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"Why yes, I love the smell of freshly printed manga in the morning."
While buying the latest English volumes of Blue Exorcist and Attack on Titan recently, some thoughts resurfaced on why I still prefer print manga. With JManga biting the dust, people are wondering about the future of manga digitally. To tell you the truth, print is still the primary focus for the manga market overall and a preference that I still love for reasons I’m about to get into below.
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To all you folks who want to draw manga, I found an interesting post on a MangaHelpers sub-forum on Weekly Shonen Jump about how new manga should try to appeal to readers. There’s one snippet I would like to highlight and it’s this:
"I guess the main question a mangaka needs to ask themselves in order to write a successful manga is ‘Why?’. Why should we care about your manga? Why should we bother to read it beyond the first chapter? And with such a selective magazine (Weekly Shonen Jump), the mangaka better have that question answered before chapter 1 gets published. I think that’s what separates the exceptional mangaka, like (Yuusei) Matsui and (Eiichiro) Oda, from the mediocre. I guess it’s also what defines the expression ‘doing your homework’."
Which leads to another lesson regarding the importance of asking “why”: never stop learning. There’s always something deeper beneath the surface.
You can read the rest of the post as it is pretty in-depth. Makes you think about when the next worldwide smash hit manga will come.
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Originally, this was supposed to be an article about self-awareness and how it could be the key to help saving the manga industry. And then out of the blue, the big digital manga initiative that was considered to be a “savior of manga”, JManga goes kaput. So what now and does Japan even care?
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If you’ve been checking my Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account, I posted up a couple of links to a 2-part survey that focused on manga readership in Japan and presented as "Manga habits of the Japanese" (Part I and Part II). Both provided some very enlightening details about the state of manga in Japan. While I wasn’t surprised by most of the responses, what intrigued me the most were the responses to questions about electronic manga found in Part II.
These are the three questions I am referring to:
However, there’s still some interest in an e-manga magazine subscription based on the following question.
What does this tell us? That Japanese manga publishers have conditioned folks of all ages over there that print manga is the norm? Now imagine if all the paper and ink factories all break down or get destroyed. Will that change folks’ minds over there, I wonder? Then again, e-books have only just started getting popular in Japan. Finally, if they actually bother to read the survey, does this please Japanese manga publishers to a certain degree regarding print? Some folks would argue that they are sticking too hard to an old-fashioned model. I seriously hope this doesn’t tell Japanese manga publishers to abandon any digital initiatives in Japan. Exorbitant print runs of One Piece aren’t going to last forever.
Although print is still dominant, at least there is some demand for electronic manga and Japanese publishers should use the e-manga portion of the survey for better understanding of those that wouldn’t mind getting electronic subscriptions. It’s an untapped market waiting to explode. A big concern that bothers me is how the low birth-rate of Japan will play a role in all of this. Mostly because technologically-savvy folks tend to be people in their teens to early 30s’ and no one’s getting any younger. Can we say that the future of online manga publishing just got even more interesting?
Though you gotta admit that the feeling of having an actual printed manga volume and magazine in your hands is a great one….
So, my fellow manga readers, is this good news or bad news?
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