The manga market has been through many ups and downs in recent years. The North American market of Japanese manga was very hard hit in 2008 due to the financial downturn and the resulting decrease of spending by many North Americans. The Japanese manga market was especially hard hit due to the high cost that it takes to produce and distribute manga. 2007 was a peak year in manga and graphic novel sales which made the decline that followed seem that much steeper. In the years following the 2008 economic downturn the market saw almost a 66% downturn in total sales. Which can easily be seen in the graph provided.
Recently however, the market has grown in the years of 2013 and 2014. Total sales in the United States and Canada have hit a 20 year high of $935 which is a 7% increase of from 2013. North America has not seen this high level of sales since the 1990’s, and these numbers represent the highest sales in the US in the current century. All of this growth points towards an even stronger year for Anime in 20153.
The question is why are manga sales and anime sales in general doing so well in North America? What could account for such a large spike in sales in an area that is traditionally not a huge spender in the area of anime and manga? The answer is a number of reasons, but the largest factor is Attack on Titan. Attack on Titan is an anime and manga series that has absolutely exploded in both Japan and North America. As of November 2014 over 45 million copies of the manga are in print, with over 660,000 copies in print in North America which is a much higher number than the average copies sold in North America. The twelfth collection’s initial print was 2.2 million copies, which makes Attack on Titan one of only two manga series to surpass an initial printing of 2 million copies.
Many critics say that Attack on Titan has given a new dimension to both manga and anime. The plot and design of the plot is very different than anything North America has seen before. Manga and anime fans are loving it, and it shows in the numbers that this market is producing. Another reason why the market has grown is the accessibility of manga and graphic novels through Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble has vowed to double all of their manga and graphic novel selection in all of their stores nationwide.