A couple of notes on downloadable content. ICv2 had an interesting chat with Viz’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, Dan Marks, who talks about Viz present and possible future forays into downloading manga and anime. Part 1
Marks points out the big differences between Japan and the US, in large part a technological one since they are years ahead of us on the whole cel phone thing:
One, it’s a mature market. On the magazine side manga sales have been decreasing for probably eight to 10 years. The way the cell phone is used in Japan would boggle the mind of most Americans. That has cut into manga sales for years. I don’t know if it’s illegal downloads and the availability of the content digitally, actually that may help in the long run. In the United States, manga sales have been growing for the past years and are projected to continue to grow because it’s not a mature market — we’ve barely broken into the market. As far as the effect of downloads in Japan, yeah, it may have hurt, but the market had already hits its peak. In the U.S. there’s so much room to grow, hopefully it doesn’t affect the U.S. market that much.
§ Although it has nothing to do with comics, we found this link (sent by Abel Padilla) interesting as well: It seems romance titan Harlequin is making all of its books downloadable — a fairly groundbreaking move for a traditional publisher. Although it’s not comics, Harlequin’s serial genre novels are consumed (albeit by a different audience) in ways very similar to superhero and manga fans.
“It’s every single line, every single title, so it’s over 120 titles a month,” Malle Vallik, Harlequin’s director of digital content, told Quill & Quire magazine, an industry publication. Harlequin will become the first Canadian publisher to do such a thing, Vallik said. The company thought the move was necessary to be relevant to younger readers who can download to laptops or cellphones, she added.
Vallik also feels that the digital format will allow some confidentiality — gone will be tell-tale piles of romance novels on bedside tables.
Harlequin sold more than 130 million books in 2006.