- Posted by Johanna on February 8, 2009 at 8:20 am
- Category: Comic News
This week, ICv2 put out their sales estimates for 2008 for comics, graphic novels, and manga. I found one particular set of figures interesting.
After years of growth, manga sales actually contracted in 2008, dropping from $210 million in 2007 to $175 million (roughly 2005 numbers), with larger declines in the bookstores than in the comic shops. … Sales of periodical comics declined from $330 million in 2007 to $320 million in 2008 …
(No indication of methodology is given in the short summary article, so I don’t know how they came up with these figures.)
I found it hard to believe that comics outsell manga by a factor of 1.8, so I wanted to break down what those numbers meant. Let’s assume a cover price of $3 for periodical comics, which means 106.67 million copies were sold last year, or 2.05 million comics a week. If an average comic sells 30,000 copies, then that means there has to be at least 68 comics released every week. That sales estimate may be high, so there might be many more.
Looking at manga, let’s assume a cover price of $10. If manga sold $175 million in 2008, that’s 17.5 million copies for the year, or 336,538 copies a week.
Now comes the tricky part. What’s a sensible assumption for sales for an average manga volume? If we assume similar sales to a comic, 30,000 copies per volume, then we need at least 11 manga volumes a week. That seems plausible, although it’s based on a lot of assumption.
So their figures make more sense if you realize that a lot more comics are released compared to manga volumes. Also consider that 15 of the top 20 graphic novels sold last year, according to BookScan, were Viz manga, mainly due to Naruto.