An ICv2 Release.  The U.S. retail graphic novel market reached $375 million in sales in 2007, according to an analysis conducted by ICv2 and presented at its annual ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference at New York Comic Con on Thursday.  The growth came from both bookstores and comic stores, which were both up around 12% over 2006 sales. 


The periodical comic market was $330 million in 2007, according to the ICv2 white paper, bringing the total 2007 comic and graphic novel market to $705 million for the U.S. and Canada.  Comics were up from $310 million the year before; the total was up roughly 10% from 2006 numbers.  Graphic novels once again gained share of the business, increasing from a 52% to a 53% of the total.


Manga sales, including both comics and periodicals, were up about 5% to $210 million in 2007, up from $200 million in 2006 according to the white paper.  This was the lowest growth rate for manga since ICv2 began tracking sales.  Sales through bookstores were up by a mid-single digit rate, but direct market sales of manga declined 5-10%.  The decline in direct sales of manga was due to a reduced emphasis on the category by comic stores, a significant percentage of whom reduced their manga floor space in response to the growing number of releases and the increased difficulty in choosing between them.  Over-all, top manga titles continue to do well, but titles in the lower ranks of releases are having difficulty finding breathing room.


Another factor in the slowing manga growth rate may have been increased competition from publishers of American graphic novel material for space in stores.  American “genre” (superhero, science fiction, fantasy, horror) releases climbed 31% in 2007, to 1268 releases from 965 in 2006, according to the ICv2 white paper.  Manga releases also climbed, to 1513 new releases in 2007, up 25% from 1208 in 2006.  Over-all, there were 3,391 graphic novels released to the trade last year, according to numbers compiled by ICv2 from release lists provided by Diamond Comic Distributors, up 22% from 2006’s 2785 releases.