Home News 12 Million Graphic Novels Were Sold in Bookstores in 2016

12 Million Graphic Novels Were Sold in Bookstores in 2016

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OKAY one more chart. Publishers Weekly has more information on the Bookscan bookstore sales numbers, with a breakdown by genre. As we reported last week, Graphic Novels were up, although according to this piece it was only 11%, not the 12% previously reported. Probably a rounding error, or possibly dollars. This chart does give overall sales showing a tad under 12 million units sold in 2016, up from 10.& million in 2015.

Print unit sales fell 1% in adult fiction in 2016, as a number of genres had double-digit declines. While most of the declining areas were those most affected by sales of e-books (such as romance and mystery), unit sales of classics fell 19%. In 2015, the classics genre benefited from the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, which led to a surge in sales of her To Kill a Mockingbird. Offsetting the declines were a 12% unit sales increase general fiction—the largest fiction area—and an 11% gain in graphic novels.

This expanded chart shows that GNs were NOT the only category to go up, though. Horror and religion also had gains, but not as much as graphic novels, so roll out the triumphalism!  Boo-ya! Who let the dogs out! We rock! etc etc etc

Despite Children’s GNs getting more BISAC codes, they didn’t break them down on this chart, sadly. Year over year sales in children’s graphic novels are something I much desire to see, so anyone who has Bookscan and knows how to run a report is free to leak that to me whenever they want.

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Unit Sales by Category, 2015–2016 (in thousands)

Category 2015 2016 CHANGE
Adult Nonfiction
Art/Architecture/Design/Photography 11,355 9,305 -18%
Biography/Autobiography/Memoir 23,422 23,133 -1%
Business/Economics 17,168 18,047 5%
Cooking/Entertaining 15,521 16,471 6%
Computers 4,224 3,808 -10%
Crafts/Hobbies/Antiques/Games 11,600 20,326 75%
Health/Fitness/Medicine/Sports 21,540 21,694 1%
History/Law/Political Science 17,199 17,883 4%
House & Home/Gardening 3,212 2,945 -8%
Humor 4,674 4,488 -4%
Performing Arts 8,336 9,362 12%
Reference 33,292 34,310 3%
Religion/Bibles 35,928 40,637 13%
Self-Help 11,365 12,865 13%
Travel 7,620 7,585 -0.5%
General Nonfiction 30,034 30,729 2%
Total Adult Nonfiction 258,490 273,589 7%
Adult Fiction
Action/Adventure 2,272 1,644 -28%
Classics 10,002 8,083 -19%
Fantasy 6,606 6,537 -1%
Graphic Novels 10,707 11,938 11%
Mystery/Detective 12,534 11,225 -10%
Occult/Psychological/Horror 2,211 2,369 7%
Religion 4,426 4,739 7%
Romance 27,966 24,989 -11%
Science Fiction 6,028 5,319 -12%
Suspense/Thrillers 21,855 21,901 0%
Western 2,193 1,983 -10%
General Fiction 35,192 39,492 12%
Total Adult Fiction 141,993 140,221 -1%
Juvenile Nonfiction
Animals 5,145 5,732 11%
Biographies/Autobiographies 4,240 4,463 5%
Concepts 4,294 4,268 -1%
Education/Reference/Language 7,637 8,948 17%
Games/Activities/Hobbies 13,749 10,849 -21%
History/Sports/People/Places 12,817 13,454 5%
Holidays/Festivals/Religion 4,082 4,824 18%
Social Situations/Family/Health 2,772 2,918 5%
Total Juvenile Nonfiction 54,735 55,456 1%
Juvenile Fiction
Animals 10,128 10,296 2%
Classics 10,174 10,258 1%
Concepts 9,325 9,169 -2%
History/Sports/People/Places 13,561 13,957 3%
Holidays/Festivals/Religion 9,458 9,974 5%
Science Fiction/Fantasy/Magic 44,740 52,255 17%
Social Situations/Family/Health 24,904 23,221 -7%
General Juvenile Fiction 49,315 48,913 -1%
Total Juvenile Fiction 171,605 178,043 4%

5 COMMENTS

  1. The new BISAC codes just went into use at the end of 2016.
    That said, they could have broken out sales by the ones already in use.

    Once again, the 11% increase over 2015 is even more amazing, in that 2015 had a 22% increase over 2014!
    Question: Do we have year-end data for the Direct Market? How does it compare with the bookstore market? (Looking at the December YTD data, it’s a small increase.)
    (And is there data for libraries?)

  2. Again their figure from 2015 was several million copies lower than what Brian Hibbs found in the Bookscan files. I’m wondering if they’re splitting a lot of titles off into juvenile fiction or something.

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