While graphic novel sales were down slightly in comics shops in 2019, in bookstores they were up 16.1%, and helped buoy book sales over all, according to a report by Jim Milliot in Publishers Weekly.

Other positive trends in adult fiction were the continued strength of graphic novels, where units rose 16.1%, and the rebound in horror/occult/psychological segment, where units increased 16.6%. Science fiction had the largest decline among the adult fiction genres, with units down 19.7%. The smaller westerns segment saw units fall 17.2%, and unit sales of romance novels declined 12.4%. While print sales of science fiction and romance continue to endure annual double digit declines since the advent of e-books, mystery/detective, another segment that has suffered, had a relatively mild 3.5% decline in unit sales.

Unfortunately, Milliot didn’t show genre stats as a chart as he did in years past, but the message is indisputable: graphic novels are on the rise.

comics-are-not-dyingHowever, the rise comes at a time when overall book sales are still declining.  Overall print books ales fell by 1.3% in 2019, after rising for two years. Adult fiction sales were down 4.6%, although Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdad Sings was a huge seller

The stats show juvenile fiction and YA fiction down by 0.1% and 8.1% respectively – making the gains in kids graphic novels even more stark.

While it’s hard to draw more conclusions without seeing more of the underlying statistics, the message is clear:

Comics are not dying. They are growing and thriving.





  1. This is awesome! I know most of my print media “budget” goes to comics and graphic novels, and it sounds like the market is shifting a little more that way as well. There’s some really great collected and OGN material out there for adults and for children.

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