Adult graphic novel sales figures reveal nearly 30% sales jump in 2020

Kinokuniya San Francisco
(Image credit: Kinokuniya)

16.2 million adult graphic novels were sold in print in 2020, according to a report from the publishing tracking service the NPD Group.

With those sales (led by My Hero Academia), the 'Adult Graphic Novels' portion of the North America book industry jumped 29.1% compared to 2019.

(Image credit: Kouhei Horikoshi (VIZ Media))

Here are the top 10 selling 'Adult Graphic Novels' of 2020:

  1. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
  2. My Hero Academia Volume 1 by Kohei Horikoshi
  3. Strange Planet by Nathan W. Pyle
  4. My Hero Academia Volume 2 by Kohei Horikoshi
  5. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Volume 1 by Koyoharu Gotouge
  6. My Hero Academia Volume 24 by Kohei Horikoshi
  7. My Hero Academia Volume 3 by Kohei Horikoshi
  8. Stranger Planet by Nathan W. Pyle
  9. My Hero Academia Volume 23 by Kohei Horikoshi
  10.  Uzumaki by Junji Ito

Only three of those titles debuted in 2020 - My Hero Academia 23 and 24, and Stranger Planet.

Breaking down the 'Adult Graphic Novels' category further, manga was the subcategory with the highest year-to-year growth: 2020 saw a 43.7% increase over 2019, with means it drove 80% of the overall category's growth.

As a whole, North American print book sales increased 8.2% over the previous year, but the 'Adult Graphic Novels' category grew 3.5x faster than that even.

The strongest category overall in North America was 'Juvenile Fiction' (which would include Juvenile graphic novels). It accounted for one-third of all U.S. book market growth in 2020, selling 18 million more units than the previous years - an 11% increase. 

And while most comic sales figures and sell-out notices are for sales to retailers and not the readers themselves, these are sell-through numbers - with data provided by those stories to NPD Group.

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Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)