ComiPress looks at an article that tracks the decline of the Japanese manga market:
The report says that tankoubon sales have been decreasing for the past two years, and that manga magazine sales have been decreasing 11 years in a row. The decline of manga magazine sales was especially noticeable, which indicates that the readers are moving away from the magazine field.
Japan’s domestic manga market has been gradually decreasing for the past 10 years. In 1996, the scale of the market was estimated to be 584.7 billion yen. After 10 years, the market has decreased by almost 20%. Last year, the size of the market has dropped under a symbolical number – 500 billion yen. This news should draw attention to the gradual reduction of the manga market.
The reasons behind the decline of the manga market could be attributed to the decline in the young adult/teen population Japan, and the movement away from the printed-book culture. Especially with the declining sales of manga magazines, which indicates a change in social trend where the younger generation’s time is occupied by their cell phones.
Cell phones! Damn you! Since Japan is lightening years ahead of us in all this, these trends call for very, very careful examination by US comics makers. While American cell phones lag far behind the capabilities of mobiles in other countries — like Korea where downloading comics is second nature — we’ll undoubtedly catch up some day. It would be interesting to know what kind of inroads downloadable comics have made in Japan. If the kids can be persuaded to read, maybe we still have a chance. Otherwise…enjoy it while you can.