200711090227We were hanging out with some people in the graphic novel biz earlier this week and the subject of the new DARK TOWER hardcover from Marvel came up — this book has shipped a LOT of copies and could even be a national bestseller based on the name of Stephen King. Shocker there, eh? It was also discussed that graphic novels in bookstores are not just competing with other graphic novels — they are competing with Danielle Steele and other Stephen King books in the eyes of readers who are not fans.

In our continuing obsession with charts, graphs and rankings, we checked the Top 10 best selling graphic novels on Amazon to see where they ranked in books overall. Of course, Amazon’s sales rankings are as capricious and mercurial as anything, (and tend to be a tad more nerd-centric than brick and mortar sales) but it’s a good way to pass a cold evening. Amazon’s overall rankings are in parentheses,

1. Stephen King’s Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born by Peter David (Author), Stephen King (Author), Robin Furth (Author), Jae Lee (Illustrator) (#63)

2. Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography by David Michaelis (Author) (#111)
[Not a comic, oh well.]

3. Heroes, Volume One by Various (Author), Tim Sale (Illustrator) (#136)

4. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier by Alan Moore (Author), Kevin O’Neill (Illustrator) (#145)

5. Snakehead (Alex Rider Adventure) by Anthony Horowitz (Author) (#183)
[As far as we can make out, this isn’t a graphic novel either. There IS an Alex Rider gn, but this isn’t it. Oh well.]

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Volume 1: The Long Way Home by Joss Whedon (Author), Georges Jeanty (Author), Andy Owens (Author), Jo Chen (Author) (#197)

7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (Author) (#286)

8. The Perry Bible Fellowship: The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories by Nicholas Gurewitch (Author) (#453)

9. The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 2 by Neil Gaiman (Author), Dave McKean (Illustrator), Colleen Doran (Illustrator), P. Craig Russell (Illustrator), Shawn Macmanus (Illustrator), Kelley Jones (Illustrator), Alisa Kwitney (Introduction) (#484)

10. Dancing With Werewolves: Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator by Carole Nelson Douglas (#502)
[Not a graphic novel.]

Amazon’s ranking change every hour, so this is just a snapshot of one particular Thursday evening. Our analysis? The graphic novels that are ranking high on the Amazon chart are selling respectably. For comparison, Naruto #24, the top selling manga on USA Today’s charts came in at #1,578. As we said, bookstore and online sales patterns are completely different.


  1. Like you, I am obsessed with charts and sales trends, but the Amazon list is one that I track infrequently. Like you said, online sales and in-store sales are pretty different, and perhaps nowhere moreso than in manga, where the customer usually isn’t old enough to own a credit card. Hence the lack of Naruto (or Negima or Tsubasa) on the list.

  2. My Barnes & Noble ordered this as deep as Naruto. It also had a street date, which is the first I’ve seen for a GN. From experience, a title which hits a Top 100 list usually makes the more specific subject bestseller lists.
    The crossover is weak. Not all fans of an author will buy graphic novels BASED on the authors work. Every little bit helps me to seduce the innocent, so I’m not complaining.
    And the first graphic novel to chart on a bestseller list was Walt Kelly’s Pogo (reformatted into chapters).

  3. It’s always fun to track newly released items on Amazon and see how high they can get on the list.

    Chikara Pro wrestling released their first mainstream DVD this week and their legion of nerd fans (of which I am one) had a running tally on one of the message board about how its sales were doing throughout the day.

  4. I’ve heard that customers not old enough to own a credit card does not buy shojo manga on Amazon. Not sure that explains all the teen novels selling well on Amazon.

  5. The credit card thing notwithstanding, I’d be equally inclined to think that the reason Amazon.com may sell compartatively few manga volumes has to do with the discount. I still think lots of folks who prefer to shop online do so out of a “get-it-later-if-I-can-find-it-cheaper-online” mentality, and a lot of manga have such low SRPs that Amazon.com doesn’t discount them only slightly or not at all.

  6. Yup, Dancing with Werewolves is a novel, not a graphic novel and decidedly not a comic. It’s from Juno Books, which is distributed by Diamond.

    I couldn’t sell it to NY editors (after having sold them more than 50 novels in mystery, sf thiller, high fantasy, romance, and mainstream), but you can see by the ranking overall that’s it’s doing really well.

    Since it’s a noir paranormal urban fantasy and some of those novels are moving into comics, and since it’s got a post-Buffy kick-ass chick hero, werewolf mobsters, an albino vampire rock star, and celebrity zombies, I’m hoping that Dancing with Werewolves presence on this list is an omen of things to come. :))) But it’s just a glitch in Amazon categorizing.

    Carole Nelson Douglas

  7. Yup, Dancing with Werewolves is a novel, not a graphic novel and decidedly not a comic. It’s from Juno Books, and is distributed by Diamond, which may account for it being on a comics list.

    I couldn’t sell it and the series to NY editors (despite having sold them more than 50 novels in mystery, sf thriller, high fantasy, romance,and mainstream areas; I’ve always been a genre-crosser and blender), but you can see from the overall ranking it’s doing very well.

    Dancing with werewolves is a paranormal urban noir fantasy, and given that some of these are becoming comic books and that it has a post-Buffy kick-ass chick protagonist, werewolf mobsters, an albino vampire rock star and celebrity zombies, including Nick Charles and the Invisible Man, I’m hoping that DWW’s appearance on the comics list is an omen. :)))