Another news item about brick and mortar or rather paper and ink gone digital. In Japan Manga is going mobile and making the industry a lot more profitable. Such headlines are commonplace – insert a product and it’s now virtual in the form of a free or paid app. In its most general form Manga is Japanese for comics. They’re not necessarily similar to American comics but they have a following none-the-less. The industry was in a waning state until recently when comic downloads to mobile phones led to a new revenue stream.
Drilling through the data, enquiring minds wanted to know what was driving this business. And yes, digital is its own explanation. But there was more. Japanese men still prefer to read their comics in the traditional paper comic book form. But Japanese women are all about Manga on Mobile. It is thought that 70 percent of the mobile phone Manga readers are women. This state of Manga affairs led to much speculation and analysis. Why did women migrate to the mobile phone, ready to pay for their Manga downloads? Are they just that much more advanced than men?
The answers are never as easy as the questions. It could be that Japan with its 100 percent high-speed internet coverage allows for more convenience. It could be high level technology in the phones that lead to an overall positive user experience. It could be many things and it probably is – but some are looking at another reason. It turns out that the best selling titles for the mobile market are Manga romances. And this is not just your mother’s romance novel. These are racy in ways that are rarely discussed publicly in Japan. So while the printed version is out in the open for all eyes to see and judge, the mobile phone Manga offers privacy – well, except for those rude people on the train who train their eyeballs on your screen. But once again – you just never know where a trend begins.
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