ICv2 interviewed VIZ Media VP-Publishing Sales Kevin Hamric about manga sales and what the book publishing climate is like for VIZ during coronavirus. This is on the heels of ICv2 reporting manga sales going up dramatically during 2020.
“VIZ Media saw a 70% increase in the U.S. market,” Hamric said. “Comic store channel is doing very well. We did not alter our publication schedule at all during the crisis and still have not. Except for that hiccup for those number of weeks when Diamond was shut down, the Direct Market still found ways to get the books, either going directly to Simon & Schuster, or to Ingram, or to anybody where they could get the books.”
VIZ is reprinting a lot of manga, and COVID has caused them some difficulties. “Unfortunately, we’ve got a lot of stockouts. It’s the whole COVID issue with social distancing inside plants, and the number of jobs that printers and binderies are getting from all of publishing, not just us. It’s been taxing the whole supply chain.
“Then, of course, there’s shipping issues, again, with COVID, and the number of truckers that are available, and then the weather delays. There was a fire at one of the binderies so that caused a big delay. It’s been one thing after the other, but we’re working very closely with our printers to keep the books flowing.”
That said, things are optimistic for the future. “We just had a sales conference on our Fall list. It’s probably the biggest Fall list that VIZ has had, possibly ever.”
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.