YAOI NEWS: Is Aurora Quietly Shutting Down?

Back on January 14th I shot off an email to Elisa Tung over at Aurora Publishing inquiring about their holiday sale and to see if they had planned on continuing the sale (they are). I received no response back until January 27th, which was from a different party at Aurora, a Mikako Ogata who from what my research tells me is Aurora's General Manager. She informed me Elisa was no longer with Aurora but gave no reason why. Something about the email made me think it was initially coming from their Japan office so I started to wonder about their US office. I decided to do some investigating and tried to call their phone and fax number as listed on their website only to find out both have been disconnected. I then shot off an email back to Mikako and she informed me that the office was not closed but that they "can’t really publish new titles for a while due to the very severe economy". She went on to say if they do publish a new title they "will announce it on [their] websites as well as [their] newletter". Now if you remember correctly, their December newsletter stating the following:

Sorry Guys! Nothing yet! But there will be something soon! Shhh! It's gonna be "Kinky But Kind!" >.> Don't tell anyone I told you…

Their recently sent January newsletter had no updates, which leads me to believe we won't be seeing Kinky But Kind any time soon.

To add to my speculation, it has now been announced that they are having a liquidation sale in Los Angeles with prices at nearly 90% off retail. For more details, check out Deb Aoki's writeup over at About.com: Manga that has all the details and a recap of Deux's sales over the last year.

On the other hand, Deux's website was updated to advertise the Valentine's Day sale of their sister imprint, LuvLuv but they also gave this Deux title update:

Don’t forget that we’re still running our special Aurora & Deux sales (see our "Holiday Deals" below). For our special Deux sale, Mister Mistress Volume 2 is completely sold out. But, Maid in Heaven is now back in stock!!

While discussing this whole situation with Deb Aoki she made a good point by questioning why they would do a reprint on Maid in Heaven. If they were truly liquidating and closing up shop, why spend money on an out of print title?

So what does this all mean? Was Elisa laid-off in preparation of shutting down the office or did she simply leave the company? Are the phones disconnected as a way to save money during these lean times or is this just another step towards shutting down the office altogether? Is this major sale with slashed prices a way to liquidate their remaining stock to offset their losses or just a way to build up some capital to keep publishing? Honestly, I don't know. All I do know is what Aurora tells me and that is what we all already know, they aren't publishing right now and by the looks of it, they won't be for awhile.

What can we do to help? They're still holding their holiday sale and you're not going to find prices much cheaper than these unless you can make it to the sale in L.A. My suggestion is to purchase whatever you don't already have and hope for the best. Worst case, you walk away with some cheap yaoi before it goes out of print and best case we infuse them with enough capital that they are able to hold on to publish again in the future.

What are your thoughts? Discussion is encouraged here on the site so please comment, even if it's just your well wishes.

~Jennifer LeBlanc

24 Comments

  • I had been wondering the same since I pre-ordered a number of their new titles from Amazon, only to have each order cancelled. Once the sale was announced, I filled in the few gaps I had in titles.

    I hope they are not closing. I was really look forward to the releases that had been announced and finishing off a couple of the series that I was enjoying reading.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer LeBlanc AKA Asami's Girl Reply:

    I know the feeling. They were supposed to publish three volumes of Kirepapa and we only got one. I was really looking forward to that one.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Mari Reply:

    I was waiting for those, along with the next 2 in line of the Naduki Koujima’s series. Believe there might have been a few others. Lately though it seems I am receiving more cancellation notices that the books. :/

    [Reply to this comment]

    Cait Reply:

    I was the most looking forward to Portrait in Blue and getting the first Ike Reibun release in English. Not to mention the hope for more Kano Miyamoto licenses. Now we can only hope a more stable BL publisher like DMP or Media Blasters will be able to rescue some of these licenses and/or take up some of these authors.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Mari Reply:

    I had ordered those also. :/ Over the past several months most of the mangas/novels ordered were delayed or cancelled. Now have everything that Deux did put out though, but wasn’t missing that much. Believe the only Ike Reibun stuff I have is in Japanese. I hope that things work out for the book companies. Otherwise will need to learn how to read Japanese I guess.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Cait Reply:

    I imported Aoiro Keiyaku (A Portrait in Blue) and have read the scanlations. I just wanted to have the English volume in my hands. Maybe it’s a pipedream now, or maybe someone else will rescue it. Either way, I should probably get cracking on those Japanese language books myself…

    [Reply to this comment]

  • If you want to know where the email is from, look at the full message header. I’ve emailed Mikako recently (in December) and received replies and she’s writing out of Torrance California. where Deux/Aurora’s US office is located.

