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Graphic Novel Sales Up, Single Issues Down in 2011, Digital Comics Sales Double [Comic-Con]

At the ICv2 Comics, Media and Digital Conference last evening at Comic-Con in San Diego, ICv2 president and comics analyst Milton Griepp presented his annual white paper running down the sales trends and figures for the comic book market over the last year. Despite challenging economic times for retailers, graphic novel sales are up 3% so far for 2011 for the first time in year despite falling in comic shops, thanks to the growth of graphic novel sales at bookstores.

Meanwhile, sales of periodical comics (single issues) have fallen 8% in 2011. Griepp pointed to event fatigue, management changes at Marvel and DC, and issues with the content itself as reasons for the drop, as Heidi MacDonald explained at The Beat.Griepp also outlined a little bit about the difference between customers in comic shops, where sales declined, and customers in bookstores, where sales increased:

The kind of customer who shopped at bookstores was a casual consumer — wasn’t as committed, but [was] more influenced by media and press and had some money to spend. They are less involved in the kind of editorial changes that motivate comic shop consumers and comics stores. The good news is there was a lot of them.

Manga sales also continue to fall significantly, dropping 15% in 2010 and 10% for the first half of 2011, although Griepp noted that “the worst may be over.”

The digital comics market, while still small, remains a growth area, with sales at least doubling since 2010. The estimated sales figures for digital comics were startlingly broad, however, ranging from $6 million to $18 million dollars.

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