graphic novelsA recent Nielsen BookScan report entitled “Walking Tall: Graphic novels are heroes in the bookstore,” shows graphic novel sales building nicely in the U.S. market as of mid-2013.

“Unit sales in the graphic novel category are up 10 percent year-over-year in 2013,” states the Nielsen release, adding, “the high-priced books at the top of the list are perhaps the most pleasant surprise for graphic novel publishers.”

The report showcased Nielsen BookScan’s ranking of the top 10 bestselling adult fiction graphic novels for the first half of 2013, courtesy of a U.S. Consumer Market Panel that Nielsen claims “currently covers approximately 85% of the print book market and continues to grow.”

Top of the list were “The Walking Dead” Compendia 1 and 2 by Robert Kirkman, selling 100,000 copies all told, at $59.99 each—though current paperback sales prices seem to have slid since the initial Nielsen report, on Amazon at any rate. “‘The Walking Dead: Compendium One, is by far the highest-price book on Nielsen BookScan’s bestseller chart for overall adult fiction top 200 year-to-date 2013,” Nielsen continues. “What’s more, Kirkman and his series occupy four of the top five positions on the list of top graphic novels year-to-date.”

Almost every other slot in the top 10 listing was filled by Japanese manga imports: Naruto from Masashi Kishimoto and Sailor Moon from Naoko Takeuchi.

As well as clear proof of just how tasty a good diet of brains can be, the Nielsen BookScan report also provides important lessons for publishers—at least, pending the zombie apocalypse.

Kirkman’s work is not currently available on Kindle. Therefore, solid graphic work might be the way to go for publishers looking to chew the last ounce of goodness out of the dying corpse of print publishing.


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