Graphic novel sales up 42% in North American bookstores this quarter

(Image credit: Future)

Graphic novel sales in the North American bookstore market is up 42% this quarter, according to the market research company NPD Group.

For the months of July - September 2020, 4 million print graphic novels were reportedly sold in the North American bookstore market - up tremendously from April - June 2020's 2.8 million print graphic novels. NPD reports that the manga sub-category accounted for nearly three-quarters of the growth in this most recent quarter.

According to NPD, the manga subcategory has 25% year-on-year while the superhero subcategory has declined 11%. Over the past five years, manga has grown by 8%..

(Image credit: Dav Pilkey (Scholastic/Graphix))

The other key driver for Graphic novels' Q3 2020 uptick would be September 1's Dog Man: Grime and Punishment by Dav Pilkey, which sold 589,628 print copies by the end of September.

This ninth volume of Dog Man was the best-selling book for all of North America from its debut until September 15, when it was surpassed by Bob Woodward's Rage - which reportedly had the strongest first-week sales of any book this year, to date.

"Since we announced the publication date for Dog Man: Grime & Punishment, we have been hearing from enthusiastic kids, parents, educators, and retailers who have been eagerly waiting for its release," the president of Scholastic's trade division Ellie Berger said recently. "We couldn't be more thrilled to see kids and families around the world so excited, laughing, and reading together. We look forward to publishing more Dav Pilkey books in the future."

Pilkey's next book, Cat Kid Comic Club, goes on-sale December 1.

Graphic novels' 42% gain is the highest growth-per-category for the market, which had an overall 6.4% growth this quarter. Print book sales seem to be rebounding from the pandemic, with Q3 2020's growth being the highest since Q3 2005 (the release of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince).

Read our review of Dog Man: Grime and Punishment.

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)