The comics and graphic novel market crossed the billion dollar threshold in 2015, according to a new joint estimate by Comichron’s John Jackson Miller and ICv2’s Milton Griepp. Total comics and graphic novel sales to consumers in the U.S. and Canada reached $1.03 billion in 2015, a 10% increase over sales in 2014.
“Sales of comics in print formats have finally eclipsed the $850 million modern-era high from 1993,” Miller said. “That 1993 total was $1.4 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars, though, so there’s still some ways to go to reach a new inflation-adjusted high for the last 50 years. But the book channel in particular is helping us make progress toward it.”
Graphic novels in the book channel represented the biggest area of growth, although every other area of print sales (except newsstand) grew in 2015 as well. Print grew over $100 million to $940 million in 2015, up 13% over 2014.
Sales of graphic novels through the book channel grew 23% to $350 million, after growing 16% in 2014, while graphic novel growth in the comic store channel was in the mid-single digits.
Sales of comic books in comic stores were up solidly to $385 million, roughly 8% over 2014 sales.
Digital sales declined around 10% in 2015, back to 2013 levels. This was the only area of decline among all the segments of the market, reflecting trends specific to digital, and in some cases specific to digital comics.
As presented above and in the accompanying infographic, the analysis by Comichron and ICv2 was divided up between periodical comics (what some call “floppies” or “pamphlets”), graphic novels, and digital download-to-own sales. All print figures are calculated based on the full retail price of books sold into the market, and do not account for discounting or markup. Digital sales do not include subscription or “all you can read” services.
This is the third joint market size analysis from ICv2 and Comichron; the first two were for 2014 and 2013 sales. ICV2 and Comichron also previously collaborated on revised estimates for 2011 and 2012.
Comichron is the world’s largest public repository of comic-book sales figures, featuring data from the 1930s to today about comic book and graphic novel circulation, cover prices, and market shares on its website, www.comichron.com. With data and analysis on the distant past as well as the present, Comichron serves as a trusted resource for academics studying the historical reach of the medium and for collectors seeking accurate information about how many copies of a comic book originally circulated.
ICv2 is the #1 industry source on the business of geek culture, including comics and graphic novels, hobby games, and showbiz on its Website, www.ICv2.com, and in its magazine, Internal Correspondence. For the people on the front lines of the geek culture business, staying ahead of the trends isn't something that can be left to chance-it's a basic necessity for being successful. That's why ICv2 is the #1 source of news and information for the buyers, gatekeepers, and tastemakers on the front lines. ICv2 is where trend-watching is a science.