All indications are that manga continued its turnaround in 2014, with a second year of growth after a long decline.  ICv2 has been estimating the market for manga in the U.S. and Canada since 2002, and things began to look up in 2013 after a big rise and fall with a peak in 2007 (see "Highlights from the 'ICv2 White Paper'"), which was then followed by years of rapid decline (around a 2/3 drop, cumulatively).  The market in 2013 grew 8% to around $70 million retail in the U.S. and Canada, an improvement over the $65 million in 2012, but a far cry from the peak of over $200 million just six years previously.  A big driver of sales was a new hit, Attack on Titan, which not only contributed significant sales on its own, but also gave a new sheen to the entire category.

Although we haven’t completed our cross-channel analysis of manga sales in 2014, early indications are positive in both the comic store and book channels.  VIZ Media, the largest North American manga publisher, had increased sales across channels, with particularly strong growth in the direct market, according to VIZ Senior Director Sales and Marketing Kevin Hamric (see "Interview with VIZ's Kevin Hamric, Part 1").  VIZ shojo sales in comic stores were very strong, up over 20% (although undoubtedly on a fairly small base).

Book channel sales of manga also were strongly up, according to an analysis of BookScan numbers by retailer Brian Hibbs, who reported that he found 2014 book channel manga dollars up over 15% in his column on Comic Book Resources.

The book channel has historically been where most manga is sold, and it seems unlikely that has changed recently.  ICv2 did an analysis of Summer 2014 and found that during that period, 90% of manga sales took place in the book channel.

But in the current period, it appears that regardless of the channel, manga sales are climbing, so there’s plenty of opportunity to go around.  Watch for more on direct market manga sales in a story later this week.