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Graphic novels were one of only two print fiction categories whose sales were up in 2014 (westerns were the other), according to Publishers Weekly’s Jim Milliot in a piece called The Hot and Cold Categories of 2014. GNs were up 13% according to Bookscan. The article also includes a chart of all categories, and reveals that 8,669,000 graphic novels were sold in 2014, up from 7,659,000 in 2015. For comparison, 33,524,000 general fiction books were sold.

Children’s books categories were nearly all up, with “science fiction/fantasy/magic” leading the way with a 38% gain. The kids categories don’t break out comics, unfortunately.

13% growth is a pretty healthy number, especially compared to drops in other categories and the growth of ebooks—the figures cited above are solely for print.

When you consider that Bookscan counts only 70% of book sales—and only counts 10% of some graphic novel categories, we’re looking at an even healthier number.

The chart that accompanies this piece is actually pretty fascinating. More GNs were sold than fantasies or science fiction, for instance. I doubt many people would have guessed that was true. Comics are more mainstream than ever, and don’t you believe anyone who says otherwise.


  1. The article specifies “Adult Fiction” as the parent category for the graphic novel number they give. The Bookscan numbers that you run include nonfiction and juvenile books, I think.

  2. That nomenclature is a bit of a red herring, AFAIK — most “juvenile” work actually appears on the “Adult Fiction” category…. and the stuff that doesn’t I’m not getting access to (WIMPY KID, for one blinding example)

    Same thing with non-fiction — I DO have to track down certain numbers (Maus, Persepolis, etc.), because they’re in the “non-fiction” listing, but, AFAICT, the overwhelming bulk actually makes into into the “adult fiction” category. I couldn’t identify ANY “non fiction” work in either 2013 or 2014 that didn’t make the “adult Fiction” list. (doesn’t mean there isn’t… but I couldn’t suss it out)

    This has been pretty consistent over the last dozen years.


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