According to NPD BookScan, manga sales made up over 76% of sales by volume of the overall comics and graphic novel category in the United States in 2021.
Manga came under the Adult Graphic Novels category, which alone grew 107% compared to 2020. Manga led the pack and dominated the numbers, as they sold 15 million copies over the sales figures in 2020, recording a meteoric rise of 171%.
Manga sold a total volume of 24.4 million units in 2021. Sales of print manga titles in the U.S. increased by 3.6 million units in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
Experts say this was the direct result of the boom in anime, with pandemic stricken readers going in to a manga buying spree. The anime effect was clearly visible, as the top manga series by sales were closely linked to the most popular anime series on OTT platforms like Hulu, Netflix, and Crunchyroll.
Yae Sahashi, Kodansha v-p of sales and marketing said, “Anime and online fan communities are always the biggest drivers of manga sales. We believe there’s been renewed and excited interest in anime, with new audiences, brought in with each new season. Anime is now easier to watch wherever and whenever via platforms like Netflix, Crunchyroll, and Funimation. Many of the anime premiering right now were delayed from 2020 into 2021 due to the pandemic, which may be partly why spring manga sales have surpassed holiday sales for the first time.”
Overall, graphic novel sales in 2021 were up 65% from 2020. In fact, 21 million more graphic novels were sold in 2021 than in 2020.
According to Publishers Weekly, NPD Bookscan’s Executive Director of Business Development Kristen McLean claimed in a recent presentation that price rises will have an influence on book sales, and that publishers must monitor consumer reactions.
However, comics shops should have a great year in 2022, she said, as more people return to the in-person experience.
As Jason Mojica of Hey Kids Comics in Greenpoint wrote “People … expect bookstores (and yes, comic book stores) to be magic.” People want the magic of touching things and talking to people again, and the comics shop experience – always as much a social event as a shopping trip – will be part of that.
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