Sporadic Sequential
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Beating a Dark Horse

I know I've written about this topic too much already, but I'm genuinely curious why it is that Dark Horse has such trouble meeting the schedules they set for their books. Looking over this list tracking Dark Horse's manga releases (updated 3/14/2007 as I write this), I calculate that 43% of Dark Horse's manga have come out late since December 2005. Granted, many times the delay is only a week or two, but I count 30 titles (out of 135 listed) that were late by a month or more. Why is Dark Horse unable to meet its own release dates, especially when other manga publishers seem to hit theirs like clockwork? (In fact, Viz seems to be consistently ahead of their release dates, at least for the titles I follow.)

One thought that occurred to me was that perhaps Dark Horse was experiencing delays because it was printing its books in China (as it does with 300, which has contributed to delays in getting reorders for that book into shops in a timely manner), but checking the publication info for a couple of their manga titles (Oh My Goddess, Mail, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service) it says they're all printed in Canada, and I don't think that would account for the delays. (Incidentally, all of the Viz and Tokyopop titles I checked were printed in the U.S.A.)

Does anyone else have any ideas? Is Dark Horse simply taking on too much work? Are they really, really bad at using Microsoft Project? Am I simply thinking about this way too much?

* This was all brought on by news today that Akira Club — which I had preordered through B&N and was supposed to ship today — was now listed as "Out of Stock" at B&N.com. According to ComicList, Akira Club has been re-re-re-rescheduled for release April 4th (although it's not on Diamond's list for 4/4). Plus, volume 3 of Mail, which was originally supposed to come out back in February, has apparenly gone missing entirely. It had been on Diamond's "Shipping Next Week" list last week, which means it should have come out today, but now it's not on this week's list or next week's list.

UPDATE: Almost immediately after posting this, I received an email from B&N saying that
Akira Club has been rescheduled for shipment on April 27th. So apparently B&N knows something Diamond doesn't.