An Analysis of Weekly Manga Magazines Price for the Past 30 Years
In response to an article claiming weekly manga magazines is becoming more and more expensive, the Japanese blog "Justification of Information, Print Media or Story Addiction" recently published an article analyzing the price of weekly manga magazines in the last 30 years, and concludes that the price of weekly manga magazines have remained stagnant for the past 30 years.
Weekly Manga Magazines Price Remains Stagnant for the Last 30 Years
If I am not mistaken, the prices of recent weekly manga magazines for boys range from 240 to 250 yens. I see here and there articles claiming that the price of manga magazine was cheaper in the past compared to now, as the prices of magazines have risen recently (*1). However, there is some misunderstanding in this assumption.
The price of weekly manga magazines for boys, when converted to price per page (price/whole pages), is around 0.5 yen per page. This figure has not risen since the mid 1970's. It can even be said that the price of magazines is decreasing if one compares the price of magazines to the price-increase of other goods. (Reference: Price Increase Rate)
The reason why this is happening is that the number of works per issue and the total number of pages are increasing in accordance with the set price. For example, the number of serialized works and new works is consistently increasing in the case of Weekly Shonen Jump - the number of serialized works and their contents can be found here. (Now if only the price and pages per work are included as well...)
A detailed list of prices and the number of pages can be found in the table below, based on data from past articles and information provided by the magazines.
*Of course, the list only contains an estimate of the annually extracted data, since the number of pages (*2) and the price (*3) are not consistent with each. However, the list does provide a good overview of estimated trend.
A graph of the unit price per page:
After the drastic price increase around the time of the Oil Shock in the 1970's (*4), the unit price has scarcely changed in relation to the increase in the number of pages, which increased in parallel to the increase of the price. As the actual cost (*5) continues to rise, the magazine's role is largely considered to be advertisement for manga tankoubons, which utilizes the concept of "profit by losing."
However, the method of increasing the number of pages instead of increasing the price may someday fail. That someday could be the day when the thickness of the manga magazine surpasses the space available on magazine display stands at station stands and convenience stores, both of which are the current marketing battleground for manga magazines. It could also be when the thickness of the magazine surpasses the weight-carrying limit of the hand.
When that day comes, magazines will disappear and be replaced by the paperless digitalization of contents. However, right now there is still a fierce competition between print magazines and e-publishing, and the result of this competition may decide the system's collapsing point.
*By the way, in the case of manga tankoubons, the price is increasing while the number of pages has scarcely changed; however, this is another subject which may be covered another day.
[ 1 ] e.g. "The price of Weekly Shonen Jump has been rising gradually" - Comic Bulletin (Manga Sokuho)
Original Article from Justification of Information, Print Media or Story Addiction