Print and digital book sales combined, generated $15.59 billion USD in Japan, last year. This was an overall increase of 5% from figures published in 2019. This is the second year in a row that sales have exceeded those of the previous year. Digital publishing grew significantly, up 28%. It accounted for 3.79 billion USD, 24% of the total publishing market, exceeding 20% for the first time. Digital manga performed particularly well, increasing 32% to 3.29 billion USD.
Print sales, which include hardcovers, paperbacks, comics and manga books saw a 1% decline in sales, this is the 16th consecutive year that print has been on a downward spiral. Although every year there is a slight dip, the format still makes the most money, over $11 billion USD in 2020. Obviously print still reigns supreme in Japan, primarily driven by manga sales.
Sales of study reference books and children’s books increased due to the simultaneous closure of schools that began in March 2008. On the other hand, both weekly magazines and monthly magazines struggled with a 9% decrease.
What I find interesting, is that Japan has a much smaller population than the US, and manga sales absolutely destroy comic sales. In 2020, it is estimated that print/digital comics & graphic novels generated just over $1 billion dollars USD in 2020.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.