For me, my monthly habit of purchasing manga volumes has practically stopped. Nowadays, I go to Barnes & Noble to just look for interesting series. After finding one of interest, I wait for it to arrive in the library or look for a site that scanned it with fan translations. I am not proud of the latter option, but what can I do on a budget? For nearly the same price, novels contain more pages and I finish them in about a week. On the other hand, I can get through a manga volume within half an hour. As much as I love the stories and re-reading to pay more attention to little details in the art, it is simply not cost-effective. If there were more chapters included in a manga volume, I would be more inclined to buy it.
I was exploring the manga section of Barnes & Noble today when I noticed a Fruits Basket Collector’s Edition. Nearly dismissing it as a volume with extra stickers or a poster, I almost walked past it until I noticed how thick the volume was. Flipping through the pages, I realized it contained volumes 1 and 2 of the series. Another bonus was that it did not cost too much more than a standard volume.
Jason Thompson , on io9, explains one possible solution to lagging manga sales is to provide a more electronic method to access chapters. If such a method is implemented well enough that you can purchase online copies at a reasonable price, I would gladly start buying manga again (bonus: I wouldn’t have to cram them into my already full bookshelves).
Numerous challenges await in the electronic endeavor, but until then, I think it would benefit publishers if they added more chapters to the printed volumes, at least in countries other than Japan. Just about everyone who reads manga in the U.S. knows that the translated books here are behind the printed content in Japan, so we go to scanlation sites to read the most up-to-date stuff. By adding more chapters, it would (hopefully) make the price per page more worthwhile for people who do not have the money to spend $12+ to read for half an hour.