So I 'm going to put in my two pennys worth. I once worked for the Border's company at a Waldenbooks. Border's has been going down this path of doom for over 7 years, they first closed all of their Waldenbooks and Border's Expresses to try to cover their losses which didn't work so they ended up filing bankruptcy at the beginning of this year and will be closing over 250 Border's nation wide. Now many will have a hay day of a debate of why thus happened, but that's not what this thread is about so I am getting to the point.
In the very first press release of Tokoyopop closing the vice-president of Tokyopop stated to ANN that it was because of the Border's bankruptcy, which in all honesty I feel is complete and total bunk. My thought is more towards the failing of Mr. Levy and him losing interest. The first clue to this is that as long as Tokyopop was going strong they had been selling their manga and merchandise on their website and amazon.com. Since that is where most people buy their things anymore, they shouldn't have such a huge "hit" against them because of the closing of Border's.
So the question is why did it falter? I feel it is because Mr. Levy lost interest, it would make it harder for him to fight and help a company that he didn't want anymore. The wise choice would have been to sell the company to some one that has the passion and ambition to help it get strong again. The other reason I think that it faltered is the poor choices that the company was guilty of, point in case would how they handled the artist, mangas and series. As a long time bookseller for Waldenbooks, I can tell you it "felt" like Tokyopop lost it's "spirit" a couple of years ago and what we are seeing now are just the spasms of the dying company.
Years ago when Tokyopop first came out they were full of ideas and passion for the anime and manga community like offering the Rising manga Artist contest and finding series people wouldn't normally look at. It was fun and exciting to see what they would do next. But after awhile they just stopped trying, they stopped contests within the artist community and a lot of their cool promotional stuff including just the popout standees that carried the manga in bookstores were no longer made. It's kinda sad but since I felt that it was happening anyways, I just wish they would let us know about their series and not let the fans down. It has felt that all of the things that they have been trying to "fix" was just another way to try to revive their economy not their fan base. Thus came out the sad promotional stunt "America's Greatest Otaku" It had a good idea at the base but instead totally missed the point and made a fool out of all involved. I feel that instead of the campy promotional stunts and letting fans down, they should have worked hard to re-establish their fans faith in them. They should have taken better care of the artist and continue series instead of letting series go and constantly promising things and falling through. That's why a lot of YenPlus' artist are former Tokyopop artist. Sveltlana Chmakova is an example of this.
It is sad to say, but farewell Tokyopop. You were good as founding father of manga in America but you no longer are here to help, but are now just a hinder. Rest in Peace and let out of your ashes grow a magnificent phoenix that will carry away your series to the hands of their loyal fans.