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Online Survey Explains Why Mail Order Doujinshi Aren't Selling in Wake of Canceled Events

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Due to COVID-19, a number of doujinshi events scheduled this year, including Comic Market (Comiket), have been canceled or downsized to prevent the spread of infection. A Japanese blogger by the name of "Director D" posted the results and analysis of a survey they conducted on Twitter regarding the reasons why doujin event goers won't purchase the doujinshi they are interested in through mail order in lieu of the event itself.

According to a screenshot of the Twitter survey (which the author says they have deleted from their account in the interest of privacy), it received 42,696 votes and 56.4% of respondents chose the option stating that they don't buy doujinshi through mail order because of the price. Director D noted that this was a strange reason, considering that the price of attending Comiket, including food, lodgings, travel, far outweighs the cost of mail order shipping. However, 28% of users responding to or quote-retweeting the survey said that they can't muster the energy to buy doujinshi when there is no event, which Director D believes may be the underlying reason why fans aren't buying doujinshi through mail order in the wake of canceled events.

"Indeed, there are times when people buy things because the act of purchasing is the fun part," Director D observed. "At these times, people spend money not for the object but because of the feeling that being a customer is fun. Waking up early, getting yourself pumped up, and putting on nice clothes... Whether it's friends or an artist you look up to, there's fun to be had in meeting people you wouldn't normally see unless there's an event. You can also enjoy eating out after the event, if you're so inclined, and in those cases, the travel and lodging costs feel worth it."

Director D also cites the lack of centralized information regarding new releases as another reason for the lack of sales. They suggested that artists should follow a template and organize under hashtags on social media in order to make their works easier to find for people browsing the internet.

The Comiket 98 event that was planned to take place from May 2-5 was canceled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The event was planned for May instead of the normal August timeframe due to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics scheduled to take place in July-August. However, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are now postponed to a planned July 23, 2021 start.

The Comic Market Committee announced in July that it is aiming to move the planned winter Comic Market (Comiket 99) event from this winter to the Golden Week holidays in 2021 (which will take place in April and May, 2021).

Comiket's absence this year has had a negative effect on artists and printers. In May, paper making company Kitamura Kamiten filed for bankruptcy. According to reporting by J-Cast, printing company Eikou made between 20-50% of revenue in the last six months compared to the same periods last year.

Some smaller doujinshi events are still taking place. The Sunshine Creation 2020 Summer event in Ikebukuro's Sunshine City occurred as scheduled on August 2.

Source: Director D's note via Heidi Kemps

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