France is the capital of the Western World when it come to comic books. But it seems that in 2020., it doubled down on the audience for comic books that have seen comic book creation dubbed The Ninth Art (just ahead of video gaming and behind movies). Book sales in France fell from 2.8 billion euros in 2019 to 2.7 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in 2020, a drop of 2.3%, according to France's publishers association, the Syndicat National de l'Édition (SNE). However, comics and graphic novels beat the trend, with a rise in French sales of 6.3% and jumping from the sixth most popular category in print publishing in France to the fifth, with a turnover of 326.9 million euros in 2020 (387 million dollars).
This was despite 2020 being a year without a new Asterix volume, one of the best-selling comics in the world and usually the best-selling book of all of France in its year of publication. Instead, other classic comics like Lucky Luke, The Arab Of The Future, Mortelle Adèle, and others boomed while manga sales increased by an unparalleled 29% before the manga drought hit, with, again, classic titles Dragon Ball, Naruto, Fairy Tail, One Piece doing well alongside streaming animated adaptations and an expansion of the readership into its third generation in France. American comics sales fell, however, blamed by SNE on the absence of superhero movies that they describe as the "lever of sales" for those titles in the French marketplace. Veuve Noire is on the way of course.
The overall drop of books was down to the closures of bookstores for three-and-a-half months in 2020, but they saw a rebound in sales at the end of 2020 and into 2021. The French President has also announced that reading will be the next great national cause from summer 2021 to summer 2022, with the aim to put reading at the heart of the life of all French people, paying particular attention to the youngest and to those who are distant or deprived of it. Oh yes, and a new Asterix at the end of the year as well.