These figures are encouraging, because graphic novels may be the last great print holdout. (All we really need is one.)
Why am I such a fan of print?
It is because there is something irreplaceable about the smell, feel, and look of a book on paper (or papyrus). Holding one in your hands, cuddling up with it, or flinging it across the room when the author fails to deliver a satisfactory ending, are all things that enhance reading, and make it an experience that cannot be replicated on a screen.
Led by increases in the book trade, combined sales of graphic novels and periodical comics in North America reached $935 million in 2014, a 7% increase over 2013, according to a joint report by comics trade news sites ICv2.com and Comichron.
Sales of graphic novels in the book trade rose 16% to $285 million, while periodical comics sales in the comics shop market grew 4% from $340 million to $355 million.
Digital download-to-own sales were estimated to be about $100 million in 2014, an 11% increase over 2013. Though the ICv2/Comichron report noted the rate of digital growth declined from the 29% (on sales of $90 million) reported for 2013. Once again the report noted that “digital appears to be complementing, rather than cannibalizing, print."
Comichron’s John Jackson Miller called 2014 the “biggest year for print since 1995, adjusting for inflation.” Indeed, the report noted growth across all formats, print, periodical and digital. Print (both periodical and book) sales grew $55 million to $835 million in 2014, up 7% from 2013.