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US major retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble are having difficulties keeping Manga books in stock, a problem that is going to carry on for the rest of 2021 and into 2022.
The shortage goes back to several factors involving publishers, the printing industry, and Covid-19.
Publishers, working hard to get manga out into shops, face shortages on pallets, paper, and employees, while the major consolidation of the US printing industry over the last few years continues to affect the shortage until now.
COVID-19 pandemic helped to exacerbate some already existing problems within the general book supply chain including port congestion and shipping of books and manga via ships, truck driver shortages, and shipping container costs.
“During COVID, demand for all books rose, leading to an increase in the number of reprint jobs. Printers accordingly worked at maximum capacity and could not accept new jobs in a timely manner,” said Kevin Hamric, Vice President of Publishing Sales, Viz Media.
“Combine this with the fact that printers had to operate under COVID restrictions, as did book distribution warehouses, and the supply chain starts to slow down,” he added.
Kurt Hassler, Yen Press Publisher, also explained that printers dealt with capacity issues for a few years before COVID-19. “This has been compounded by the dramatic increase in manga sales this year, with large orders from key accounts depleting inventory levels that would historically have been sufficient for a year or longer, “he added.
The shortage seems to primarily affect extremely popular titles, such as My Hero Academia, and first volumes. Titles such as Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Promised Neverland, are all currently out of stock on Barnes & Noble’s website, as of publication. Restock estimates for online purchasing are expected between October and December for all three.
Source: Jotaku Network