    I hope everyone buys their books. They really do some great stories that deserve support.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer LeBlanc AKA Asami's Girl Reply:

    I don’t know what you mean by “full message header”. Parts of my email had Japanese text, which is why I questioned it in the first place. I didn’t email her the first time. My email was forwarded to her via Elisa’s email account, which I think caused the change in the email text.

    [Reply to this comment]

    sunflower Reply:

    Email has a much larger header than what you normally see (from, to, subject) when you look at it. If you use an email program like Outlook or Thunderbird, they have options to show you the full header or source, which tells you the path the email took from the sender to you, in IP addresses. ARIN website, among others, lets you enter the IPs and gives you their location, since ranges of IPs are assigned to particular places. It’s how tracking programs know the location of a person visiting your website, etc.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Man, don’t tell me they are pulling another Drama Queen. If they are going to close, at least let us know instead of stringing us along like DQ did!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer LeBlanc AKA Asami's Girl Reply:

    I don’t think they’ll ever be as bad as DQ. DQ took peoples’ money without giving them the product they paid for and then made a ton of promises they couldn’t keep. Deux has been as upfront as they can be by simply saying they can’t publish right now. I’d rather they stay in limbo than close. If staying in limbo until the economic climate turns means they can some day publish again, I’m fine with that. :-)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • I’ve been afraid they were closing for quite some time, with the lack of releases and the sacrifice sales, as Deb calls them. I hope it’s not the case, as I’d love to see the remaining volumes of Kirepapa and Noodle Shop Affair. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for them. They still have their titles up at Netcomics for rent by the chapter, don’t they?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer LeBlanc AKA Asami's Girl Reply:

    I just checked and they’re still up. I don’t imagine even if they did close they would take them down. It would only be the U.S. office closing and not the Japan office that could still take the profits.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Damn. According to Amazon’s preorders, hey were due to release “Can’t Even Breathe Without You” by Yamimaru Enjin. I really doubt that’s happening now…
    I really wanted the other volumes of “Noodle Shop Affair” too.
    (T__T)

    But it’s really sad to know Elisa’s gone from Aurora. Hope we hear more news soon.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • I have strong reasons to be positive about the future of Aurora/Deux right now. Aurora has a passionate and resourceful yaoi-fan publisher at the helm (my buddy Mika). I catch encouraging rumblings now and then via Facebook. I would be surprised if there wasn’t a new release this summer.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer LeBlanc AKA Asami's Girl Reply:

    That’s good to hear. Like I said above, I’d rather they sit dormant until they are able to publish again than to quit altogether and close up shop. They’ve got some good titles and good mangaka they publish and I’d like to see more as I’m sure everybody would. :-)

    I’m happy to hear things are going well for Yaoi Prose. I may be sending you a few questions specifically about Yaoi Prose if you don’t mind. TOTALLY not an interview or anything. o_o

    ^_^

    [Reply to this comment]

  • [...] Aurora is having a big sale, but Deb Aoki wonders if this is a sign of hard times for the publisher. The Yaoi Review has more. [...]

  • I tried to order from them in December and never got an invoice :/ May try again even though I don’t have the money right now nor the space for more manga lol.
    Would be nice if they can make a come back this year :(

    [Reply to this comment]

  • It looks to me like they are doing everything but giving up. It wouldn’t make sense to hold out for this long if they were planning to close up shop. Although it does seem like they are unsure of their future. Sometimes, publishing is like gambling, and now is not the time to make bets. So it would be wise of them to lay low until they can come back strong.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • [...] list can still be viewed on their Blow Out Sale page.  Some blog/news sites like Kuri-osity and the Yaoi Review have speculated that this is another sign that Aurora is going out of [...]

  • its been awhile i have been waiting on kinky but kind for awhile now i do hope they get back on june manga are doing well i do hope they help out, and i hope they dont just do kindle.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • this might help now i have some info please hope you get this http://mangafactory.net/

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer LeBlanc AKA Asami's Girl Reply:

    Manga Factory was started by some of the old Aurora people but they did not take over Aurora/Deux or any of their licenses. They bought some of their old stock to sell but that’s it.

    [Reply to this comment]

    mb Reply:

    thanks for getting back i will make sure to ask them what can happen im sure i hope at least they can get one incomplete ones out.

    also please sign this and comment. lol

    http://www.petitiononline.com/LEanime/petition.html

    [Reply to this comment]

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