Marvel Comics isn't the only graphic novel publisher producing exclusive graphic novel editions for Barnes & Noble Books, the book chain's publishing imprint. Dark Horse Comics, an Oregon-based independent publisher of comics and graphic novels, is releasing several of its bestselling manga titles in hardcover editions priced lower than their original trade paperback releases—all available only at B&N.

Among the first books to be released is a B&N Books hardcover edition of Katsuhiro Otomo's apocalyptic cult classic Akira, priced at $14.95. The book's original trade paper edition, released in 2000, was priced at $24.95. B&N Books is also releasing DH's hit science fiction manga Trigun by Yashuhiro Nightow (about 50,000 copies in print) in hardcover for $11.95. It was released last year in paper for $14.95. The books have the Barnes & Noble Books imprint on the spine, with the logos of Dark Horse Manga and manga packager Digital Manga (also an indie U.S. manga publisher) displayed inside the book jacket.

A spokesperson for Barnes & Noble Books declined to answer PW's questions about its graphic novel publishing program. However, Lee Dawson, an editor at Dark Horse, told PW that the house had been approached by B&N to do the books. "It's an experiment," said Dawson. "We want to see how it goes." Dawson said that in December B&N Books will release hardcover editions of DH's TrigunVol. 2 ($11.95) and the action horror manga HellsingVol. 1 by Kohta Hirano ($9.95).