In the first three months of 2021 manga sales are doing tremendously well in the United States. According to NPD BookScan, print manga titles sold 3.6 million units. Meanwhile, a recent study by ICV2, stated that manga has helped graphic novel sales in North America skyrocket by 80% in 2021, with 4 million units being sold at the beginning of this year. This was the highest volume of print book sales in a first quarter since NPD Bookscan began tracking book sales in 2004. March was a huge month, sales were triple of what they were last year.
The Vice President Publishing Sales at Viz Media, Kevin Hamric, previously stated in an interview with ICv2 that Viz Media saw a 70% growth in the U.S. market for 2020, in line with a 43% increase in overall manga sales in the United States in 2020. “Last year was our biggest year ever, despite the pandemic, and 2021 numbers are off the charts,” says Lianne Sentar, sales and marketing manager at Seven Seas Entertainment. Kurt Hassler, publisher and managing director at Yen Press said “For the first quarter of 2021, we saw our sales functionally double, which is well beyond anything we were forecasting.”
The most popular manga series this year so far is My Hero Academia, Dragon Ball Super, One Piece and Attack On Titan. All of these series are the posterchildren of mainstream manga, but there are some other good ones that are worth checking out, such as Kingdom, to Your Eternity, Tokyo Revengers, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Chainsaw Man and others.
I think the North American market is maturing, which is leading to manga sales. There are all sorts of titles that are appeal towards certain demographics, such as josei manga, which are titles marketed toward adult women and seinen manga (titles marketed toward adult men), and LGBT+ manga. I also believe that streaming platforms such as Netflix and Crunchyroll are inspiring people to checkout the source material, whether it is print manga or lite novels.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.