Anime & Manga News

Manga Sales In North America Continue To Decline

by dtshyk
Apr 17, 2010 2:30 AM | 102 Comments
ICv2 released the annual report on the manga market in North America. The yearly sales of Japanese manga in 2009 was $140 million, 80% of the previous year. The manga market has shrunk into two-thirds of its peak since 2007. In contrast, the sales of the non-manga graphic novels has made 40% increase in two years.

Chart of the manga market in North America (Total Graphic Novels = Manga + "US Cartoon")

ICv2 gave three possible reasons for the decline:
1. Female readers who established the shojo manga boom have grown out of the manga habit.
2. Effect of the illegal scanlations
3. Keeping on purchasing long series has become a burden for the fans.

Sources: ICv2, Anime!Anime!

20 of 102 Comments Recent Comments

The existence of scanlations are not at fault here.
I think most people will agree that reading a tankobon is much more gratifying than reading from some computer screen. and every fan will buy books for that reason.
If anything, the scanlations will widen the fanbase.

I think the biggest problem is the pricing. The recent increase in price will lead to people investing their limited amount of spending money in other products.
the same money can be used for books, comics, dvd's, cd's, games and a lot of other things. and with the current prices, other products are more interesting.

ofcourse the real problem will be the vicious circle. higher prices -> less buyers -> smaller prints -> less profit -> higher prices -> ...

given the young target audience the prices should be made a lot lower, to have a real manga boom. the japanese publishers are not helping either asking such high license fees.

Apr 19, 2010 1:55 AM by pietel

read online what i'm okay with, read online and buy volumes of what i really like, that's what i do.

Apr 18, 2010 8:08 PM by Raenard

not surprising indeed

Apr 18, 2010 6:26 PM by Mr_Gutts

BlackWings said:
I blame fat losers for not buying manga and thinking "Oh! We can read online! Online is free!"

this is the correct answer

fatties disagree

/thread

Apr 18, 2010 6:20 PM by kkslider5552000

People keep parroting the same wrong explanations, no matter how many times they're shown to be incorrect.

"The economy" doesn't make any sense, since US graphic novels (comics), which cost just as much as manga, have INCREASED their sales in the same time period that manga has declined.

"Scanlations" also can't be the reason, considering that scanlations have been widespread since at least 2005, and yet, manga sales INCREASED from 2005 to 2008. The only difference between scanlations now and 5 years ago is that more niche, relatively lesser known manga are being translated...stuff that the companies don't localize and distribute in the North American market, anyways.

Of course, I fully expect to read some variation of "the economy" or "scanlations" in the majority of posts from here on, too.

Apr 18, 2010 2:51 PM by YoungVagabond

Yup said:
I never said it was a perfect system for everyone. I'm just listing alternatives so that people can buy manga. It's better than never paying for manga and laughing at the guy who says you should support the people who make it to some extent. =.=

Personally speaking, while getting a job or learning Japanese do technically count as alternatives, that probrably serves as a separate problem. Though I won't go into much detail about that, but I will agree that it's all about finding ways to support manga sales. Which I think is another reason why there's a lack of a "collector mentality." With some fans (not all, but some), there's more of a "entitlement issue."

It's all about wanting to find the perfect translations, the perfect number of pages per volume, the perfect paper material, the perfect retail price, the perfect quality, etc., etc., etc.. The companies could pour all sorts of thought into how to release a manga title while being hyper-aware of what the fans want and the fans themselves still wouldn't be satisfied! I can sort of understand a sense of demand for good quality out of a company, but it doesn't really help to support the industry in anyway (especially if as a fan, you have every intention of giving a shit) if people are going to always point out every reason to not support the products these companies hand out.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't that even defeat the purpose of informing people the status of sales in the industry through these articles if fans are going to just throw a sense of entitlement and not give a shit?

Apr 18, 2010 1:35 PM by Hypeathon

I never said it was a perfect system for everyone. I'm just listing alternatives so that people can buy manga. It's better than never paying for manga and laughing at the guy who says you should support the people who make it to some extent. =.=

Apr 18, 2010 11:38 AM by Yup

hahaha it's hilarious too see that there are people who think that scanlations are the main and probably only reason for the decline of manga sales.
also i agree with everything Jigero said.

and btw i wonder how many manga got licensed after they 1st became popular thanks to the scanlations? (it's rhetorical question)

Apr 18, 2010 9:03 AM by Zero

It's to be expected, why pay for manga when you can read them on the net? It's the same reason why "video rental stores" are slowly fading out. People would much rather order movies from home, than actually go out and rent one from a retailer.

The internet is a double edged sword really.

Apr 18, 2010 8:51 AM by Retro8bit

H3ctor said:
Oh and for anyone hating on online scanlations, bear mind that scanners have typed things like "go out and buy the hard copy to support the mangaka" or if "thanks for reading. Please buy the volumes if you liked what you read". I can't tell how you many times I've seen that.

lol, yeah, because that really has an effect on things. People are either going to buy or not buy based on their own opinions and situation, not because a page in their free scans tell them so. Being exposed to the manga at least is more likely to have an effect on someone willing to spend money.

Apr 18, 2010 8:34 AM by shinkeikaku

Its sad to see manga popularity decreasing, but there are a lot of good reasons for it. And its a tough economy right now.

And as previous stated before by a few others, I think the core of the problem is too many people not understanding what manga is, and automatically thinking that anime is supierior to it.

