Manga sales are reaching all-time highs these days. While that may be spectacular to hear, there is a downside. A manga shortage is sweeping across all of North America, as reported by Brigid Alverson of ICv2.
Manga Sales Reaching New Heights
One main problem is that manga is selling like never before. This is largely in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When quarantine around North America started, sales in manga spiked.
One, in particular, is My Hero Academia Vol. 1. The volume has been on the New York Times best-selling Graphic Novels/Manga chart 15 out of the last 19 months. The series as a whole has been on The New York Times’ list of best-selling graphic books and manga every single month since January 2020, except from the period of June 2020.
In May 2021, when COVID-19 became a national threat, seven of the top-15 listings were manga. That’s more than any other month dating back to October 2019. Titles include My Hero Academia, Jujutsu Kaisen, Demon Slayer, Chainsaw Man, and the new hit manga series Spy x Family.
Big Retailers Are Selling Out
Due to high demand, big-time retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble have their stock wiped clean.
“It’s been difficult to estimate what the need will be when stores are getting completely cleared out and placing large reorders on a weekly basis,” states Ben Applegate, Director of Publishing at Penguin Random House. He goes on to reiterate that they are trying to increase both staff and facilities to meet the demands.
In a post by Publishers Weekly, lack of truck drivers and being able to source trailers to move books are currently a huge problem. If manga volumes can’t be moved, they can’t be sold. The article also states the United States is “working through a year’s worth of pent-up demand.”
Demand Is Affecting Family-Owned Businesses
Anime Corner spoke to a local shop manager in Canada that is also having similar problems. This person asked us to remain anonymous.
“It can take a few weeks before the books show up,” they said. “Some can be delayed and trickle in over the next month or, at the worst, months. I’m constantly ordering random series [and] volumes and random ones show up every week, it’s hard to see which ones don’t show up. But I’m fairly certain MHA and Demon Slayer have been issues.”
In fact, the demand for manga is so high that even lesser-known series are flying off shelves. “We’ve also noticed more people are picking up less popular titles,” they said. “Basically, any series they can get their hands on. RWBY, Junji Ito, Pokemon, and Cardcaptor Sakura have also been super popular.”
Unfortunately, due to global supply issues, it’s extremely difficult for smaller businesses to get certain manga during this shortage, especially those in higher demand.
“Restocking has also been an issue, due to the global supply chain problems,” they said. “There are series that are sold out entirely, and some with a number of unavailable volumes. When I place an order, it’s hard to know whether I’ll ever get the books or not.”
Be Patient, Manga Fans
None of us know how long this manga shortage will continue. Keep checking in with local shops to see if they have what you’re looking for. In the meantime, Anime Corner will provide manga updates when we receive them. So, make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on the current situation.
Demon Slayer Image via Crunchyroll / ©「僕のヒーローアカデミア」製作委員会©堀越耕平／集英社