Led by increases in the book trade, combined sales of graphic novels and periodical comics in North America reached $935 million in 2014, a 7% increase over 2013, according to a joint report by comics trade news sites ICv2.com and Comichron.
Sales of graphic novels in the book trade rose 16% to $285 million, while periodical comics sales in the comics shop market grew 4% from $340 million to $355 million.
Digital download-to-own sales were estimated to be about $100 million in 2014, an 11% increase over 2013. Though the ICv2/Comichron report noted the rate of digital growth declined from the 29% (on sales of $90 million) reported for 2013. Once again the report noted that “digital appears to be complementing, rather than cannibalizing, print."
Comichron’s John Jackson Miller called 2014 the “biggest year for print since 1995, adjusting for inflation.” Indeed, the report noted growth across all formats, print, periodical and digital. Print (both periodical and book) sales grew $55 million to $835 million in 2014, up 7% from 2013.
The only sales decline, according to the report, came at the newsstand, the traditional sales channel for periodical comics, where sales declined from $25 million to $20 million as Marvel withdrew from the market.
This is the second combined report by ICv2 and Comichron, which released their first estimate of the size of 2013 combined graphic novel and comics marketplace, $870 million, last year. The joint estimate includes sales of book format comics, traditional comic book periodicals and digital comics, in the general book trade, comics shop market, and newsstands.
The joint report is calculated based on the full retail price of titles. It does not account for discounting or include figures for subscription services, like Scribd or Oyster.
ICv2 president Milton Griepp said, "It's a very exciting time in the comics business. The broad range of titles being published, the wide variety of places they're sold, and the great exposure comics are getting from other media are all very positive for the industry."