Over at About.Com, Deb Aoki has a terrific interview with Gaston Dominguez-Letelier, owner and founder of the highly regarded Meltdown Comics & Collectibles in Los Angeles. They talk about the various hassles of selling manga in a Direct Market comic shop, even for retailers who really want to sell manga.
There’s also some jaw-dropping detail about the specific challenges for a retailer in L.A., including this tidbit:
“Some junior execs, assistants, others [entertainment] industry types order tons of books from us, then find out that they can download them for free via fan translations from online share sites.
“It’s not really something I can definitively put a dollar value on, but these free download sites have really impacted our manga sales to the college set and our younger readers-base. This kind of this would be the death of the book publishing if it wasn’t for buyers who prefer to have a physical book to read and collect.”
Seriously, go read it.