Manga and comics show explosive US sales growth in two years

Comicsbeat has released a great sales report Graphic novels and commercial paperbacks in 2021 show the current strength of the market – especially for manga. This is another huge year in terms of print manga sales, continuing the momentum of 2021.

The review includes all bookstore sales through NPD BookScan, which reflects all bookstores reporting to the sales tracker and NPD Books datacenter. This includes Amazon and many major retailers, but it’s not a complete look at the industry – it misses out on markets like library purchases, digital comics or the Scholastic book fair. Despite these limitations, there are some startling numbers that show the recent success of the comic book industry.

The report’s author, Brian Hibbs, explains: “In 2021, comics are going to radically explode in a way that almost defies plausibility – not only has raw circulation increased by nearly 70% (!), there are plenty of other resources to come. Will the comics be sold in 2021 than in both 2018 and 2019? combine (!!) If we compare the sales of 2021 with our first BookScan report in 2003, the number of copies sold has increased by more than 558% (!!!). If I hadn’t seen the numbers written in black and white, I’m not sure I would have even believed it.”

Hibbs notes that 64% of sales are books by just 95 people — but he takes that as a good sign. “This is a huge expansion of the talent pool – by 2020, just 51 people, 61% of revenue,” Hibbs writes. Some of the most popular creators selling comic books and manga today include Dan Pilkey, creator of the Captain Underpants series; The creator of My Hero Academia, Kohei Horikoshi; authors from Babysitter’s Club graphic novel adaptations; and Youtuber FGTeeV.

“What you can take away from this is that there are only a handful of creators who drive most of the business in comics (and books in general, as far as I can tell); and conversely, this could mean that the majority of comic books don’t really turn a significant profit in any given year. “

Manga has seen a similar boom. Sales tripled in the top 50 and grew 280% in dollar terms by 2021. Although the numbers are mostly focused on popular series like Chainsaw Man, Attack on Titan, and My Hero Academia, that shows the cultural impact and popularity of manga is increasing over time.

Full Bookscan Report 2021 on Comicsbeat, where Hibbs dives into each aspect of the data. However, these numbers are an extremely promising sign of the industry’s continued success.

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