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NPD Bookscan via The Beat: Manga Made Up 76.71% of Adult Fiction Graphic Novel Sales in 2021

posted on by Adriana Hazra
The Beat: Manga volumes sold see 171% rise from 2020

The comics news website The Beat reported NPD BookScan's graphic novel sales figures for 2021 on February 4. The "Adult Fiction" category saw the highest increase in sales in 2021, with the manga subcategory making up 76.71% of the volumes sold in the Adult Fiction category.

NPD Bookscan Executive Director of Business Development Kristen McLean told The Beat that manga sales in the Adult Fiction category increased by 15 million units to 24.4 million units in 2021, seeing a 160% increase from the previous year. However, The Beat reported that manga saw a 171.1% rise in volumes sold from the previous year.

The Beat explained to ANN the discrepancy in these numbers is because NPD Bookscan included the approximately 1 million copies of My Hero Academia sold in 2021 in the Superhero subcategory, while The Beat staff moved My Hero Academia's sales to the Manga subcategory in its reporting.

The ICv2 website similarly reported on Monday that a 160% increase for manga in 2021 is possibly incorrect as My Hero Academia encountered a classification issue in NPD Bookscan's numbers.

Lean also stated to The Beat the highest selling series in manga were "tightly correlated" to the most streamed anime series on SVOD platforms such as Hulu, Netflix, and Crunchyroll.

Adult superhero comics, another subcategory of Adult Fiction, followed the manga subcategory with a 2.3% rise of units sold, an increase of 2 million more units than in 2020. The numbers are for graphic novels only, and do not include periodical comics sales. The "all other genres" subcategory in Adult Fiction saw an overall 21.9% rise in volumes sold, and within that, crime/mystery saw a 78.4% rise, fantasy saw a 43.6% rise, LGBTQ+ saw a 40.7% rise, and horror saw a 35.5% rise.

The "Juvenile Fiction" category followed the "Adult Fiction" category with a 3.3 million unit increase in sales in 2021. The category does not include manga.

The overall graphic novel industry in 2021 saw a 65% and 21 million unit increase in sales from the previous year.

There was a 1% increase in overall book sales in the final week of December 2021 from the previous year, despite supply chain issues in the book industry. ICv2 reported in July that North American bookstores and retailers are facing a shortage in the supply of manga. It is projected that truck driver shortages, widespread port congestion, and inflated container costs will continue to cause supply chain challenges in the book industry into 2022.

NPD BookScan collects weekly point-of-sale data on print books from over 16,000 locations including e-tailers, chains, mass merchandisers, independent bookstores, and more. NPD BookScan covers approximately 85% of the U.S. trade print book market.

Source: The Beat (Joe Grunenwald, Heidi MacDonald)

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