I’ve said here a zillion times that kids graphic novels are the fastest growing category in comics, and here’s a report from the Children’s Institute conference that backs all this up with numbers. The report was presented by NPD Book, a data service which acquired Nielsens’ BookScan service back in January, so this is straight from the horse’s mouth.
The actual presentation is available here but only to ABA booksellers so if someone has an account and were to, say, leave the report on the table while they powdered their nose while having lunch with The Beat, that would be fascinating.
Kids books in general were up last year, and have been up since 2010:
Since 2010, the children’s category has grown faster than the overall print book market in the U.S., with a compound annual growth of 3.4 percent from 2010 to 2016 and 5.3 percent year-over-year growth from 2013 forward, said Risbridger. Young adult fiction was down slightly from 2015 to 2016, while all other categories grew, including juvenile fiction, juvenile nonfiction, and young adult nonfiction.
In the most interesting finding for our purpose:
Trends in children’s books are taking form in comics and graphic novels, which grew 24 percent in 2016; science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) titles; mindfulness; and a return to classics.
I don’t have access to BookScan, but simple observation shows that more and more traditional kids publishers are jumping in on the kids GN trend, and this time, they mostly know what they are doing. And it isn’t just Raina; if you look at the Bookscan charts as released by Brain Hibbs, there are many kids comics in the top 100 comics for 2016.
HOWEVER, Raina Telgemeier is a huge force in bookselling. As long as we’re linking to Bookweb, the American Booksellers Association’s website, here’s their quarterly sales chart for grahpic novels in indie book stores. The top 10 as of March:
Raina Telgemeier, Graphix, $10.99, 9780545540629
Raina Telgemeier, Graphix, $10.99, 9780545326995
Raina Telgemeier, Graphix, $10.99, 9780545132060
Raina Telgemeier, Graphix, $10.99, 9780545540605
5. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 1
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze (Illus.), Marvel Comics, $16.99, 9781302900533
Noelle Stevenson, Harper, $14.99, 9780062278227
7. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters
Emil Ferris, Fantagraphics, $39.99, 9781606999592
8. Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
Octavia E. Butler, John Jennings (Illus.), Harry N. Abrams, $24.95, 9781419709470
9. Hyperbole and a Half
Allie Brosh, Touchstone, $19.99, 9781451666175
10. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 2
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chris Sprouse (Illus.), Marvel Comics, $15.99, 9781302900540
Garfield, Saga, Batman and other manstream books are listed — it’s well worth perusing the list.
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.