Graphic novel best seller lists return to the NY Times

Graphic novels at library

Updated on December 10, 2021

Some good news from the New York Times: the paper’s announced it’s bringing back graphic novels as part of the New York Times Book Review best seller lists.

The paper had dropped graphic novels (which the Times bizarrely insists on calling “graphic books,” a term nobody uses) from its best seller lists in early 2017. The reasons given at the time weren’t particularly convincing to most comics fans and creators. The latter were especially hurt by this decision; the visibility of graphic novels on the New York Times best seller list meant a strong promotional point for creators, especially in bookstores and libraries.

The New York Times states graphic novels will return to the lists on October 2nd (today!) online, and on October 20 in print. The new Graphic Books list will be monthly; it combines hardcover, paperback, and digital formats, unlike the previously separate lists for the first two. The new list will also include all genres (fiction, nonfiction), age groups (children and adult material), and manga.

Kids graphic novels
Photo by Classroom Camera (Cascade Canyon School) (Flickr / CC BY)

From the sounds of it, I’d expect strong showings by what’s dominating book channel sales. That is, Raina Telgemeier, “Dog Man,” and various manga; not so much Big Two superheroes. I’d imagine that won’t please those who still believe that single-issue direct market DC/Marvel books are the be-all and end-all of comics.

Despite the New York Times’ sometimes snobbish treatment of comics (it’s a paper that doesn’t run newspaper comic strips), I’m glad to see the return of the graphic novels lists.

In related news, the Times is also adding best seller lists for: mass market paperbacks, including romance; “Middle Grade Paperback”; and “Young Adult Paperback.” Being eliminated are monthly lists for science and sports books.

The New York Times best seller lists are available here:

Meanwhile, on Publishers Weekly’s best seller lists…

The book marketplace news website Publishers Weekly also offers best-seller lists for comics. Their top 10 comics list this week shows a large amount of manga.

Meanwhile, the best selling book (period) this week is Raina Telgemeier’s “Guts,” which sold 76,216 volumes. Compared to the direct market for August, “Guts” outsold in one week the top-selling direct market trade paperback (“The Walking Dead,” vol. 32) sevenfold. There’s a reason DC Comics (among other publishers) wants in on the graphic novel market.

Photo by the University of Illinois Library (Flickr / CC BY / cropped from original)


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Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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