This is a brief survey based of the OPACs of a selection of four public libraries in major cities in both the United States and Canada. With one exception (Toronto) the criterion was that the city had a “Book Off” – a Japanese used-book chain store. In both North American and Japan a generous portion of these large stores is devoted to used manga (predominantly in Japanese).
The public library OPACs I searched were:
Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL)
New York Public Library (NYPL)
Toronto Public Library (TPL)
Nana by Ai Yazawa: LAPL, NYPL, TPL, VPL
Nodame Cantabile by Tomoko Ninomiya: LAPL, NYPL, TPL, VPL
Pet Shop of Horrors by Matsuri Akino: LAPL
Tramps Like Us by Yayoi Ogawa: [none]
A review of the collections at these public libraries indicates that there has been investment in established josei titles like Nana, Nodame Cantabile and Paradise Kiss but that it isn’t comprehensive. Three of the more recently released josei titles currently available in North America are not well represented. The popular and critically well received titles Pet Shop of Horrors and Tramps Like Us are almost completely neglected.
Images: panel from Yotsubato! by Kiyohiko Azuma (I know, it doesn’t fit the genre, but I love her so much!)