ICv2 recently had an interview with the VP of Publishing Sales at VIZ Media, where it was revealed that VIZ’s manga sales went up exponentially in 2020. In an interview with Yen Press Publisher and Managing Director Kurt Hassler, ICv2 was able to uncover another publisher having massive success from manga during the pandemic.
“The manga market, like the rest of publishing, took a significant hit in the second quarter of 2020 as COVID took hold,” Hassler said. “However, as we moved into summer and (to the degree possible given all of the challenges) things began to stabilize somewhat, the manga market took a significant upswing. We entered the fall season enjoying sales significantly higher than what we were seeing in 2019, and in the final analysis, 2020 ended up being a record year for Yen.”
Asked about the market this year, Hassler said, “Though we’re very early into the new year, we’re happy to see the extremely positive momentum from last fall continuing into 2021, to the point where it hardly seems like the holidays have ended. We just closed our fiscal February, and looking at the numbers, you could easily mistake them for November. That’s a very encouraging sign. Obviously, everyone is mindful that the market could see some contraction as other forms of entertainment start to return. That said, if we look at those areas of entertainment that have been traditionally pointed to as detracting from manga sales – most notably video games and television/streaming – both have been very much available during COVID. I’m optimistic that the current strength of the category is indicative of underlying trends that go beyond just a reaction to people having more free time at their disposal, trends we’ve been seeing in the category for years.”
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.