While manga might have originated in Japan, the art has quickly expanded and now has a tremendous global presence. Although manga has traditionally been issued on paperback for the past few decades, the trend has recently been going digital. According to Research Institute for Publications in Tokyo, for the first time, the annual sales of digital variants may surpass that of their physical offerings come next year.
This isn't a surprising trend as the music industry had to evolve through a similar situation when sales of physical copies began to diminish and many started to invest in a digital library. The Research Institute for Publications reports that sales of digital manga jumped 27.1% to ¥146 billion from the previous year, while sales of paper manga saw a decline of 7.4% to ¥194.7 billion. As stated prior, if this trend continues, next year will be the first time when digital sales surpass its physical counterpart.
So where are manga enthusiasts going to indulge in their digital hobby? It appears that there are, in fact, many options. One of the more dominant and surprising is from Line. If unfamiliar, the firm's primary business is an app that allows users to communicate through messaging, calls, voice chat and more. It turns out that its service is a perfect platform to promote manga considering that it has around 70 million users. In 2013, the firm launched Line Manga and has around 2.7 million users according to the latest data.
While it appears that many will convert to digital manga over the next few years, print won't be going away overnight and it will be interesting to see how well publishers adapt to this new landscape.
Source: The Japan Times