National retailer QBD Books is bringing its inaugural Mini-Con to Penrith, showcasing the booming ‘manga’ genre of books, comics and graphic novels, which has surged in popularity in the last five years.
Mini-Con is a free event that draws inspiration from the popular Oz Comic-Con and Supanova conventions – which centre on manga, anime, cosplay, and video games – and aims to bring a convention feel to regional consumers, who may not always be able to access these predominantly city-based events.
Running in special pop-up locations in Westfield Penrith from Thursday, September 7 to Sunday, September 10, Mini-Con will feature four days of manga giveaways, gift vouchers, cosplay competitions, and manga/anime character standees.
The promotion forms part of QBD’s wider Book Fest activation, which is running across Australia.
While manga has an already-established fan base in Australia, QBD has seen an enormous amount of growth in the sector, says QBD Books CEO Nick Croydon.
“There has been a continuing growth in the popularity of manga in Australia since 2017, when publishers Simon & Schuster picked up the media imprint for the US-based Viz manga titles, making this genre more readily accessible to Aussie consumers,” he explained.
“Popularity then exploded during the COVID-enforced lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, when people consumed a lot of anime via streaming services, and wanted to read the corresponding source material in manga graphic novels.
“Location-wise, the growth in manga fandom is widespread, so we came up with the idea of Mini-Con as a natural way to bring the feel of an event such as Oz Comic-Con to people outside of our capital cities, to help us meet the voracious appetite our valued customers have for these stories.”
According to Sarah McConville, Fiction Buyer and Category Manager at QBD Books, Mini-Con will cater to the incredible local community of manga, anime, comics, and cosplay fans, as well as a new generation of readers.
“One of the things people love about manga is the community it generates – when you find someone who likes the same thing as you it’s super exciting, and when you find a community in your local area, it’s like coming home,” she said.
“Manga appeals to a lot of different people because the stories are easy to read, and mostly consist of fun, action-packed adventures. As a genre, shonen manga has always been a gateway to reading for young adult male readers, but it is now reaching a broader audience, with adults snapping up these titles as well.
“Manga is an inclusive community that is also popular with all genders in the 18-38 age range, but we’re now finding these demographics are being broken down as families and older readers begin to immerse themselves in manga.”
During Mini-Con, Australian manga fans will have access to popular titles such as Chainsaw Man, Demon Slayer, My Hero Academia, Jujutsu Kaisen and Spy x Family, with a special ‘buy one get one half price’ offer available on Viz titles.
To find out more about the QBD Books Mini-Con, please visit: www.qbd.com.au.