Ilan Strasser of Fat Moose Comics in Whippany, New Jersey, saw our article on the number of graphic novel titles growing faster than sales (see 'Graphic Novel Market Still Expanding') and the comment by Joe Krolik of Comics America (see 'Joe Krolik of Comics America on Graphic Novel Sales'), and adds his thoughts:
Joe Krolik is absolutely right in voicing his concerns about a product glut that seems unavoidable in the manga genre. Comic retailers who have been around long enough have seen previous product gluts (Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, comics) lead quite quickly to declining sales. Sometimes, product over saturation leads to total fallout and near total loss of sales as well. The reason? Purchasers are overwhelmed both by choice and the amount of dollars they need to spend to keep up.
Of course, customers can and should choose to buy only those products that interest them and that they can afford, but we have all seen repeated instances, at least in the comics market, where this kind of common sense doesn't always prevail. Faced with the choice of getting everything or nothing, many comics customers over the last 15 years have opted to get nothing. While this is not going to affect the manga market in exactly the same way, I can still see the repercussions of a glut being quite significant for independent retailers without return privileges.
As I said a few months ago, my manga sales have already bitten the dust because I am surrounded by two Barnes & Nobles, two Borders Books, and a Brentanos. They usually have the books before me, so I have lost all my manga customers except two. I am currently attempting to sell of my remaining manga inventory (about 500 books) at 1/2 off. Manga is only a special order item for me from now on.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.