ICv2 reports “A Second bad Year in a Row for Manga,” noting a 20% drop in sales. This doesn’t reflect my personal experience, but we all know how irrelevant that is. Since it’s Saturday and I don’t want to start it off on too gloomy a note, I’ll quote the article’s marginally positive paragraph:
“In European markets where manga boomed before it hit it big here in the States, there was a post-boom drop-off, but sales then stabilized at a substantial level. Manga continues to dominate sales of graphic novels (in units) in bookstores.”
The report notes that “manga is now facing its own crisis created by the availability of free unlicensed scanlations on the Web,” and a Japanese publisher has spoken publicly on the subject. Over at Anime Vice, GodLen finds a message from Weekly Shonen Jump (Shueisha) to its readers:
“The unjust internet copies are deeply hurting the manga culture, mangakas’ rights, and even mangakas’ souls.”
Hardcore. It probably won’t have any impact, but… hardcore.
Update: ICv2 has rather drastically altered the portion of the report that covered scanlations:
“While comic retailers tell ICv2 that they believe scanlations (translations of scanned manga, which appear on the Web within days of their publication in Japan) are hurting their sales, the evidence is not conclusive. Scanlations were around through the growth of the manga market as well as its decline, and some feel that they actually increase the market for manga collections by creating greater exposure for new properties. While it may be true that more manga buyers are telling retailers that they’re reading online rather than buying, that may be due to economic conditions (they’re buying fewer titles over-all), or to the lack of a major hit that stimulates buying.”