Cell Phones Boost Saucy Manga Comics Sales in Japan (Among Women)
The manga (Japanese comics) industry in Japan has been in steady decline for the past decade, but it seems an unlikely savior has finally arrived: the cell phone. The New York Times is reporting that direct-to-cell sales of manga have jumped up 43-percent from last year -- a significant jump in and of itself, but even more impressive given the cell phone manga market's typical slow yearly growth. Reasons given for the sudden surge in business include fast cellular networks, good prices with convenient payment processes (charges simply show up on one's monthly phone bill), and the fact that manga simply looks gorgeous on a high resolution back-lit screen.
Perhaps the most interesting detail in the story, though, is that the majority of customers are women. And the manga they're buying? It's a category known as shojo manga, which is targeted towards females and often utilizes themes of love and romance, and sometimes include explicit sexual content. The ability to buy and read shojo on their cell phones versus a physical book saves women from the possible embarrassment of being seen reading it in public, says the article. Men, on the other hand, have overall been sticking with paper manga due to the lost formatting and panel design when shrinking a manga page onto a phone's screen. [From: The New York Times]