Sporadic Sequential
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
"It the cooliest of the coolio cows."

I stopped at a Barnes & Noble this weekend and right up front was a big display for Barnes & Noble exclusive manga. There were four titles showcased, three of which were gigantic three-volumes-in-one omnibuses of Negima, xxxHolic, and Tsubasa. (The fourth book was a hardcover edition of Q-Ko Chan, which seems like an odd candidate for the deluxe format treatment.) I don't remember reading anything in the blogosphere about these exclusive repackagings, but the publication date for all of these books is listed as March 2007 so I'm assuming they've been out for a couple months. The most impressive thing about these books is the price -- the three omnibus volumes are all $12.95 apiece, only two bucks more than the individual volumes. And that's for over 600 pages of material! Granted, I have no idea if these books are any good (the online reviews for all three series are overwhelmingly positive, but raves like "Negima is my favorite. I am the biggest fan. I love it so much. It is funny and has action and romance at the sane time. It the cooliest of the coolio cows" make me question the reviewer's objectivity), but I'm tempted to buy them all just for the sheer novelty of having such thick manga books on my bookcase. Are any of these series particularly good?

UPDATE: Sharp-eyed Dirk Deppey noticed that all of these manga exclusives were for books from Del Rey, and he also guesses that these omnibus editions are being offered so cheaply as a way to entice new readers to try out long-running series. (Negima is up to volume 14; xxxHolic is at volume 8; and Tsubasa is up to 12 volumes.) It's a smart idea, and one I'd love to see other publishers with long-running series try. I wonder if Viz would ever try anything like this to bring in even more readers for Naruto and Bleach? I also wonder who will be the next manga publisher to put out exclusive editions though Barnes & Noble. (Earlier Dark Horse partnered with B&N to release hardcovers of Akira, Hellsing, and Trigun, but those have all since gone out of print.)