Sales figures from the book trade show manga titles dominating recent graphic novel bestseller lists. Rankings obtained by ICv2 for one recent week's sales in U.S. bookstores as compiled by a major industry reporting service showed eighteen of the top twenty graphic novel slots and all of the top ten held by manga titles, all Tokyopop. Nine of the top twenty titles (and both of the top two) were various volumes of Chobits and Love Hina, two surprisingly hot series launched by Tokyopop this year. Two Marvel titles, Marvel Encyclopedia and Ultimates V1 Super Human filled out the top twenty.
Of the top 50 adult graphic novels, 40 were manga, 35 from Tokyopop and five from Viz. Six DCs including two incredibly long-lived titles, Watchmen and Dark Knight, and four Marvels made up the rest of the list. For those keeping score by distributor, 39 of the top 50 were from CDS, six from Warner Books, and five from Publishers Group West.
These sales rankings are based on piece sales, which makes the dominance by Tokyopop's $9.99 manga editions easier to comprehend. A list ranked by dollars would undoubtedly push more titles from other publishers into the top fifty, and would put the Marvel Encyclopedia (at $29.99) as the top dollar title.
These lists are very different from the top fifty graphic novel titles as sold in to pop culture stores by Diamond Comic Distributors (see 'Top 50 Graphic Novels -- November 2002'), and from the Top 10 dollar comics and graphic novels as reported to ICv2 by pop culture stores based on sell-through (see 'Top 10 Cool Comics'). These disparities probably reflect the different demographic groups shopping at bookstores (more females, greater age variation) and the preferences for non-superhero titles associated with those broader demographic groups. And it probably represents an opportunity for pop culture stores to expand both their sales and the demographics of their consumers by merchandising manga trade paperbacks more aggressively.