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Monday, January 05, 2009

Your Essential Monday Morning Read -- There's no better way to start off your morning, your week, and your year than reading Christopher Butcher's Future of Manga essay. Butcher looks at where Manga sales are at right now, in both mainstream bookstores and the Direct Market of superhero convenience shops comic book stores, and looks ahead not only at what he expects in 2009, but how the system can be improved for all concerned.

Fact: Many comic book stores could substantially improve their bottom line by wisely developing or improving their stock of Manga. If you own a comic book store, chances are that there is a Borders or Barnes and Noble near you that is selling tons of comics (Japanese comics, yes, but so what?) right out from under your nose. It continues to boggle my mind why any canny businessperson would want to leave money on the table like that, but you don't have to visit too many comic book stores to see that that is exactly what is happening.

Anyway, go read Butcher on this. It's fascinating reading and an easy-to-digest prescription for a better comic book industry in North America. Will comic book stores swallow their medicine? Probably not, but I'm betting some of the smart ones will read Butcher's thoughts and at least start to see where their stores -- and their financial bottom line -- could be improved in the year ahead. In the end, it's a win-win for everybody from Manga publishers, to Diamond, to superhero fans whose stores would be on more solid ground with a better chance of surviving and maybe even thriving in the future.

And think, all they have to do is sell comics.

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