Bloomberg’s Lucy Birmingham uses a visit to the December installment of Tokyo’s Comiket — the semiannual fair considered the world’s largest comics convention — as a chance to examine the changing international manga market:
North American manga sales doubled to $200 million between 2003 and 2006 and probably rose 10 percent in 2007, according to Milton Griepp, chief executive officer of ICv2.com, which provides information on the industry. That’s about half the value of the non-manga comic market, according to data from Diamond Comics, the world’s biggest comic distributor.
Even so, manga has yet to reach its popularity in countries such as Italy and France, the top markets outside Japan, where sales are seven times larger than in the U.S.
To gain a bigger slice of the U.S. market, where most buyers are teenagers, manga publishers need to target adults. “If Americans can understand the Matrix movies, then maybe they can enjoy science fiction, suspense or horror manga,” said Shogakukan’s [Masakazu] Kubo.
It’s a choppy read that jumps freely, or maybe abruptly, from topic to topic, ranging from mobile manga to copyright to censorship.