Japanese Manga and Light Novel Sales Up After Piracy Site Shut Down
Written by Flamecaster, edited by Otaku Apologist
In April 2018, the popular Japanese manga piracy site Mangamura shut down after a police investigation.
Since the site’s closing, various manga artists have spoken out claiming that sales of their series have increased. While none of the artists gave concrete data, they believe that more users are turning to legal versions with the site’s closing.
Toriko Gin of “Kimi wo Shinasenai tame no Storia” says her digital sales more than doubled since Mangamura’s closing. Hika Mayama “Yoru no Himitsu wa Sensei to” shared, “Really, my royalties have increased 4-5 times! Even when it isn’t free, you all are reading it! I’m crying right now!”
Sakuya Amano (Konohana Kitan / Gosick) wrote that official manga websites have been experiencing increased traffic, though he didn’t state examples or figures. Yoshitoshi Abe of “Serial Experiments Lain” and Mitsuru Yuuki of “Shonen Onmyouji“ shared their joy and thanked fans for legally supporting favorite titles.
Light novel author Akinori Satake of “Gyaku Seichou Cheat de Sekai Saikyou“ said that his book sales have also increased. He also attacks a key piracy talking point. Satake said that pirates falsely claim that illegal sites increase name recognization and that no one would buy something they could get for free. He believes that those are just “convenient excuses” and that the growing sales since Mangamura’s closing can serve as a counter-point.
The news comes amidst Shogakukan’s anti-piracy campaign. They believe that spreading awareness of legal digital options can help eradicate the popularity of piracy.
While manga piracy sites both of the Western and Eastern variety help to popularize specific types of works to wider audiences there is little evidence to go on how they actually affect physical or digital sales. Correlation does not equal causation and the particular boost of manga and light novel sales that some creators report might be influenced by many other factors, which for the time being, are beyond the scope of this article.
Additionally, as any professional advertiser knows, any “bursts of sales” are often temporary.