Hello everyone. Are you a reader of physical paper books? Or are do you read electronic ones? I’m sure that you have all heard that the paper book industry is currently on the decline, but exactly how long has the shift from paper to digital media been going on? We have just conducted an analysis of the extent to which manga magazines and electronic manga are currently in use through a massive questionnaire survey that reached over 10,000 people (*1), and we would like to introduce you to some of our findings.
■Those who think of electronic manga as their most read manga medium rank the highest
We asked the subjects to choose one manga-related service that they have used in the last year and consider to be their absolute most read one from among a total of 60 different mediums within the manga magazine and electronic manga categories. Our results showed that 19.9% responded with Weekly Shonen Jump, which is a measure of the magazine’s long-standing strength and consistency. In second place was Line Manga (7.3%), and ranking 3rd was Comico (7.2%) with its e-books.
Let’s look at differences across age and gender. Let’s first focus on males. Weekly Shonen Jump shows the strongest level of popularity among males across the wide age range of junior high school students to men in their fifties. However, for ranks two and below, we’ve noticed some distinctions based on age. Line Manga ranks fifth among male junior high school students and Comico ranks first among male high schoolers, while Line Manga is third, MangaBox is fourth, and Niconico Seiga is fifth. For men in their twenties, Comico is second, Niconico Seiga is fourth, and Shonen Jump+ is fifth. The electronic media formats truly dominate the top rankings among men in the younger generation. On the other hand, when we look at men in their thirties and above, the top five ranks are all filled by paper media. It stands to reason that trends in manga reading are divided distinctly between generations.
Now let’s look at the trends among females. Among readers at junior high school age and above, electronic media is clearly leaps and bounds ahead of the others. Of all the different services, Line Manga in first place and Comico in second place alone comprise 55.8% of responses among female high school students. Roughly half of female high schoolers chose the electronic format as their most read manga medium. The electronic rental service Renta! also proved to have an important, distinctive role. It ranked second among women in their forties and fifties. Renta! is, after all, a service that has been running commercials targeted at adult women, so I suppose it must be having some success attracting the target audience.
■Those who like paper magazines are men in their thirties and women in their forties
The age and gender ratios of readers of the top five manga magazines intended for a male audience with the highest consumption rate in the last year (Weekly Shonen Jump, Weekly Shonen Magazine, Weekly Young Jump, Weekly Shonen Sunday, and Weekly Young Magazine) include men in their thirties as the largest proportion, comprising 20%. At the other end, the primary readers of magazines intended for women (Bessatsu Margaret, Hana to Yume, LaLa, Be Love, Kiss, and You) are women in their forties, who make up 19%.
From this survey, we can see that electronic manga permeates the young audience over the older one, and male readers over female ones. However, it also showed that the paper medium is still dominant among men over the age of thirty.
There is, of course, a variety of reasons to choose one medium over the others. These reasons most likely vary between different genders and age groups.
A thorough analysis of the reasons why some choose paper and others choose electronic media will likely expose the needs and tastes of the modern age, something that the book media industry is widely searching for.
(Author: Maki Kobayashi)
(*１) “Fields Yoka Survey 2017”
An online questionnaire survey conducted in December of 2016 with 11,646 male and female subjects from all over the country aged anywhere from elementary school age to 69, regarding personal values and how one spends their spare time.