Publishers Weekly has an overview of bookstore sales in 2016, via Bookscan, and print sales edged up 3.3%, the third year of growth.
The gains came from non-fiction, up 6.9% from 2015, with growth in the arts and crafts category (yes that’s adult coloring books), self help and religion.
In adult fiction, sales were down 1%. However, Graphic Novels were up 12%, the only category to show a rise.
Hear that? The ONLY category!
This is down from 2015’s rise of 22% for graphic novels, however. Last year PW had a breakdown by category, which would enable more triumphalism from our team.
Children’s books were basically flat; the only three titles to sell more than a million units were J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts 1 and 2, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s Killing the Rising Sun and Double Down, the new Wimpy Kid book from Jeff Kinney.
In the digital world, flat is the new up for print. Certainly the Internet may have killed magazines, but it didn’t kill books. And comics seem to be thriving.
Diamond should have its year-end figures out this week, but I’ll take a wild guess and say that The Killing Joke will be in the top 10 for GNs. Diamond’s sales through November show GNs up 1.85%, so I’d expect fairly flat numbers unless no one gave a book as a gift. We’ll have the Bookscan bestselling titles when Brian Hibbs writes up his yearly report – which you will be able to read right here on The Beat! Overall, despite the worrying and fretting and dumpster fires, graphic novel and comics sales are holding steady or rising. That doesn’t mean everything is awesome no no improvement can be made, but it does indicate a strong base.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.