Last week, I came across an article from 2014 in School Library Journal titled “Manga Makes a Comeback.” The article describes the downturn of the North American manga industry that started in 2007 (ironically around the time that I started reading manga in earnest), and then lists a few reasons that this industry is having an uptick in sales.
I suppose that it cannot be questioned that the manga industry has seen an uptick in sales, but the fact that the first two reasons for this increase are listed as “Older series stay strong” and “Omnibus editions” seems slightly concerning to me. For one, they seem as a possible overlap in reasoning: older series are probably staying strong because readers can afford to purchase the combined omnibus editions of these same series.
This causes me to wonder: are we just going to continue treading on the same series over and over? How many reprints of Skip Beat can the industry bear? At a certain point, I would think that this would hurt any new titles trying to break into the North American market.
Yes, there are new titles. This same article mentions that. But if reissues and omnibus titles increase in popularity, I worry that this will simply lead to a smaller and smaller space on the shelf for new titles.
The one bright spot that I see for new titles is the emerging digital reading options – but that’s for another post.