Already in good shape since 2014-2015, manga sales have been skyrocketing and breaking records for two years. Booksellers, of course, are the first witnesses of this boom. While waiting to offer you new reviews of the manga market at Journal du Japon, we went to see Romane, bookseller specializing in manga for the Krazy Kat bookstore, in Bordeaux. She comes back with us on this phenomenon.
Can you present the bookstore and your background?
The Krazy Kat bookstore is the largest specialized comic book bookstore in Bordeaux. There are Franco-Belgian comics, graphic novels, mangas, comics and figurines. It’s also a coffee bookstore that also serves food… so we have all types of profiles that come through our doors.
Personally, I always knew that I wanted to work in manga, but without a really precise idea behind it. So I did a literary preparatory course, a bachelor’s degree in modern literature and communication and a master’s degree in publishing and comics. As for my colleague, she did the DUT in book trades and the professional degree in bookstores. We were both hired directly at the end of our studies, me in April and her 5 years ago.
What makes Krazy Kat different from other specialty shops in town? Are these shops numerous in Bordeaux?
There are only two specialized bookstores in Bordeaux: Krazy Kat and Album. I think what differentiates us is the size, our shop is bigger and therefore offers more references. The team is also bigger, we are eight now and we are all specialized. We also offer activities such as many dedications, dedikatz (a kind of Pictionary made by comic book authors), meetings, conferences, etc.
Everyone is talking about a historic boom, but what is the state of the manga market today in France for the year 2021?
Indeed the figure has doubled since 2020 with 47 million copies sold in 2021, the market has never done so well, I don’t know if we will see a golden age like this again. An example : good night punpun of Inio Asano went from 25,000 copies sold to 100,000 in 2021.
What is the link, if there is one, with the health crisis and if not what can we attribute this growth to? Are there other causes for this growth?
Many reasons can explain this rise, the pandemic is one of the reasons since due to the confinements people have turned to reading and to anime which lead viewers to take an interest in manga. The culture pass also helped a lot since the majority of 18-year-olds used it to buy manga.
How did this increase in sales materialize at Krazy Kat?
This increase in sales was mainly seen at the level of orders, at the end of May we had made a large order to keep us going all summer and finally it only lasted until the end of June. There are also more releases, many more novelties, etc.
How old are the average customers interested in manga? Have you noticed a manga buyer profile or profiles?
We see all types of readers, whether adults, children, teenagers and more rarely the elderly. The good thing about manga is that everyone can find a story that will touch or interest them, especially with the ever-increasing supply.
What is the percentage of manga sales compared to other comic genres?
At Krazy Kat, the manga corresponds to about 40% of the turnover. (Editor’s note: in volume, in France, 55% of comic books sold were manga according to the GfK institute).
How many titles do you offer for sale and how do you choose from the plethora of manga on offer?
We have approximately between 6000 and 7000 different references. We choose based on demand, anime adaptations and our personal tastes. For novelties, we always take them and we see if the story attracts us and if it is an expected title for the quantities.
Which are the most popular with you?
Our best selling last year was tokyo revenge and the best sellers are also Jujutsu Kaisen, My Hero Academia, Spy x Family, Dragon Ball…
What is your vision of the future to follow this manga madness? Do you have plans to expand your offer?
Indeed, the offer has become too large for our department, so we will offer the first manga bookstore in Bordeaux on May 6, which will be called Manga Kat. There will be 110 square meters of sales area, around 10,000 references and other goodies, and animations.
It’s noted, go to Manga Kat for all Bordeaux manga fans, at 94 Cours d’Alsace-et-Lorrain!
Find Krazy Kat and Manga Kat in line and on social networks.