The manga onslaught continues, as PW reports that the 800-900 outlet strong Trans World Entertainment chain had contracted with wholesaler Bookazine to add manga to such places as F.Y.E, , Coconuts, Sam Goody, Suncoast and Planet Music.
Bookazine established its separate pop culture program, Popazine, two years ago and hired John Davis, former director of book sales at Central Park Media, to head it. Since then Bookazine’s sales of pop culture-related titles, including manga and graphic novels, have jumped, according to Bookazine executive v-p Richard Kallman. In 2006, pop culture/graphic novels were 5% of the company’s overall business. This year, Davis projects, Popazine will grow to 7% or 8%.
In some ways the story is a reminder of how far we’ve come in five or six years — in the olden days the idea of ANY mass market retailer carrying comics, manga or Bazooka Joe bubble gum comics would have been clutched at by every comcis true believer as the straw that showed there was life outside the world of longboxes. Now, the story comes with its own history of ups and downs — you may recall that Suncoast/Musicland went bankrupt in 2006, causing all sorts of problems for anime and manga companies. TWE eventually acquired Suncoast, and now they are back in the manga business.
It’s this cycle of bust and boom in the retail market that really shows how entrenched comics, manga and graphic novels really are now. There is no one setback that will hold us back, only a continuing march.