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Piece sales of adult fiction graphic novels in the book channel rose by 13% during 2014, according to data released by Nielsen BookScan and reported by Publishers Weekly.  According to Nielsen’s figures 8.669 million adult fiction graphic novel sales were reported in 2014 versus 7.659 million in 2013.  Piece sales of print books in the Adult Fiction category were down 8% overall, with only graphic novels and westerns increasing (westerns were up 7%, but the graphic novel category is nearly 4X as big as the western).

The kids portion of the graphic novel market may have grown even faster, with the release of Raina Telgemeier's Sisters a significant sales event on its own (see "Raina Telgemeier Has Over 3.5 Million Graphic Novels in Print").  But the way the codes are organized, the sales of kids graphic novels are buried in a number of categories, so that information is not available in the information released by Bookscan.  The children’s book categories were especially strong in 2014 with only 3 out of 16 segments showing declines, while 13 registered growth.  

Also not available is the nonfiction adult graphic novel category, which had a big jump from the release of Roz Chast's Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (see "December BookScan--Top 20 Graphic Novels").  The book category that grew the most in 2014, Self-Help books, was up 15%, just a tad more than Graphic Novels.

The changes in piece sales was valuable information, but the dollar change can vary from that percentage, sometimes signficantly, depending on changes in the average cover price of books sold.

Whatever its limitations, the info released by Nielsen is a bullish sign for the graphic novel biz, which was also strong in the direct market.  Dollars were up by a solid 5.18%  in 2014 (see "Image Dominates Top GNs, Marvel the Top Comics"); in fact they grew faster than sales of periodical comics (up 4.03%).