The Sad Fate of Unsold Manga is Being Recycled Into Toilet Paper

A mangaka’s journey is filled with hard work, emotional turmoil, and loads of rejections! But all of that is worth it once a mangaka sees their work serialized and later published in tankobon, or collect volumes.


There has to be no greater feeling than seeing your manga series on store shelves and being bought fans. But, a series’ popularity doesn’t last forever and a work can quickly become demoted to a shelf warmer. So, what happens to excessive stock?

Rensuke Oshikiri is best known for the ongoing High Score Girl and they learned a harsh truth: unsold manga gets turned into toilet paper.

“The other day, I went to a factory managed by Kodansha. This is where returned and defective tankobon are mercilessly dealt with. With a shrill roar, the tankobon, which are a creator’s soul, are torn to shreds, compressed, and meet their destiny of being recycled as toilet paper. I even saw my own tankobon in this place.”

The rise of digital publishing limits the need to “pulp” unsold and defective tankobon into toilet paper, but the industry still relies on print sales. Stores are constantly making shelf space for hot sellers and stock stored in warehouses are seen as a profit drain.

Those Who Hunt Elves

At least the unsold tankobon are being recycled, even if being turned into toilet paper isn’t seen as a noble end.

I love all things that are cute, magic-based, and easy going! My biggest obsessions of all time are Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches and Fairy Tail. Let's go shipping!
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