As part of the recent Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators virtual conference for its fiftieth anniversary, one Zoom panel How to Sell Children's Books in the Post-Pandemic World: A Market Report that included editorial consultant Deborah Halverson gave lots of bookstore industry figures, the ups and the downs. Publisher's Weekly reported the rise in sales of children's graphic novels in 2020 and 2021, with a 123% rise since 2020 in YA graphic novel sales.
That noted the middle-grade graphic novel success of Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham's Friends series, now getting seven-figure print runs for each volume as well as a seven-figure advance. The success of this book may also boost Shannon Hale's upcoming Princess Amethyst Of Gemworld graphic novel for DC Comics with Dean Hale and Asiah Fulmore, being previewed in next week's Free Comic Book Day. The final Friends Forever volume is likely to be a smash hit at the end of this month, though I may hold out for the box set. And there is lots of anticipation for Pretty Perfect Kittycorn and This Book Is Not For You too.
And that during the pandemic, a mainstream boom in manga interest among both children and adults, which led to a manga drought in some places. Also that the success of titles such as Ben Clanton's Narwhal and Jelly series, creating a boom in graphic novels sales for the 4–8 range as well.
It's another sign of major growth in the graphic novel market in bookstores, libraries and book fairs, as well as the greater range in content and comic book styles being published. It's a long way until the USA gets to the kind of breadth and depth and mainstream success enjoyed by Japan, Korea or France but it is one of a number of major moves in that direction.