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Print Market in Japan Decreases Only 1% in 2020, Partly Due to 'Demon Slayer Boom'

posted on by Alex Mateo
Physical publishing industry's smallest per-year decline since 2006

The monthly publication journal Shuppan Geppо̄ revealed on Monday that Japanese sales of print books and magazines fell 1% in 2020 compared to the previous year. This is the smallest per-year decline since 2006. The journal attributes the small decline due to an increase in reading in Japan as a result of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as well as the successful "boom" of Koyoharu Gotouge's Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba manga and its related publications. Sales of children's books also increased following school closures due to COVID-19.

Sales of print publications reached 1.2 trillion yen (about US$11.8 billion) in 2020, which marks the 16th year in a row of declining sales. Books sales decreased 0.9% to 666 billion yen (about US$6.4 million), and magazines decreased 1.1% to 558 billion yen (about US$5.4 million).

Sales of electronic publications grew to 393 billion yen (about US$477 million), up 28.0% from the previous year, marking the second consecutive year of growth. Electronic manga sales increased significantly due to the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba manga. The combined market for both print and electronic publications grew 4.8% over the previous year, reaching 1.6 trillion yen (about US$15.4 billion). Sales of electronic books accounted for 24.3% of the total publication market in 2020.

In 2019, Japanese sales of print books and magazines fell 4.3% from the previous year.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has sold 102.892 million copies overall as of December 6. It is now the second manga series in Oricon's records to sell over 100 million copies. The first series to achieve this feat was One Piece in 2012. The Demon Slayer series' 23rd and final volume sold 2.855 million copies from November 30 to December 6, the most that any manga volume has sold in one week since Oricon began reporting its book ranking charts in April of 2008.

The franchise was the first since 2008 to dominate both Oricon's annual general book ranking and annual manga ranking in the same year. The manga sold an estimated 82,345,447 copies from November 18, 2019 to November 22, 2020. It was also the first franchise to take the top 22 slots on the annual manga ranking chart by volume. In addition, the limited editions of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba volume 20 and 21 claimed the #27 and #28 spots, so the series occupied 24 of the top 30 spots. When regular and limited editions are combined, each of its first 22 volumes sold over three million copies in the 12 months preceding December 2020.

Sources: Japan Times, Public Interest Incorporated Associations National Publishing Association

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