For the second week in a row, Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man: Twenty Thousand Fleas Under the Sea: A Graphic Novel (Dog Man #11): From the Creator of Captain Underpants, was the best selling book in the US, according to numbers posted by Publishers Weekly provided by Circana Bookscan. The book sold 152,650 copies.
It was Dog Man #11’s second week topping the chart. Last week it debuted at number one with 225,612 copies sold. It’s two week total: 378,262. This is also the third week in a row that a graphic novel was topped the BookScan best seller list. Three weeks ago it was Spy X Family, Vol. 9, selling 31,486 copies.
Dog Man was the only graphic novel representing in the Top Ten for this week, however. And thought the sales are impressive, it’s still slower than previous Dog Man volumes.
The return of Dav Pilkey’s insanely popular hero came even as – hold on to your hats – book sales this year have been rising overall, according to PW.
According to preliminary figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, February bookstore sales increased 10.7% over last year, rising to $609
The February increase followed a nearly 16% sales jump in January sales. The combination of the two strong months resulted in a 14.3% rise in bookstore sales in the first two months of 2023 over the comparable period in 2022. Sales in 2023 were $1.60 billion, up from $1.40 billion in the first two months of 2022.
Circana figures show book sales as slat, for the same period, but it’s a hopeful sign that book sales won’t be completely tanked by whatever economic upheaval we’re going through right now. As we reported earlier, indie bookstores are among the most recession proof businesses.
The resiliency of the book market seems counter intuitive given the end of homebound pandemic reading…but a book is a remarkably sturdy platform for entertainment. And, lest we forget, graphic novels count as books.
All this comes amidst a general slowdown for comics and graphic novel sales earlier this year. According to a February Bookscan report, found in Publishing Perspectives, although GN sales remain strong, they slowed down in the first six weeks of 2023, down 13% from 2022, with juvenile comics declining for the first time in more than a decade.
Perhaps the return of Dog Man, one of the most popular comics characters of all time, will boost the numbers for the spring. Here’s some charts showing overall Comics and GN sales from Circana BookScan, as reported by Kristen McLean, executive director and industry analyst.