Waiting for the trade?

October 28, 2006

Simon Jones notes a MangaNews translation of an article on the current state of the Japanese manga market: floppies down, trade paperbacks up. (Okay, maybe you can’t really call manga magazines “floppies” from a purely structural perspective, but you know what I mean.)

I always thought that the magazines were a loss leader — cheaply produced and designed as a driver for the profit-generating tankoubons. Still, that figure — a 70% decline in magazine sales since 1995 — is kind of heart-stopping, isn’t it? In addition to a resurgence of rental stores and used book shops, the article points to a couple of different forces:

“The reduction of the tendency of the manga magazine sales confirms that there is a flow of manga readers turning to tankobon. Whether it be to school or work, the manga magazine market may have been taken up by a more mobile content market. On the other hand, mobile phone manga delivery service has enlarged. The mobile phone market will probably be significant to the future manga markets.”

So are cell phones replacing the printed anthology? Is this another step towards the paperless society? Or at least the cheap-paperless society?

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Oh, and you have until 8 a.m. tomorrow to enter Tom Spurgeon’s Ode to Kirihito contest.