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Robert Boyd on Markets for Manga
posted November 10, 2004

Robert Boyd
via the Internet

I'm gradually reading through all the stuff on your site (which is great) and I noticed that in "Manga Briefly" you mention that the most important outlets for manga outside of comics shops were big box bookstores. I think this is commonly believed by people like us and others in the industry because we see manga there. And we see manga there because we shop there. And to be sure, those stores (and Books-a-Million, the third-place big box chain) are important for manga.

But I think just as important if not more so are the mall stores. Manga have really succeeded in malls, especially in Waldenbooks, Suncoast stores and to a lesser extent, B. Dalton. (There are a lot fewer Daltons than Waldens or Suncoast stores.) My experience is that these venues sell as much or more than the big boxes. It's hard to tell with B&N because they don't don't order separately for B&N and Dalton the way Borders Group does for Borders stores and Waldenbooks. But when you look at Waldenbook orders and Musicland orders (Musicland is the parent company of Suncoast), they're huge.

I think this all points to young readers. I'm guessing here, but I suspect the demographics of Borders customers is older than Waldenbook or Suncoast customers on average. And we know the demographics for comic store customers is practically geriatric. (Hell, if comic stores want to grow, they should open locations next to stores that sell those old-people scooters.)