ALAAC Papercutz
ALAAC ’15: Papercutz’s booth with their excellent titles

I’ve said here a zillion times that kids graphic novels are the fastest growing category in comics, and here’s a report from the Children’s Institute conference that backs all this up with numbers. The report was presented by NPD Book, a data service which acquired Nielsens’ BookScan service back in January, so this is straight from the horse’s mouth.

The actual presentation is available here but only to ABA booksellers so if someone has an account and were to, say, leave the report on the table while they powdered their nose while having lunch with The Beat, that would be fascinating.

Kids books in general were up last year, and have been up since 2010:

Since 2010, the children’s category has grown faster than the overall print book market in the U.S., with a compound annual growth of 3.4 percent from 2010 to 2016 and 5.3 percent year-over-year growth from 2013 forward, said Risbridger. Young adult fiction was down slightly from 2015 to 2016, while all other categories grew, including juvenile fiction, juvenile nonfiction, and young adult nonfiction.

In the most interesting finding for our purpose:

Trends in children’s books are taking form in comics and graphic novels, which grew 24 percent in 2016; science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) titles; mindfulness; and a return to classics.

I don’t have access to BookScan, but simple observation shows that  more and more traditional kids publishers are jumping in on the kids GN trend, and this time, they mostly know what they are doing. And it isn’t just Raina; if you look at the Bookscan charts as released by Brain Hibbs, there are many kids comics in the top 100 comics for 2016.

HOWEVER, Raina Telgemeier is a huge force in bookselling. As long as we’re linking to Bookweb, the American Booksellers Association’s website, here’s their quarterly sales chart for grahpic novels  in indie book stores. The top 10 as of March:

1. Ghosts
Raina Telgemeier, Graphix, $10.99, 9780545540629

2. Drama
Raina Telgemeier, Graphix, $10.99, 9780545326995

3. Smile
Raina Telgemeier, Graphix, $10.99, 9780545132060

4. Sisters
Raina Telgemeier, Graphix, $10.99, 9780545540605

5. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 1
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze (Illus.), Marvel Comics, $16.99, 9781302900533

6. Nimona
Noelle Stevenson, Harper, $14.99, 9780062278227

7. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters
Emil Ferris, Fantagraphics, $39.99, 9781606999592

8. Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
Octavia E. Butler, John Jennings (Illus.), Harry N. Abrams, $24.95, 9781419709470

9. Hyperbole and a Half
Allie Brosh, Touchstone, $19.99, 9781451666175

10. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 2
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chris Sprouse (Illus.), Marvel Comics, $15.99, 9781302900540


Garfield, Saga, Batman and other manstream books are listed — it’s well worth perusing the list.



  1. There’s a new generation coming up that loves reading. I think a big part of modern parenting has been pushing books and limiting screen time early in kids development and as a result we’re seeing more younger readers. That’s my theory as a parent.

  2. I just dumpster-dived the bin of review copies at work.
    Of note:
    American Girls is publishing a graphic novel based on a comic from their magazine.

    Most kids publishers have figured out the format. Many don’t have a dedicated line, but do offer a few titles per season.
    I’m starting to see SVA and CCS grads publishing kids books for Scholastic. That, for kids GN creators, seems to be the top publisher, followed by First Second. Graphix doesn’t push a lot of titles per year, but does have the Book Fairs to generate sales. First Second has a great marketing department, and a diverse catalog. They’re #1 for non-fiction comics for kids, and up there for adult NF as well.

    From the report:
    ““Something interesting happening here is the girl power stories,” said Risbridger. “There were a lot of wonderful women’s biographies for children — Women in Science, Brown Girl Dreaming, Rad Women Worldwide, I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark — those did really well in 2016.””
    “Millennial parents, specifically, are nostalgic, having experienced the pre- and post-digital world, and they are the largest demographic group, with 75.4 million in the generation in the U.S. Millennials, noted Risbridger, are deferring marriage but they are not deferring having kids; when they shop for children’s books, they tend to be socially conscious and appreciative of the influence of other cultures on the American way of life, gravitating toward more diverse books.”

  3. So…you’re telling me that kids like comics? Who could have known…besides everyone who worked in or read comics from the 1930s through the 1990s.

  4. Boy, kids sure really do like comic books!

    Alternative option: left wing school administrations sure do like buying multi-culti diverse books to indoctrinate their children with.

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