Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Last Manga in Paris

Do you manga?

Millions of teens and tweens already do. Every day, they rush to bookstores or their computers to buy the latest manga releases. Manga--Japanese comic books--have become increasingly popular in this country. American teens were quickly drawn to the novelty of reading books back to front and right to left. The comics--or more accurately, the graphic novels--are now an estimated $125 million dollar market according to a recent article in the New York Times.

The manga craze began with boy comics, called shonen, and spread to girl comics, called shojo. According to the Times, girls and women now account for about 60% of the market with the strongest readership among girls aged twelve to seventeen.

The themes of the shojo manga are surprisingly adult and deal with issues such as love and relationships, sex and alienation. Sound familiar? Well, starting in December of this year, Harlequin romances is going to begin producing two lines of manga novels in the States: one for teens and the other for readers in their early 20's. Since 1998, Harlequin has been releasing their novels in manga format in Japan.

In addition, this month, Del Rey, a division of Random House, announced a new PR initiative for their own manga line. According to the AnimeNewsNetwork.com, thirty days prior to a new manga release, Del Rey will begin publishing a page a day of the upcoming book. Their hope obviously is that readers will return each day to view the new material and hype the book among friends and fellow manga enthusiasts.

If you want to see a sample of the new Del Rey preview project, try:
www.delreymanga.com/gachagacha, which is the novel Gacha Gacha.

If you haven't yet checked the Graphic Novels section of your local bookstore, you might want to cruise on over to that aisle and do some browsing.

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