Manga Awards Have No Impact On Sales Of A Title, Publisher Reveals

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In a recent interview with Journal du Japon, Christel Hoolans, General Director of Dargaud, a French publishing house specializing in comics and manga, shed light on the impact of awards on the popularity and sales of manga.

When questioned about the significance of awards, particularly in the context of manga, Hoolans emphasized that while Japanese awards such as the Manga Taisho are recognized and celebrated among fans, they do not directly translate into increased sales. Despite generating buzz on the internet and garnering attention from enthusiasts, the correlation between awards and sales remains elusive.

Regardless of its effect on sales, Christel acknowledged the importance of these awards, highlighting their role in attracting the attention of booksellers and journalists.

“…Indeed, the biggest fans follow the Japanese awards; they are aware of them. On the internet, there can be a buzz around them, but it doesn’t have any impact on sales at all. We highlight it on our website or on our social media because it’s an interesting recognition, to attract the attention of booksellers and journalists… so we provide the information.

But there’s no impact. In any case, we’ve never been able to analyze it in an obvious way by noting, for example, that ‘since the announcement of the award, we’ve doubled our sales.’ That has never happened.

Umezawa Shun’s Darwin Jihen manga perfectly illustrates this point. Despite winning the prestigious Manga Taisho Award and receiving critical praise, the manga hasn’t yet found a large audience in France.

According to her, the situation isn’t much different in France, where major awards like the Angoulême International Comics Festival Prize (Fauve d’Or) might only see a small sales bump for niche titles, but the overall impact is negligible.

…the impact is really very weak, if not almost zero on sales, whether in comics or manga… Well, let’s say if we take the example of the Fauve d’Or, which is generally awarded to a niche title, we can go from 500 sales before to 1,000 copies after, so we double, but starting from a very low level. And this only works because it’s the main prize; the rest have even less effect.

But obviously, it has an impact on the author, on their publisher, we get plenty of articles, we talk about their work… It’s great to have an award, of course, I’m not saying it’s useless, quite the opposite. It’s just that it doesn’t help sales.

However, she highlighted the importance of awards in the professional realm, providing recognition and validation for authors and publishers.

It’s great for the author: for themselves, their career, their CV, from that point of view, it’s very important.

She then lamented the absence of a French equivalent to the influential Prix Goncourt, which has been known to dramatically increase book sales. Reflecting on past experiences within the Media Participations group, Hoolans noted the transformative impact of receiving a Goncourt, with sales sometimes multiplying by tenfold.

But we don’t have anything equivalent to the Goncourt. Which is quite annoying, actually, and we talk about it regularly among publishers but also at the SNEBD, etc. because the Goncourt has a multiplier effect on sales, whether it’s the youth Goncourt or the one in general literature.

We were lucky to receive a Goncourt in the Media Participations group and I saw the effect of the award and sales skyrocketing, sometimes multiplied by 10. For comparison in the literary field, the Prix Femina and the Prix Renaudot don’t have the same impact as the Goncourt.

Concluding the discussion, Christel affirmed that while awards serve as commendable recognitions of artistic merit and quality work, their influence on sales remains limited. Nevertheless, they hold significance within the professional realm, contributing to an author’s career trajectory and the reputation of their publisher.

Source: Journal du Japon

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