2009 – Manga Sales Plunge Biggest Ever

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The Japanese manga industry has recorded the biggest slump in sales ever.

Industry figures for fiscal 2009 show a shocking 6.6% drop in sales on the previous year, to an admittedly still huge 418,700,000,000 yen ($4.6 billion).

Sales of manga magazines were particularly hard hit, plummeting 9.4% to a level not seen for years.

The drop is seen in the context of a long term decline in sales since their peak in the nineties, which it seems publishers have been powerless or too incompetent to arrest.

However, the reduction is far from evenly felt – Shueisha was only recently crowing about its record sales for the 57th volume of One Piece, at 1,691,000 copies the best selling yet.

A lack of fresh hits and a reserved attitude to buying on the part of consumers are thought to be key causes of the decline, along with changes in reading habits – manga cafes and other venues are thought to be contributing to a decline in sales.

Even mangaka themselves have at times decried the state of the industry – new blood is said to be hard to find. Publishers too are pursuing a business model essentially unchanged for many decades.

Could the fortunes of the manga industry, already locked in the throes of creative enervation and sapped by the economic malaise which grips Japan, get any worse?

With the onslaught of censors bent on stripping it of its creative liberties, it appears they could…


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    Comment by Anonymous
    04:38 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't mind re-watching Gintama...

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:33 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    What they should do is hired cheap translator for their translation and sell it internationally at a reasonable price.

    Getting FMA international (English) cost $20 but there is a company that buys 1 copy, translate it and sells it for $10. This is probably how their sales plunge.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:05 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh, yeah, right. Badly translated cheap versions should really help in that overall attempt to improve quality.

    Avatar of denn
    Comment by denn
    05:44 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Decline of manga and the rise of manhua and manhwa.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:56 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The thing is that there is too much manga. Just like here in the US there are too many comics. They used to be $1.25 or $1.50. Now they cost $3 or $4 dollars! That is crazy! They cost too much. Kids can't buy comics anymore unless they get a big allowance every week. The manga books cost more ($7 to $10) so there is no way they buy those.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:17 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Consumers are becoming more selective than ever. Churning out rubbish work during the boom years might work. But during a recession, publishers have to cut back on non commercial titles!

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:16 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I would expect the new Blueray player and cost of each disk for that plus those new dollfies they are all into now on top of figurines they were already getting has used up all their 'free to spend' money.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:23 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    INTERWEB PIRATE REVOLUTION - DESTROY THE INDUSTRY MY COMRADES!

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:11 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Everything is moe's fault <_<

    Avatar of onitake
    Comment by onitake
    02:32 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    they should go digital, at last!

    affordable ebook readers suitable for manga consumption are available. colour is still an issue, but manga are mostly produced b&w anyway.

    as for monetarisation: the obvious model would be monthly/weekly subscriptions, but there's much more potential there. publishers could offer individual manga, individual chapters, free sneak-peeks, live updated ads (provided the reader has internet connectivity), etc etc.

    the only thing i do not want to see is any kind of drm. i'm fine with watermarking, but drm is a big fucking screwup.
    the pricing must be reasonable, too, and regional restrictions are an absolute no-go.

    copyright infringement is a big issue, and readily available hq scans from the publisher might seem a bad idea. watermarking offers only limited protection, but so does drm... there'll always be a genius breaking it.

    that being said, manga books should still be offered, but since most productions are done for mag release anyway, i see the biggest potential in that market slice.

    Avatar of sifian
    Comment by sifian
    05:57 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I hear that PrtScn is a difficult button to use.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:15 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I have to object to the e-book thing. So many fans have been reading manga for free on sites like mangafox for so long, that they're simply TOO used to it. Why pay $10, plus tax, on a Silent Mobius tankobon when the whole series is scanlated for free online?

    I'm not against scanlations, because it used to be only for stuff that wasn't licensed. There used to be an attitude of, "Hey, this is great, right? Let's all remember to buy this if it ever comes to the U.S.!" A lot of people don't even bother with that anymore. They just want their free stuff.

    The problem isn't those of us who buy stuff. It's just the leeches who justify NOT buying it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:40 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    sigh, it's called being in a recession

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:22 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    They keep dumping shit like K-ON! to us, what did they expect?

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:00 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    If they cut that moe crap out they might get some sales. Kill moe, save the industry!

    Avatar of Sylar
    Comment by Sylar
    19:33 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    WTF do this people expect? The economy is lousy and people have a thousand things to spend there little money and time.
    Judging from the billions of money going in the sales of manga they are just fine.
    It's stupid to expect to get record sales every time. I hate the fact that all companies expect every year to get bigger share and more profits and consider anything else as a failure.
    They are acting like those pop singers who make a huge hit and they think they can sell all there songs with the same numbers.

    Avatar of darkkimsei
    Comment by darkkimsei
    02:53 19/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I would buy more stuff but in order to that I need to be working and right now eating and housing take priority. Finding work right now, is not a day at the park.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:41 27/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You can blame 60% on the dozens of manga reading sites online. 20% for manga that plain suck (stagnant creative period), and the final 10% for the shitastic economy the worlds stuck in ATM.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:16 03/06/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    like in "One Piece" the golden age of pirates is among us, except in our case it's digital pirating. And only the strongest(most interesting) of mangas will survive.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:35 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The problem is, most manga either becomes "INCREASING MY POWER LEVELS" or Moe, or harem.

