Manga is currently the fastest growing publishing category in the US. According to NPD Bookscan, in 2021 manga sales were up 160% compared to 2020. A similar success is being reported around the world, including sales up 75% in Germany according to Deutsche Welle and sales up 107% in France in 2021 compared to 2020 according to Les Echos.

Alongside market leaders such as VIZ Media and Kodansha, several publishers are entering the manga market this year. Titan Comics is launching a manga imprint called Titan Manga, while the Quarto Group is partnering with digital manga and comic brand Saturday AM to produce a publishing program of manga-inspired comics showcasing creators across the globe, from Senegal to New Zealand.

But it isn’t just manga: publishers are reporting strong sales for books from other Asian countries too. Invented in South Korea, webtoon serializes manga-style comics on smartphones and dominates the bestseller list with titles such as Solo Leveling from Yen Press and Magical Boy from Scholastic. Publisher Seven Seas Entertainment had a US bestseller fantasy series with Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, translated from Chinese. Tuttle Publishing has a slate of graphic novels from the Philippines, including The Mythology Class, the first comic book to win the Philippines National Book Award.

To help publishers and agents worldwide benefit from the rise of manga and Asian content, the 2022 Sharjah Publishers Conference is hosting a panel with industry experts. The four speakers will be Kevin Hamric, Vice President of Publishing Sales at VIZ Media from the US; Daihei Shiohama, President and CEO at Media Do International from Japan; Dr. Essam Al Bukhary, Editor in Chief at Manga Arabia from Saudi Arabia and JuYoun Lee, Editor in Chief and Deputy Publisher at Yen Press.

VIZ Media is an American manga publisher, anime distributor, and entertainment company headquartered in San Francisco. It is owned by Japanese publishers Shueisha and Shogakukan and Japanese production company ShoPro and is the largest publisher of graphic novels in the US, with bestsellers including Demon Slayer and My Hero Academia.

Media Do’s business activities include digital content distribution, system development, supply, planning, production, and sales of books and manga. Its divisions include MyAnimeList, a website serving the global market focused on Japanese anime and manga, and Firebrand Technologies, a publishing workflow management and bibliographic information management services company.

The Saudi Research & Media Group launched Manga Arabia in 2021. The new imprint has two offerings, Manga Arabia Kids, with content catering to the 10-15-year-old group, and Manga Arabia Youth, targeting those aged 16 and above. Manga Arabia will publish original Arabic content inspired by manga and titles translated from leading Japanese publishers.

Yen Press is an American manga and graphic novel publisher co-owned by Kadokawa Corporation and Hachette Book Group. In 2022, Yen Press launched Ize Press, an imprint for publishing Korean webtoons and novels.

This panel will dive into the market forces driving sales such as anime being widely available on video streaming platforms, highlighted by Sony’s $1.18 billion purchase of anime streaming company Crunchyroll in 2021. We will investigate the rise of webtoon and how to adapt its content for book publishing. For example, Korean technology and media company Naver’s WEBTOON has 167 million monthly active readers, is available in nine languages, and published the print editions of Lore Olympus with Penguin Random House, which became a New York Times bestseller. Panellists will also explore the rise of Chinese content such as Danmei, a fiction genre focused on romanticized tales of love that have been adapted for television by Netflix and successful publishing programs in translation and will offer insight into how to publish and market the different genres, the distribution channels, and how best to work with agents and publishers from China, Japan, and South Korea.

Kuo-yu Liang is the President of Ku Worldwide and advisor to companies on M&A and business development, and will moderate the panel The Growing Global Market for Manga, Webtoon and Asian Style Content to be held on 31 October at 12.30pm