Figures released by Japan's Research Institute of Publications show that sales of manga in Japan fell to 481 billion yen (about US$4.1 billion) in 2006, a decrease of 4% from the previous year. This marked the fifth straight year of dropping sales. The number of volumes of manga magazines sold in the country stood at 754 million, down from a 1995 high of 1.34 billion copies.
Japanese and American researchers are proposing several explanations for the drop in sales and readership numbers. These include an overall decrease in the percentage of young people in Japan, simple lack of interest in reading, and, according to manga critic and translator Matt Thorn, a growing dissatisfaction with the lack of originality found in many manga. At the same time, as the Reseach Institute for Publications also found, sales of manga for mobile phones are rising, reaching 4.6 billion yen (US$39 million) in 2005 and as much as twice that last year.
Source: USA Today