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ICv2 Estimates U.S. Manga Sales Were Down 17% in 2008 (Update 2)

posted on by Egan Loo
Manga's drop contrasts with rise in all graphic novels; 7 Naruto books in January's top 20

The ICv2 retail news source estimated at its Graphic Novel Conference in New York City today that manga sales in the United States were down 17% in 2008, compared to the previous year. This drop in manga sales is in marked contrast with the overall American graphic novel market, which rose from US$375 million in 2007 to US$395 million in 2008, according to ICv2. ANN will have more details in a full report on the conference.

Despite the 17% sales dip, the number of manga graphic novels released in the United States only decreased by approximately 9%, from 1,513 to 1,372. Overall, manga still makes up the majority of the North American graphic novel releases — accounting for 55% of releases but only 44% of sales, versus 56% in 2007. ICv2 surveyed manga publishers about their expectations for 2009, and estimates that approximately 1,224 graphic novels will be published in 2009. This is a further 12% decrease from 2008, but still up 12% from 2006.

The non-manga portion of the graphic novel market, which grew 33.3% from US$165 million to US$220 million, was driven partially by the strong successes of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen graphic novel and the Batman graphic novels by various creators. Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight film and the attached Watchmen film trailer helped raise the sales of both of these properties from DC Comics.

Before the conference, ICv2 posted the top 20 graphic novels in American sales during January, as reported by A.C. Nielsen's BookScan service. Seven volumes of Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto manga (Viz Media) placed on the list, including volume 33 at #2. Other manga volumes that ranked included Yuna Kagesaki's Chibi Vampire volume 12 (#8, Tokyopop), Tite Kubo's Bleach volume 25 (#11, Viz), Natsuki Takaya's Fruits Basket volume 21 (#14, Tokyopop), Ken Akamatsu's Negima volume 20 (#15, Del Rey Manga), Kentarō Yabuki's Black Cat volume 18 (#17, Viz), and Yoshiki Nakamura's Skip Beat! volume 16 (#20, Viz). Watchmen (DC) was the #1 graphic novel for the seventh month in a row, while the first Yen Press volume of Narae Lee's adaptation of James Patterson's Maximum Ride novels landed at #13.

Update: Additional information from the conference added.

Update 2: The full report is now available.

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