A number of readers have expressed interest in seeing the full results of our recent reader survey, so here we are! We’ll talk a bit about what it all means in a moment, but first, the results:
Enough with the graphics! What does it all mean?
A general overview of the survey paints the following picture of the average Manga Bookshelf reader:
You’re most likely to be an adult woman: 90% of our readership is adults over the age of 22 (past college undergraduate age), and 48% are over 30. 65% are women and girls—that’s nearly twice the amount of our male readership.
You buy a lot of manga: Over 75% of our readers report buying between 1-20 volumes of manga a month, with 16% buying more, and just a few reporting that they don’t buy any at all in a typical month. Some readers reported that they borrow most of their manga from the library, or that they tend to buy sporadically, in binges, or mainly at conventions. One reader admitted to reading scanlations because manga isn’t available to buy in her home country (Pakistan).
You’re not yet sold on digital: Digital manga is a sadder tale, with over 60% reporting that none of their purchases is likely to be digital, though the number of digital buyers is still at 35%. Some “other” responses included readers who mainly buy their manga in print but go digital for other comics, and some who said that they don’t buy any now, but had JManga accounts before the site closed. Some are waiting for their favorite out of print manga to turn up digitally.
You’re probably not buying Naruto: In terms of manga demographic categories, shoujo and seinen are readers’ top choices, both beating out shounen manga, which tends to include the mainstream powerhouses (Naruto, Bleach), while categories like josei, boys’ love, and yuri all make strong showings as well. “Other” responses included classic manga, gekiga, “fifth column” and manhwa.
You probably are buying from Vertical: Publisher preferences skew pretty closely to the number of releases, with prolific companies like Viz Media and Yen Press coming out on top. Though it’s notable that Vertical, a relatively small publisher, is heavily patronized by our readership (and actually ranked above Kodansha Comics for quite a while over the course of the poll). One major omission on our part was Drawn & Quarterly, which received a number of “other” mentions, along with a few mentions of companies like PictureBox and Udon, some defunct North American publishers, European publishers like Carlsen and Tokyopop Deutschland, and imports straight from Japan.
It’s probably not surprising that our readership differs significantly from that seen in the recent poll at Comics Should Be Good, at least in terms of gender demographics, given our manga-specific focus and our female-heavy roster of contributors. It perhaps naturally follows that our readers are less hooked on the most mainstream manga series (shounen) than CBR/CSBG’s readers are on the closest western comics equivalent (superheroes), though clearly we’re all slow to take to digital distribution.
Did you miss out on participating in our reader survey? Do you have thoughts about the results? Leave your comments below!