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Adult Graphic Novel sales rose 4.6% in 2022

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Adult graphic novel sales rose 4.6% in stores that report to NPD Booksacn, Jim Milliot reports in a paywalled story at Publisher’s Weekly.  While graphic novels were THE hot category in 2021, with sales growth of an astounding 109.3%, this year’s hotetst overall category was romance, led by powerhouse superstar author Colleen Hoover.

But graphic novels still held their own, even as sales sagged in other categories, such as history/law/political science, down 20.8%. GNs were the third largest category in units, after general fiction and romance, with some 35 million units sold in 2022, up from 33 million in 2021. General fiction sold 49 million and romance 36 million.

Since this is the adult list we’re talking about, it is safe to assume that most of those sales were manga. We are working on the annual NPD Bookscan chart for graphic novels, with analysis by Brian Hibbs, even as we speak, so we’ll be able to drill down a lot more on these numbers in the coming months, but it’s fair to say that graphic novel sales were strong in 2022, even as overall book sales fell by 6.5%.

Kids graphic novel sales aren’t necessarily broken out the way adult books are due to some metadata issues so I’m not sure if we’ll get an overall number for that category. However, perenniel bestsellers Jeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey did it again in 2022, with Wimpy Kid #17 Diper Överlöde the #10 book overall, with 830,000 copies sold. (It also led in teaching people how to type diacritical marks.) Cat Kid Comic Club #3 On Purpose by Pilkey was the #16 book with 623,000 copies sold. There were eight Colleen Hoover books in the Top 25 books. 

NPD Bookscan comprises about 85% of the book selling market, and includes comics shop sales from stores that use the ComicHub POS system.

All of this really backs up my thoughts on why we need sales charts. Reading Twitter and seeing the collective sense of unease in the industry would make you think that sales were in the toilet in ’22. Granted of late there’s been a lot of unsettling news, with the dismantling of Comixology among the most unsettling. However, 2022 was a good year for adult graphic novel sales, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

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