National

Annual comic book sales set to sink amid dearth of popular titles

Kyodo

Comic books sales are expected to plunge about 12 percent for the year amid a dearth of popular titles and increasing demand for ebooks, a research institute said Monday.

Sales of comic magazines targeted at adolescents are forecast to drop sharply, the Research Institute for Publications said.

The end of popular long-running series and a lack of new hits are believed to have turned young readers away from both comic books and magazines, the institute said.

The projection was based on sales data for publications, excluding their electronic versions, between January and November.

Combined sales of magazines and books for the year are expected to total ¥1.37 trillion, which is equivalent to 52 percent of their 1996 peak. The figure highlights a serious downturn in sales of publications here.

The institute forecasts that sales of magazines and comic books will fall around 10 percent year-on-year to about ¥660 billion this year, marking the 20th consecutive year of decline.

Meanwhile, sales of books excluding comic books are estimated to drop about 3 percent to around ¥715 billion, despite robust sales of some best-sellers and a popular series of children’s books. The figure is likely to fall for the 11th year straight.

Combined sales of magazines and comic books exceeded those of books from the 1970s, but the trend reversed in 2016 and the sales gap between books and magazines is likely to widen this year.