    I read a one-shot that was actually pretty interesting, and a little out there but creative nonetheless.

    it gets published and the first issue comes out, it is a COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what the one-shot was about. It was turned into a harem with excessive fanservice, new characters introduced to make it that way and all.

    It was like "hrmm nice story and all, but hey, you know what would really sell? HAREM. turn it into a harem with carefully censored bits, it will sell like hot cakes"

    the problem is the publishers, not the lack of fresh blood. Fresh blood comes in with some interesting ideas, and the publishers tell them "no, make it this way."

    It's a lot like the US. "WE NEED NEW WRITERS" *new writers come in* "OKAY, THROW OUT ANY IDEAS YOU HAD AND MAKE THIS STOCK SCENARIO WORK."

    They know if they push it enough, eventually people will just accept it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:10 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    lawl, one piece carries the manga industry

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:08 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Everything is moe's fault"

    Which is odd, because usually Curly or Larry are the screw-ups.

    Avatar of fragonman
    Comment by fragonman
    16:31 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    yuk,yuk,yuk.

    the only manga store around me is in a books a million that takes 20 min to get to (if the roads are not closed from construction, if they are forget it >.<), and the selection is pretty small...

    Avatar of MidnightTide
    Comment by MidnightTide
    06:43 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You have to live with the times. The world's economy is in the toilet, and will be for some time. Sales are going to be low, just live with it - adapt or die

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:12 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I hardly think a loli ban strips manga of its creative liberties.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:30 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    After seeing the manga artists who are against it. . . and many not even big time Loli-artists themselves, I disagree. I also know that it seems quite popular to incorporate loli characters and while I myself do not care for it, I personally think it is not something that would help improve the sales or reduce any issues that have been associated with loli.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:16 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    1.) Declining Birthrates = A smaller consumer base. Before people point to One Piece and laugh, One Piece is such a long running series and has a wide spread of ages reading it that it's not as effected by the declining birth rate.

    2.) Internet Scanlation / Illegal distribution. Rather than fight it, the industry should find a way to assimilate it with an updated business model. Sadly, it won't happen.

    3.) Declining talent. No one wants to be a mangaka when it pays poorly, lacks stability, has an incredibly heavy work-load, terrible working conditions, and frequently involves little creative freedom or actual artistic expression. It's about time the industry tried to introduce more incentives to actually bring in promising talent.

    4.) The business model. It's mandatory your sell early and sell a lot. That pretty much kills the diversity of the stories you can create. Anything that might take time to develop is out of the question. They need to start basing their evaluation of works off of more than just sales and questionnaire returns. Rather than simplify, stupidify, and standardize their method of evaluation, they actually need to understand the author, their work, and their potential. Many promising serializations were canned for the wrong reasons.

    5.) Economic Recession / Stagnancy. Obviously, people will be less willing to spend money when they're jobless or suddenly less optimistic about now and the future.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:01 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Regarding your point 2:

    You mean they should pay people to read it so that they won't download it for free? Tell me more about this cunning business model you have in mind.
    (I think it was Ray Kurtzwiel who said that "Sooner or later, the value of anything that can be digitized will be zero.")

    Other than that, good points.

    Avatar of Sukunai
    Comment by Sukunai
    23:11 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Holy overstated fucking obvious statements Batman!!

    Lets see, anime hasn't been around THAT long, and it's anime that has exposed non Japanese markets to manga. And anime has been in decline for all of the same reasons listed below.

    The internet believe it or not has not been an overly practical source for digital files piracy for that long either.

    Then there is the inevitable plateau that everything must in time face when you finally reach saturation point which comes to everyone's product.

    Oh and the world economy hasn't been rosy for everyone (even if the problems haven't meant squat to me).

    The manga industry needs to just get over it and live with the reality.
    The gravy train might not have left the station, but it can't run for ever either. Eventually it stops to refuel. Maybe in 5 years time conditions will change. Maybe.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:42 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    ^ Yeah i agree, things were different back then to, you'll find it hard to find more creative original envisionists in this day and age.

    Avatar of moebius22
    Comment by moebius22
    23:08 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I have been watching Anime since Gatchaman, Kimba, Ranma1/2, Mazinger Z, and while I starting reading manga later (mainly becuase their wasn't what there was now then), I have noticed that creativity and originality has tailed off. Apart from a few marquee titles (very few)the majority of titles are poor or simply don't appeal to my tastes.

    I still happen to have my "Blade of the Immortal" for the time being, but once that is gone, I may be done with Manga for good. I'm already done with Anime.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:03 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    They need to take the old saying "Quality over quantity" to heart. You can only over saturate a market with so much crap before people just throw their arms up and stop buying altogether.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:44 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I know plenty of people who download manga and anime from torrent sites for free.

