Anime Vice News

More Manga Mayhem: JP Sales Drop, NA Pubs Pull Back

Both sides of the industry have a bit of trouble.

 A couple of recent reports on the manga industry are drawing a lot of attention right now, and I'm not talking about my Handley piece-- CNN Go reports on significant sales drops in Japan, and ICv2 offers that some manga publishers are severely curtailing their efforts-- or dropping out entirely.

First, Japan: CNN Go writes up an NHK report that manga overall has seen a 6.6% drop in sales in 2009, the largest such drop in the industry's history. Not good! A significant chunk of that drop was sales of manga magazines-- the overall sales of these anthologies dropped 9.4%, presumably thanks to so many alternate forms of entertainment for train-goers, who are the stereotypical buyers of manga mags.

The author, W. David Marx, suggests that since the manga industry in Japan has always been a source for bigger-scale productions like movies and live-action TV, a decrease in sales resulting in a decrease in items published might result in a lot of movies being made based on older manga-- which would be interesting. Though we're already seeing some of it: Astro Boy, Yatterman, Space Battleship Yamato...

Moving on to North American publishers, ICv2's latest publisher survey suggests that manga pubs are going to release an average of 13% fewer manga volumes in 2010 than they did in 2009. The main exception to this is Yen Press, who will expand once more.

But the more worrisome sentence is this: "...a number of publishers such as Aurora, Go! Comi, and Dr. Master have either pulled out or drastically curtailed their publishing efforts."

 Kage Kara Mamoru (anime version)
 Kage Kara Mamoru (anime version)
I have e-mails out to each of these companies and I'm also working to acquire ICv2's document for more details, but if you want my guess, I'd say DrMaster is the one most likely to pull out of the manga market right now: I'm not sure if they've released a book in 2010, and they have their printing business to fall back on. Similarly, if Aurora shuts down, Japanese parent company Ohzora Shuppan will continue to operate. Go!Comi is the only one here without something to fall back on.

More updates as events warrant! In the meantime, I am so so sad that I can't get my Kurogane Communication from Go! Comi and my Kage Kara Mamoru from DrMaster. (Aurora, by the way, still has a bunch of their titles available on the super-cheap if you want them.)     
 
Sad to see sales dropping, of course, but it happens. Hopefully as manga grows on a global level it will make up for some of the drop-off in Japan...but it looks like that money may not come primarily from the U.S.
Krison March 18, 2010 at 11:41 a.m.
Well, personally I think the American market is rather flooded (I'm looking at you, Tokyopop).  So this isn't surprising at all.  It will be better for them to cut back a bit. 
Addfwynon March 18, 2010 at 12:44 p.m.
Even living in Japan, I could never get into manga mags.  I think I'm just too rooted in reading one thing at a time, so I'd rather buy 12 volumes of one series and marathon it over browsing from one series to the next. 
I'm curious what the difference in drop is between bound volumes and the anthologies, I always knew the anthologies sold more but I wonder how much the bound volumes have dropped off.
John_Martoneon March 19, 2010 at 1:18 p.m.
@Kris said:
" Well, personally I think the American market is rather flooded (I'm looking at you, Tokyopop).  So this isn't surprising at all.  It will be better for them to cut back a bit.  "
Tokyopop? I'd assume that it was VIZ that is flooding the market with manga.
But hey, Japan sure is buying up One Piece. Maybe its just the distribution of sales has become incredibly unfriendly to new titles.
wwfunderakeron March 19, 2010 at 2:31 p.m.
To me the way the market is advertised is a problem. It feels like niche market, i dont see commercials on TV, i only got introduced by word of mouth.

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