25 Years of Morning
Morning was launched in 1982 under the name Comic Morning and the catch phrase "Morning Gets You Going." In 1986 the magazine's name was changed to Morning. Morning is aimed at people from the working class, and it serializes traditional manga that are more realistic compared to Kodansha"s other magazines. Stories found in Morning are usually based around politics, history, and sports, works from Europe and America can also be found in the magazine from time to time. Currently Morning is released every Thursday by Kodansha for 280 yen. A special issue of Morning, titled Morning 2, was launched in September 2006.
Below is Kohei Furukawa (Chief Editor of Weekly Morning)'s message regarding Morning's 25th anniversary:
Morning Manga Available Online
As part of its 25th anniversary event, on October 23rd Kodansha released 25 of its out-of-print "Morning manga" on the new e-publishing Morning 25th Anniversary e-publishing website on E-book Japan, which is run by eBOOK Initiative Japan Co., Ltd.
This special website was originally a general e-book shop. However, now acting as the official site for Morning"s 25th anniversary, some special events are planned.
Aside from the 25 out-of-print manga that were released, users can also browse works currently being serialized in Morning. The number of pages a visitor can browse varies from each work. This is the first time Kodansha has made its manga available online. According to Kodansha, "We think by making these works available online allows us to better advertise them, and to increase the readership of Morning."
The out-of-print manga that were made available online are:
- Be Free! by Tatsuya Egawa
Each manga costs 420 yen, users can preview them for free and purchase them as e-book.
Morning Manga Exhibition
Between November 9th - 12th, a manga exhibition called "Manga Exhibition - Enjoy Manga, Coffee and Morning in the White Garden" was held at the Aoyama Spiral Hall in Tokyo. The display contained original panels of works from popular Morning artists such as Takehiko Inoue's Vagabond (バガボンド) and Kenshi Hirokane's Kachou Shima Kousaku (課長島耕作).
Takehiko Inoue Artbook Special
The Advantage of E-publishing
Regarding Kodansha's decision to utilize e-publishing in Morning's 25th Anniversary Campaign:
Most publishers nowadays are facing a dilemma – It's easy to sell a copy of a manga as long as the work enjoys overwhelming popularity. However, most work doesn't enjoy that kind of popularity, and so copies of those manga become harder to find. It is also hard to find them at used book shops or on auction websites. These works lose their chance to grab new customers because of insufficient demand for reprint.
A polarized structure is built up in today's manga publishing industry, sales per volume is not expected to increase, and it becomes difficult to resell copies of a book unless the said book is popular. Because there are a variety of readers that have different tastes for manga, major series sell out again and again, but minor works sell only once. Furthermore, very few copies of minor works are printed by publishers during the first printing to avoid risk.
The E-publishing system can change all this. With E-publishing, publishers can re-publish manga in E-book format when demands are low.
This case applies not only to the manga industry, but it also applies to the videogame industry. In the video game industry, digital media for videogame was shifted from game cartridge, which needs mass-production, to CD-ROM, which can be produced quickly at a low cost when demands are low. Besides, selling software online has become increasingly popular, because the publishers don"t need to print leaflets and can distribute it at a lower risk.
Existing media (like CD-ROM in the videogame industry or paper books in the manga industry) also has their own advantage, but today digital media is spreading rapidly, and most people prefer them. E-publishing should be accepted as a way to cover "the long tail" on the net business.
There are three keys in spreading E-publishing. First is to make e-books reader-friendly. Second is to make the price of e-books reasonable. Third is not to make readers think: "I better buy the copy of that book instead."
Special thanks to Michiko