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.
However, 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.