Apr 18, 2010 8:31 AM by Ange-Beatrice

infinite_zero said:
With the cost of Manga in NA, not surprising.

Totally agree. The cost of manga in Sweden is about less than half of the cost in USA, and the cost of manga in Thailand is around 10 times less.

Apr 18, 2010 8:13 AM by Kleeyook

Reading manga online makes me wanna buy the hard copies especially the ones I like. Problem is, the job growth (in the U.S. as far as I know) is awfully slow.

Oh and for anyone hating on online scanlations, bear mind that scanners have typed things like "go out and buy the hard copy to support the mangaka" or if "thanks for reading. Please buy the volumes if you liked what you read". I can't tell how you many times I've seen that.

Apr 18, 2010 8:07 AM by TerrorH3ctor

Meh, this isn't anything new. It was already dropping in sales from online scans AGES ago.

I have some manga of my own. Even completed series. Fact of the matter is I stopped buying some simply because I don't want to keep waiting for new chapters and volumes to come out in another decade or two. That or I stopped reading the series altogether that I bought.

Another thing is, I usually read online the series I can never seem to find around here, or ones that just never get published in English. And don't start with the whole 'buy online' shit. It could cost even more that way sometimes.

Apr 18, 2010 6:59 AM by KayChan4U

Jigero covered it excellently, but I can't stop laughing at this point;

Yup said:

  • I mean the scans could be better, but that's all a matter of opinion. If you don't like the official translated version, then learn Japanese and buy the original one. Harsh as that is, there's a difference between translating and making shit up. There's also a difference in how it's translated, like keeping honorifics and whatnot. This goes for both the official and scans versions.


  • Yes, in order to be a proper manga fan, I should devote several YEARS to learning a new language, and then pay outrageous sums of money for manga shipped from overseas or specialty stores.

    Sounds like a GREAT business model. I can't imagine why more people don't do this.

    Apr 18, 2010 3:26 AM by YoungVagabond

    Yup said:
    I feel rather disturbed at the amount of people who said: "I read online." Solely with the mindset that they will never buy manga. Which is what I sense through most of this thread.
  • If you can't buy it, then work. You can always find work if you get off your ass and do something for someone somewhere. It's all about dedication. You think my money isn't tight with how much I spend? A hobby is a hobby.
  • If you want to prevent people reading it in the store then wrap in plastic like I've seen then done with some other books. I hate to say this because I like to do a quick skim to see what's it's about, but hey more people read the whole thing than just skim.
  • As for scans, many people take it over convenience and it is a factor for people to not buy it. These scans are making the economy worse.
  • I mean the scans could be better, but that's all a matter of opinion. If you don't like the official translated version, then learn Japanese and buy the original one. Harsh as that is, there's a difference between translating and making shit up. There's also a difference in how it's translated, like keeping honorifics and whatnot. This goes for both the official and scans versions.

    That's just my thoughts on the matter.



  • Lets see. Guide to reading manga through legit means.
    1. Get a Job too pay for over priced manga.
    2. Manage to enjoy the hack job translations.
    3. Give up hope on ever reading really good lesser known/ controversial manga that never gets picked up.
    4. Search like mad for out of print manga that will probably cost more.
    5. Wait forever for releases and deal with licensing bullshit and litigation.
    6. If all else fails pay for classes to learn Japanese and order online.

    Fuck it, I rather just read Scanlations.

    Apr 18, 2010 2:38 AM by Jigero

    I think Manga is just too expensive..where i live its like 15$ then with taxes its like 18$ .. ._.

    Also some people are too shy to actually BUY manga, like me..XD

    Also, theres no way im buying the whole bleach set... thats like so much money.
    Some people go to the libary its free :D!

    Apr 18, 2010 1:50 AM by NoSounds

    I feel rather disturbed at the amount of people who said: "I read online." Solely with the mindset that they will never buy manga. Which is what I sense through most of this thread.
  • If you can't buy it, then work. You can always find work if you get off your ass and do something for someone somewhere. It's all about dedication. You think my money isn't tight with how much I spend? A hobby is a hobby.
  • If you want to prevent people reading it in the store then wrap in plastic like I've seen then done with some other books. I hate to say this because I like to do a quick skim to see what's it's about, but hey more people read the whole thing than just skim.
  • As for scans, many people take it over convenience and it is a factor for people to not buy it. These scans are making the economy worse.
  • I mean the scans could be better, but that's all a matter of opinion. If you don't like the official translated version, then learn Japanese and buy the original one. Harsh as that is, there's a difference between translating and making shit up. There's also a difference in how it's translated, like keeping honorifics and whatnot. This goes for both the official and scans versions.

    That's just my thoughts on the matter.
  • Apr 18, 2010 12:58 AM by Yup

    Yowane said:
    Maybe it's because 14 dollars for a black and white comic book is regoddamndiculous.

    Okay I have to ask, not that I'm deliberately trying to sound annoying, but did you actually read post # 69, or at the very least read page 4 of this thread, before posting your comment? I mean, really, did you? Not trying to sound mean, I swear! I'm just growing a little frusturated that everyone keeps saying the same thing and I'm just wondering what's up.

    Apr 18, 2010 12:29 AM by Hypeathon

    Maybe it's because 14 dollars for a black and white comic book is regoddamndiculous.

    Apr 18, 2010 12:25 AM by nozomitoujou