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The retail news source ICv2 reported at its ICv2 Comics, Media, and Digital Conference last week that North American sales for manga fell from US$140 million in 2009 to US$120 million in 2010 — a decrease of 15 percent. Manga sales in 2007 and 2008 were US$210 million and US$175 million, respectively, which means that sales have decreased by 43% in the three years between 2007 and 2010. The sales drop in 2010 is actually smaller than the 20% that ICv2 estimated last October.
The drop in North American manga sales is even steeper in terms of yen due to the weakening dollar; sales dropped from the equivalent of 25 billion yen in 2007 to 10.5 billion yen in 2010.
However, ICv2 said there are signs that the sales decline in manga in North America is slowing this year, if not ending. Sales in the first quarter of 2011 were down 10%, compared to the declines of 17%, 23%, and 15% in the same period in 2008, 2009, and 2010, respectively.
The overall North American comic marketplace, including Japanese manga, dropped 7% to US$635 million in 2010 — the third straight year of decline. "Floppy" magazine-style comic sales dropped 8%, while compiled graphic novel volumes dropped 5%. ICv2 attributed the slump to the overall economic environment as well as the downturn in retail store environment as represented by the bankruptcy of the Borders bookstore chain.
On the other hand, the North American digital comic market grew from US$500,000 to US$1 million in 2009 to US$6-8 million this year.
ICv2 noted four topic points in the North American manga marketplace in the past year: Viz Media maintained its strong #1 market share, Tokyopop left the manga business, Kodansha entered the market, and Yen Press rose to #2 in market share.
The ICv2 Comics, Media, and Digital Conference was held on the eve of Comic-Con International on July 20.
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