A tankoubon is one, independent book of a manga series, not appearing in a magazine, with other series, but having a whole entire volume dedicated to the specific series.
Mangas are known to be first serialized, and then collected into “tankoubon” books.
Origin of the term
Mangas were originally printed in weekly or monthly appearing, phone book sized anthologies, that were made of cheap materials and were seen as disposable.
However, since the 1930’s, the manga series were collected into “tankoubon” volumes, creating a series of books, filled with the Japanese comics on a higher quality medium.
The term came into the English language, with the growing prominence of anime and manga in western cultures, around the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Spread of the term
Anime and manga fans often refer to the manga volumes as “tankoubons”, while Japanese are often using the English loan word for them; komikkusu.
The first mention of “tankoubon” on Urban Dictionary was in a 2008 entry, written on a subject.
- Manga Wiki – Tankōbon