Manga graphic novels sales grew at a remarkable pace in 2003, according to data compiled by, a comics and pop culture trade news Web site. Milton Griepp, executive producer of, told PW that sales of manga 'exploded last year. The growth was 75% to 100%, and the bulk of that growth was in the bookstore market.' Figures and discussion about manga sales (and the influence of anime on them) are included in's newly released annual publications The Retailers Guide to Manga and the Retailers Guide to Anime.

Griepp said annual sales in the U.S. of manga alone are estimated at about $100 million for 2003. This figure, he said, does not include nonmanga graphic novels. The new report does not break out figures for general bookstores and the direct market (comics shops), which will be provided in another report on graphic novels that will be released in the spring for this year's BookExpo America.

The largest sales growth was in the big national bookstore chains, followed by independent stores, music and video chains, 'and now mass market chains are starting to get involved,' Griepp said. The demographics of the market follow those for Tokyopop, the market leader with an estimated $35 million in annual revenue, with women accounting for 60% of buyers and males 40%—unprecedented for the American comics market, which has never been able to attract a sizable audience of girls or women.

Griepp said manga benefited from a steady increase in shelf space in 2003, and he noted the 'dramatic increase in the number of titles' to be released in 2004. Tokyopop is increasing its titles by 30% and will likely publish more than 500 books in 2004. In the first quarter of 2004, there have already been more than 200 manga releases. Viz and Dark Horse will increase production (and reformat their books to match Tokyopop's) and there are a host of new companies (Random House among them) set to release titles. Publishers are also tapping into other varieties of Asian comics from Korea, China and Hong Kong.

'There is some concern about the number of new titles,' Griepp said. 'But as long as shelf space and consumers continue to grow, the market for manga seems healthy and sales should continue to go up.'