In front of a packed hall at the second annual ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference, ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp reported that graphic novel sales in the U.S. and Canada hit $330 million in 2006, a 12% increase over revised sales figures for 2005. ICv2 has upped its estimates on 2005 sales from $245 million to $295 million.
There were about 2,800 book format comics published in 2006, up 12% from 2005. Out of that total, 1,200 are manga titles and 965 are American genre comics. Manga sales continue to sell very well and represented about $170 million-$200 million of total sales. Griepp reported that general bookstores sell the most graphic novels and continue to show the fastest growth. General bookstores were responsible for about $220 million in sales and the comics shop market reported about $110 million in sales. Manga growth did slow a bit, and Griepp blamed the Musicland bankruptcy for contributing to the slowdown.
Griepp reported that sales of graphic novels passed comics periodicals as "the most popular format," in 2006. He reported that 2006 sales of comics periodicals was about $310 million.
Griepp sees more growth for the category in 2007, noting plans by bestselling prose authors such as Stephen King and Laurell K. Hamilton to release comics work in the coming year. While manga continued to lead the category in sales, he noted that American genre comics were also doing well. He also said that acclaimed nonfiction titles like Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, the comics adaptation of the 9/11 report and Marisa Acocella Marchetto's Cancer Vixen were attracting new readers, female readers in particular, to the category.
A panel of buyers for retailers and wholesalers that included Diamond's Bill Shanes, James Killen of B&N and Ed Masessa of Scholastic Book Fairs, also noted the growth of general nonfiction. The panel called for more "all-ages" material truly aimed at young readers. Masessa said Scholastic fairs have sold more than four million graphic novels since they introduced the category in 2004.