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Selling Books in a Niche Market: Boys’ Love Manga

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  1. Introduction
  2. The yaoi genre of manga
  3. Manga books
    1. The usual trim size
    2. Publishing manga
    3. The target audience
  4. The woman and the stereotype that older people are afraid of new things
  5. Some interesting marketing issues
    1. Selling comics containing nudity
    2. An online store
    3. Yaoi: Choosing purchases by looking at the cover
    4. Depending on word of mouth to come to know about new titles
  6. Conclusion
  7. Works cited

Marketing is a crucial element of any successful publishing enterprise, especially for a book that is intended for a niche market. When the target audience is small, it is infinitely more important to market the books strategically. Otherwise, a publishing house risks losing its core audience, the customers of a niche market. Boys' love (or yaoi) manga is intended for one such niche market.
This paper will explore the marketing practices of the yaoi manga publishing industry in America, and the reasons behind those practices. The marketing efforts of this genre are unique because of the specialized audience. To help illustrate a complete picture of the yaoi market, I've compiled research from other sources, and have also conducted an online survey of potential book buyers. I also spoke to boys' love manga publishers via e-mail and visited local bookstores to see how the yaoi manga appears at the point of sale. But first: what is yaoi manga?

[...] One yaoi manga reader said in the survey, ?Unless you've read a lot of manga you probably couldn't tell it was yaoi from its cover alone anyway, so the stores don't have to worry about children or easily scarred people.? On the cover, the title always appears in larger typeface than the manga-ka's name. Very few manga-ka have become incredibly recognizable in America, with the exception Sanami Matoh, whose new books feature a large banner on the cover saying ?From the Creator of FAKE?. [...]

[...] I can't say why these girls were in such a hurry, but it might illustrate a few points about the yaoi manga buyer. First, the shopper knew exactly what she was looking for before entering the store. She may have been waiting for the release of this new issue for months, and she knew where she could find it. This was probably accomplished with the aide of the internet. Second, she knew there would be temptation to purchase more manga afterwards, either in the same series or another one by the same manga-ka (writer/illustrator). [...]

[...] Boys' love manga books look much the same as their mainstream counterparts. The usual trim size in 5 x 7.5 inches, though some publishers like June Manga, the yaoi imprint of Digital Manga Publishing, choose the larger 6 x 8.25 inches. The book pages are typically black and white illustrations, as color would be extremely costly for a book this graphic-heavy. The bulk of the manga published in America is translated from Japanese, and so the books retain the back-to-front format. [...]

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