder if piracy is affecting manga / anime sales in Japan the same way it is here. Obviously they're going to keep publishing Berserk over there, but I still wonder.

To be honest, the e-reader thing is a good solution domestically, but it still won't stop piracy, even if there's simultaneous Berserk episode releases (which would be fucking cool).

I say the best solution is to give Berserk away for free all over the world, but now instead of the story being what it is, the whole thing is about Guts constantly eating McDonalds and Puck is replaced by a flying Coke can.

Offline Walter

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #67 on: April 19, 2013, 12:48:55 AM »
To be honest, the e-reader thing is a good solution domestically, but it still won't stop piracy, even if there's simultaneous Berserk episode releases (which would be fucking cool).
There will always be piracy. I don't even think anyone here's been suggested plans to curtail it. There will always be people who choose to steal. So be it.

But if the publishers give readers the option to pay for a legitimate digital download of the volumes or episodes, many would take it. Right now, that choice doesn't exist. It's print or nothing. And in some cases, free or nothing. And with the industry in the state that it's in, that's a death sentence of a policy.
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Offline Aazealh

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #68 on: April 19, 2013, 07:20:34 AM »
I wonder if piracy is affecting manga / anime sales in Japan the same way it is here.

It definitely is.

Offline JezzaX

Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #69 on: April 19, 2013, 11:22:21 AM »
It definitely is.

Whilst I have no doubt that piracy is a problem everywhere in the world, I wouldn't expect it to be as bad in Japan, due to accessibility. Many people who download scanlations do so because A) It's not easily accessible from a local vendor and B) Because they're impatient to wait for translations. If easily accessible official translations are available from the moment the episodes are first published, I wouldn't expect as many people to scour the web to download them. I'm not saying people wouldn't still do it, but I think it could contribute to some degree.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #70 on: April 19, 2013, 11:54:55 AM »
If easily accessible official translations are available from the moment the episodes are first published, I wouldn't expect as many people to scour the web to download them. I'm not saying people wouldn't still do it, but I think it could contribute to some degree.

From personal experience when it comes to Berserk, let me tell you that you seriously underestimate the greed of a lot of people. Now, of course, it would contribute to some extent. I mean what world would we live in if it didn't change anything at all? But it's not like it's the main deciding factor. And it's not like an instant translation will ever be available, or will ever be fast enough. I'm not sure you're aware but Berserk episodes are usually available online a few days before Young Animal even comes out in Japan, and it's the same for most other series. "Impatience" isn't a valid excuse, and in the case of Japanese people translation isn't an issue. But piracy still occurs massively.

Having a digital version of Berserk to complement the print one would be awesome, but I guarantee you that it wouldn't solve the piracy problem at all. There would have to be an accompanying crackdown in order for things to start to move, for mindsets to change.

And besides all that, a digital version wouldn't replace a print one. I'm a huge fan of e-books over print, but like Walter said, when it comes to comic books it's a lot harder to do things properly in regard to page size and all that. Plus when you're an actual fan and not just a "consumer", you tend to want to have something to display. To me what we should strive for is for those two options to exist, not just one over the other.

Offline Metal_Bear_Rex

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #71 on: July 26, 2013, 12:09:18 AM »
Hello Guys! I made an account to reply to this thread.

I really feel the pain here. I discovered Berserk my sophomore year of high-school, and back then I relied on the scanlations to get my fix, as I had no means to actually buy the manga volumes, up until recently after I graduated and started working full time.

Well, Just a month ago I finally decided that I want to support Miura like I should and buy all the manga volumes I could afford. It dismayed me to see the price some of the volumes are going for now that they are out of print and low stock. I'm almost embarrassed so say that I've spent close to $500 just to get most of the volumes (I still have 6 volumes to go.) It's pretty ridiculous.

Tough shit though, right? I was left uneasy with the uncertainty that some of these volumes will just get harder and more expensive to get. I guess you could say I was willing to make the sacrifice for Berserk, Ho ho. :badbone:

Offline Aazealh

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #72 on: July 26, 2013, 08:31:00 AM »
Sad thing is that if you bought some of them second hand, no money actually went to the author.

Offline Metal_Bear_Rex

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #73 on: July 26, 2013, 01:01:45 PM »
This is true. I was able to get volumes 17- 27 Through Things From Another World though, so at least I know some of that money went back to Berserk.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: A lack of Berserk - Dark Horse & DMP
« Reply #74 on: July 26, 2013, 01:05:31 PM »
This is true. I was able to get volumes 17- 27 Through ThingsFromAnotherWorld though, so at least I know some of that money went back to Berserk.

Nice!

Anyway, that situation is pretty sad. People shoudn't have to struggle to buy Berserk...