‘The Walking Dead’ Boosts Sales, Interest in Graphic Novels

Robert Kirkman's zombie series dominates sales charts so far this year

Andrew Lincoln

The success of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has helped boost sales of comic books and graphic novels for bookstores.

Overall print sales for the graphic novel category are up 10% over last year, according to a new report released by Nielsen.

But Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead” books, published by Image Comics, rank high above the rest.

His two “Walking Dead” compendiums are the top two bestselling books in the category so far this year, selling 100,000 copies combined. Those are followed by “The Walking Dead: Volume 1,” which has sold 26,000 copies so far this year, putting it in the third spot.

Kirkman and his series occupy four of the top five positions on the list of top graphic novels year-to-date.

And Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead: Compendium One,” priced at $59.99, is the highest-priced book on Nielsen’s BookScan bestseller chart for overall adult fiction in 2013. Book enjoyed a 47% week-to-week sales lift coinciding with the season finale of show in late March, which was watched by nearly 16 million viewers.

While Kirkman’s books have sold more than 1 million units over the past 18-months, Naoko Takeuchi’s “Sailor Moon” manga series has moved 80,000-copies, and Masashi Kishimoto’s ninja manga series “Naruto” has sold almost 100,000 copies this year.

Nielsen found that graphic novels have been able to carve out a niche for themselves on book shelves with their rich plots and illustrations, and have no doubt, been given a boost by several successful TV shows and film franchises, like “Walking Dead,” and Marvel and DC’s superhero-based actioners.

“Watchmen,” “Marvel Avengers,” “Batman,” and “The DC Comics Ultimate Character Guide” also made the Top 25 list for 2013 so far — although not a single one of those made the top 10.