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Monday, May 24, 2010

It's not just me!

So I've been feeling a little worried about our manga collection lately. You see, we have a HUGE manga collection and it's always been really popular. Really, really popular. Kids would come up and ask for new series, let me know if I'd fallen behind in my ordering (which does occasionally happen!) or just to tell me about their favorite books.

But in the last year or so I'd noticed a real drop in activity related to manga here in the Library. I wasn't seeing as many rabid manga fans (although there's always plenty of people reading manga) and I just wasn't hearing the buzz about new series like I used to. I check the New York Times best seller lists, I check recommendations on Amazon, I read the journals, but I just wasn't finding the new "Bleach" type of manga. I thought I'd somehow completely lost touch with the manga world.

It turns out the manga world is shrinking. According to an article in Publisher's Weekly, manga sales have dropped by a third since 2007. That's huge. Manga used to be one of the fastest growing segments of the publishing industry, but not anymore.

So on one hand I'm relieved that I'm not totally out of touch, but on the other hand I'm bummed that there's so much less manga being published. It's so popular, it's so accessible, and so much fun, I hope that things settle down and begin to rebound soon.

One of the possible factors given for the drop in manga sales in the PW article was "younger readers are turning to Twilight rather than manga for their fix." Interesting idea.

What manga are you reading, if any? What are the latest series to come out that you can't live without? Or are you breathlessly awaiting the release of the next Stephenie Meyer book and couldn't care less about manga?


  1. I wasn't even aware of the fact that less people are interested in manga today. Recently, I have been interested in the manga book series Reborn, History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi, Hayate the Combat Butler, Air Gear, Anima+, Beelzebub, and The World God Only Knows. I would like to see all of these series on the library shelf. Reading manga in books is much better than reading it online.

  2. Definitely not turning to the next Stephenie Meyer book, but I think I just never got into manga. I'm a fast reader as is, and graphic novels have never lasted me more than an hour or two anyways.

  3. I think a lot of the decline has to do with people reading manga online, reading it in libraries and in borders. But plenty of people still love manga! I've really been enjoying Sand Chronicles which is in the library. I'm waiting for you guys to get volume 8 which came out last month :) As for other manga I love to read lately...
    Pandora Hearts, Tegami Batchi aka Letter Bee, Bizenghast, NG life.

    Older ones would be angel sanctuary, fruits basket, death note.

    I'm also surprised that you don't have any of the big series like Naruto & Bleach. Or the kingdom hearts manga which are always popular.

    I also noticed Pluto and Monster today. I'm really happy you are bringing in work from Naoki Urasawa as he's one of the best seinen writers today.

    In general I'm pretty happy with our collection and I use link+ for even more, but I do feel that major series have been ignored and very little new manga is being bought for the library.

  4. Thanks to you all for your comments and suggestions - much appreciated! It's good to hear from manga fans!
    I have looked at the suggested series and wanted to share some information and thoughts on them (vis a vis the Library's collection):
    -Reborn, Hayate the Combat Butler, Air Gear, Angel Sanctuary, +Anima, Kingdom Hearts - with series that are "older" (like Angel Sanctuary which published its last volume in June of '07) or even series that are still active but have been around for a while (Reborn is up to volume 15 and started in 2006) I frequently find that early volumes aren't available for us to purchase and I don't start buying a series unless I can get all the volumes that are published so far. So, if we don't have an "older" series it's unlikely we'll start getting it now, unfortunately (some of those series look great!)
    -Naruto, Bleach - these are series we have in the Teen Zone manga collection. There are manga available in the Adult, Children and Teen departments here - and each department's manga is ordered by a different librarian!
    -Beezelbub, The World God Only Knows, History's Strongest - these series appear to only be available serialized in a magazine or available in Japanese and as far as I can tell aren't available in tankobon in English.
    -Pandora Hearts, Tegami Bachi, Bizenghast - these are all more current series and look like they'd be great for the Teen collection, so I'll plan on ordering those once we start our new fiscal year at the beginning of July!
    Thanks again for the suggestions, feel free to make requests any time using the City's AskMV system ( or by emailing me at