Graphic Novel sales up 22% in bookstores in 2015

Saga Volume 4

Despite ongoing worries about periodical sales for comics, graphic novels seemed to do just fine in 2015, according to figures reported at Publishers Weekly.  Graphic novels sales were up 22% with 10,591,000 copies sold, up from 8,669,000 in 2014.

Graphic novels trailed only classics and SF in pencentage gain among fiction categories. In nonfiction, art/architacture was up an amazing 60% due to the adult colloring book fad, which affected many categories.

Juvenile book categories don’t break out graphic novels separately unfortunately; it would be fascinating to see how this category has grown, but until BISAC breaks it out as its own category (something that is being actively campaigned for) we won’t know.

The numbers are based on Bookscan reporting, a flawed metric, but a consistent one. As a category graphic novels trail general fiction, mysteries, suspense and romance, as you’d expect, but the 10 million copy number is comparable to the combined sales for fantasy/SF which are broken out separately; it’s hard to deny the impact that comics have had on the book business, which has survived digital disruption in a remarkable fashion.

These numbers don’t report what the #1 selling GN in bookstores was. In comics shops it was Saga Volume 4.

Adult Fiction
Classics 7,578 9,985 32%
Occult/Psychological/Horror 3,329 2,218 -33%
Religion 4,174 4,414 6%
Fantasy 7,526 6,600 -12%
Science Fiction 4,142 5,964 44%
Suspense/Thrillers 20,111 21,783 8%
Action Adventure 2,239 2,285 2%
Graphic Novels 8,669 10,591 22%
Western 2,232 2,186 -2%
Mystery/Detective 14,304 12,533 -12%
Romance 30,885 28,031 -9%
General Fiction 33,524 35,101 5%
Total Adult Fiction 138,712 141,690 2%

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