Thanksgiving 2010 brought a new player to the e-reader market – the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. The market offering of e-reader technology has been growing steadily for the last decade, and was long dominated by the Kindle. Only a partial new player in the market, the Nook Color significantly upgraded its black-and-white e-ink predecessor into a multi-functional entertainment device. This put it above and beyond the Kindle as a useful e-reader. Imagine an iPad crossed with a Kindle – e-reader functionality, an app store, and media entertainment options. Now, eliminate the Kindle’s e-ink screen and replace it with a full-color iPad screen, crop the iPad to about Kindle size, and mix the prices for a semi-comfortable $249 price tag. That is the Barnes & Noble Nook Color.
In my previous article, I discussed the state of the manga industry and the various planned, successful, or failed avenues of digital publishing of manga as they can be seen today. The question remains, though, as to whether digital manga is truly the next generation as seen by those who read it. A blog post highlights an interesting story about just that topic, following a moderated panel at the Asia Arts Festival at the University of Kentucky:
I chatted a bit more with the panelists (one a soon-to-graduate senior, the other a freshman) and the topic somehow swerved to the manga industry, its travails, and its push to make a market for more esoteric, alternative manga (which for all intents and purposes mostly means “not BESM-standard”).
After hearing this, the freshman subsequently asked “So, like, are they trying to make it cool to read print manga?” at which both I and the graduating senior goggled for a moment before going “what the hell are you on about?”
Apparently, in his high school, it was seen as uncool to read print manga. I didn’t find out then why it was particularly considered uncool, although the perpetual-behindness of licensed releases may have been a factor, as well as a certain sense borrowed from underground aesthetics that licensed titles may have “sold out” or were otherwise “too mainstream”. It’s also interesting to note that the act of “reading manga” itself apparently wasn’t considered uncool. Just reading print manga. 
“I’m a believer in digital,” said Kuo-Yu Liang of Diamond Distributors in an article published by Publisher’s Weekly. “I’ve preferred reading an e-book over a ‘real’ book for over 10 years, so I’m excited about every new thing… But, it doesn’t matter what I believe. Look at what’s happening to music, movies, newspapers, magazines, and gaming. The future of reading is in the digital format, get used to it.”  The Japanese digital market was estimated at $654.5 million in 2009 and expected to reach $797.3 million in 2010. The 2011 estimate was even higher at $904.4 million. Growth of downloads was expected in multiple formats, with a decreasing growth trend expected, but a steady overall download rate. The industry also estimates that 89% of digital publishing in Japan is manga.