Japan’s manga sales were increasing. However, they peaked at 1994 for books and 1995 for magazines and began to decline. The dark gray area on the top area of the bar graph in Figure 1 shows the comic magazine (magazine) sales and its trend. The light gray area on the bottom shows the sales of comics (books) and its trend. It may seem that the declining sales of books is not much compared to the steep drop in magazine sales. However, even the books peaked at 553.9 million. In 2017, that number fell to 316.08 million. Next, let’s look at the trend in revenue with electronic comics added.
*Chart 2: Sales trend of electronic comic magazines, electronic comics, comic magazines, and comics.
When you add the sales of electronic comics, it appears as if manga sales in recent years has plateaued. However, the data for sales numbers illustrated in Figure 1 is not available for electronic comics. Figure two differs from Figure 1 even in terms of paper comics and uses revenue instead of copies sold. But looking at the trend using revenue requires caution as well. That’s because the price of commodities is different than before. It is too sweeping to say since the way manga is sold is diversifying, but of course both manga magazines and manga in book form were cheaper before. Even looking at the total revenue including electronic comics, the revenue in 1995 was JPY 586.4 billion, which dropped to JPY 433 billion in 2017.
By the way, regarding“The world of manga and its future,” what I wrote below is my own opinion and is not the view of the sources of the graphs or the owners of the copyright.
Why are manga sales declining? I think the biggest reason is because talented people are not going down the path of becoming manga artists. Why is that? I wrote about my experiences, but the editors of manga have terrible attitudes. That hasn’t changed over the years. However, unlike before, it’s no longer common sense to obey what they say, no matter how horrible those things may be. Unless the editors change their attitudes, talented people will further abstain from going down the path of becoming manga artists. The market will be full of boring comics, leading to further decline in sales, and ultimately to the demise of comic magazines. I think manga artists will be more active on the internet and cut off the editors to receive what they deserve. To me, those falling graphs look like a countdown to the end of editors’ terrible attitudes towards manga artists that has perpetuated for a long time.
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