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Graphic novel sales up a staggering 110.2% in bookstores since the pandemic

According to NPD BookScan information, sales of graphic novels rose despite an overall sales drop in 2022

Graphic novels
Image credit: Clem Onojeghuo (Unsplash)

Comic books continue to thrive in the North American bookstore market, despite an overall fall in sales in the book channel last year, according to analysis by NPD BookScan (via ICv2.

Sales in the graphic novel category rose 1.8% in 2022 compared with the previous year, which itself had seen a rise in sales over 2020. Compared with sales in the last pre-COVID year, 2019, graphic novel sales have risen a staggering 110.2%. Manga sales made up the majority of sales in the category, with an increase of 12% on 2021 sales; sales of Young Adult graphic novels rose even sharper, with a 21% increase on the previous year.

Overall book sales fell 6.5% in 2022, according to BookScan, with sales totaling 788.7 million for the twelve-month period, compared to 843.1 million in 2021. Some of the biggest drops came from the adult non-fiction category — which dropped to 289.6 million sales, from 322.8 million the year before, a drop of 10.3% — and juvenile fiction, which fell 8.8%. YA fiction sales also fell, but barely, slipping 0.2%.

Graphic novel sales weren’t the only category to rise in terms of sales; general adult fiction sales rose 8.5%.

NPD BookScan figures are calculated from point-of-sale information on print books collected from more than 16,000 locations across the U.S., including independent bookstores, mass-market chains, and online sales. It’s estimated that roughly 85% of the U.S. book market is accounted for in BookScan data.

Outside of specialist comic stores, Alice Oseman and Dav Pilkey are some of the most popular comic creators in the US.