    So this hardly surprises me.

    With that said, this makes me want to get out my wallet more often!

    Avatar of Sylar
    Comment by Sylar
    19:27 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    And how many of those are Japanese?

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:57 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    It really used to be a medium for artistic expression and exploration, but now it's more generic and copied...

    Who wants a simulacrum? A copy which lacks the qualities and substance of the original?

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:54 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    And here I just bought all the Maho Sensei Negima volumes from the local bookstore. It obviously doesn't count Canada.
    But why couldn't they expect a decline? I mean, less children kept by their parents exist, and those Shonen-Jump type mangas only get bought by kids, so, naturally, wouldn't it go down?

    Avatar of Black_Knight
    Comment by Black_Knight
    23:01 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You mean after record growth, the worst recession since the Lost Decade, and the advent of digital media, sales of print manga would DROP?

    HOLY PENIS, WHAT A SCOOP SANKAKU.

    Comment by Anonymous
    Comment by Anonymous
    00:12 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    lol, true. Not sure why people expect any industry to actually sustain or increase sales at the present time, especially when we're talking about unnecessary-for-survival entertainment industry.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:59 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You mean printed media is in a decline when digital forms of entertainment are on an ever-growing trend? Gee, I had no idea.

    Avatar of Lucifer
    Comment by Lucifer
    21:06 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "A lack of fresh hits and a reserved attitude to buying on the part of consumers are thought to be key causes of the decline"

    I will have to agree on this, while you have popular series like One Piece and Bleach. One can get tired of it quickly. It saddens me also that there are some series that will never be picked up after being hiatus for so long, those are the ones that interest me.

    Avatar of SnooSnoo
    Comment by SnooSnoo
    21:25 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    People also want to inspect and ascertain the quality before buying the manga volumes to prevent wasting money on shitty series. That's why scans exist. Problem is almost everyone inspects all the way to the end.

    Avatar of Marine-RX179
    Comment by Marine-RX179
    23:53 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Unfortunately it would be pretty much down to re-read value. Some manga (or even anime) you would only read (watch) only once and not bother reading (watching) it ever again.

    I buy the Negima! manga series even if I'm chasing the news chapter on scan on almost weekly basis.

    Avatar of SnooSnoo
    Comment by SnooSnoo
    23:58 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hi Five! Same here.

    Avatar of makkun
    Comment by makkun
    00:35 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah, so do I. I usually use scans to determine if the manga was worth buying or not.

    Avatar of kamiru
    Comment by kamiru
    21:05 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    people! take out all your savings and buy buy buy!!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:10 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    i think there are just too many thing a consumer can spend their money on, tv, games, movies, music, sports, gamble, food, imported comics/movies/musics, etc.

    so entertainment methods is growing, yet the number of consumer isnt increasing, or in fact reduced(population drop).

    another big problem now is the artists(mangaka,writer,cg,anime) all getting paid too little, so little or nobody will be interested joining the industry.

    publisher should give more to the artists as well as focus more on growing/nurturing the artists too, instead of focusing on short term profit/plan.

    Avatar of Sylar
    Comment by Sylar
    19:17 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The problem is not the number of consumers. The problem is that despite being offered a thousand ways of spending there money and time, most people get a basic salary that does not take in to account there need for entertainment, only there need for survival. So not enough money to spend in everything you might like.
    Also fun activities need time. And people have less ans less time instead of more. The 8 hour work is generally being violated everywhere and people even work on Saturdays and Sundays. And after that you have a tone of other things to take care of for you personal household and personal life so your fun time is very very limited.
    What happened to the dreams we had that robots will do all the job so we can have fun all day?
    It looks like as society and technology progresses we have less time instead of more. Cave men went for hunting once a week and then just relaxed in there caves. Now we work all fucking day, everyday. At least if they could make a robot to clean the damn house it would take of our hands an annoying responsibility.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:56 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Very shrewd observation. Famous manga editor at Kodansha, Kurihara-sensei, wrote a memo about this back in the year 2000 (!!) because he was watching kids on the subways texting on their cellphones instead of reading comics. More and more entertainment chasing the same dollar.

    Avatar of obro
    Comment by obro
    00:48 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I for one always read manga on the internet.Do you know why? Because I can't read it any other way.No manga shops in my country.The only manga I own is berserk volume 14.So technically I am not the problem because nobody even tries bringing manga to me so I am not even considered a consumer.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:52 20/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Online shops faggot.

    Avatar of makkun
    Comment by makkun
    00:56 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Uhh, if I may ask where do you live?

    Avatar of Frederica Bernkastel
    01:09 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    buy figurines, posters, cosplay etc as a compensation.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:01 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    you dont need import ask rich freind learn u manga

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:28 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's exactly what I do and I always import directly so I'm actually helping Japan a little. How crazy is that?

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:25 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Cosplay=Way too much for clotes I'm only wearing once
    Posters=If I can find any
    Figurines=Fuck that, expensive toys.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:27 18/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    If we go by One Piece, how many volumes are there? And how many is there still going to be?

    Sometimes you just can't be bother to buy when you can read it online.





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