Yesterday I posted our 25 best-selling comics of 2011. Today I’m posting our 25 best-selling books and graphic novels of 2011!
1. GO THE F*** TO SLEEP - This kids’ book parody was far and away our best-selling book of the year. Let’s just say that parents thought it was very funny. The audiobook read by Samuel L. Jackson fueled sales, but we all sold a ton to people who saw it, picked it up, read it, and laughed.
2. HARK! A VAGRANT HC – The Drawn and Quarterly release of Kate Beaton’s comic strip was a staff and customer favorite!
Special note: The first two books on this list are physical book versions of content that was free online. There’s a big debate out there about whether putting something out there for free helps or hurts sales of the book, and my take on it is this: If something is really good, having it out there for free helps sales of the book. Go to Sleep and Hark! a Vagrant are really, really good. People bought Hark because they love Kate Beaton’s work. If she were a mediocre cartoonist, having the stuff free online wouldn’t help sales for me. But she’s great. You know what else sells really well? Calvin and Hobbes. And Peanuts. Those have been finished for years, and you can read them in newspapers and for free online. It really is about the quality of the work. If no one wants to own something, having it out there for free will either not move the needle on sales, or will push them down, in my experience. Anyway. Seemed like a good place to mention that.
3. LOEG III: CENTURY #2 1969 - This could have gone on either list (and would have placed high either way), since it’s short for a graphic novel, but long for a comic. It does have a spine, so we left it in the book section. Anyway, it’s the most recent installment in one of the best-selling series we carry, Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
4. BONE COLOR ED SC VOL 01 OUT FROM BONEVILLE
5. SCOTT PILGRIM GN VOL 01 PRECIOUS LITTLE LIFE - Two classic titles from series which are over (that sort of doesn’t apply to Bone, as you’ll see later) which have always done well in the store! Bone is an all-ages series and Scott Pilgrim is aimed at teenagers and older, which is a pretty heavy contrast with, say, Walking Dead, or the first book on our list.
6. WALKING DEAD TP VOL 14 NO WAY OUT - The second most recent book in the Walking Dead series. Volume 15 didn’t place because it came out a little before the end of the year. It’ll sell a lot over time too! We definitely sold a lot of this series due to the TV show, but it was already a huge seller for us.
7. AVATAR LAST AIRBENDER TP VOL 01 LOST ADVENTURES - This has been a big surprise, and has led to the next Avatar graphic novel (due next Wednesday, I think) being one of our highest ordered titles of January!
8. UMBRELLA ACADEMY TP VOL 01 APOCALYPSE SUITE
9. WALKING DEAD TP VOL 01 DAYS GONE BYE - More best-sellers for us. I think Umbrella Academy has been in the top ten for us every year since it came out. Noboday’s surprised we sell a lot of Walking Dead, I assume. It’s placement on this list is definitely higher than it would have been without the show.
10. FABLES TP VOL 15 ROSE RED – Like Walking Dead volume 14, there was another one of these this year, but it came out so close to the end of the year that it didn’t chart as high as this one.
11. CHI’S SWEET HOME GN VOL 01 – Cute kitty cat comics from Japan for young readers! We kept these front and center in the store for a lot of the year because they sold so well for us. There are seven in the series so far, but the first one sells the most.
12. BONE: QUEST FOR THE SPARK SC NOVEL BOOK 01 – This is the newest Bone book. It’s a novel written by Tom Sniegoski with spot illustrations by Jeff Smith (as opposed to a collection of a comic written and drawn by Jeff Smith), but there was still a very high demand for this book!
13. HABIBI GN - Craig Thompson’s follow-up to Blankets moved a very respectable amount of books. Like Blankets, this was all about sex and religion. Unlike Blankets, this was a fantasy, or maybe a fable, rather than a memoir. He sure can draw.
14. AMULET SC VOL 01 STONEKEEPER
15. AMULET SC VOL 03 CLOUD SEARCHERS - Another kids’ series we sell by the boatload. I think Volume three beat volume two for us because we were unable to get volume two for a while.
16. BLACK DYNAMITE: SLAVE ISLAND GN – This is like LOEG: 1969 in that it’s shorter and cheaper than most of the stuff on this list, but it’s still technically a graphic novel rather than a book. It’s the companion piece to the fantastic faux-Blaxploitation movie and upcoming Adult Swim animated series.
17. AXE COP TP VOL 01 – A webcomic cowritten by the artist’s five-year old brother. That’s a recipe for success if ever there was one.
18. YO GABBA GABBA BOARD COMIC: GOOD NIGHT GABBALAND – In addition to the Yo Gabba Gabba plush toys, which were three of our top four-selling plush toys this year, we sold a lot of this kids’ book!
19. CURSED PIRATE GIRL TP – Beautiful, and out of print for most of the year. It’s a good thing we ordered a lot up front. I hope we can get more soon!
20. CHEW TP VOL 01 - This one had a slower build for us than for a lot of shops I know, but the comic about a cibopathic detective (he eats something and knows its history) has developed into a strong seller!
21. YO GABBA GABBA BOARD COMIC GABBA BALL – Here’s the other Yo Gabba Gabba board book!
22. AFRODISIAC HC - Not only is this a fantastic book which we handsell at any opportunity – our signing event with artist and cocreator Jim Rugg in February 2010 was one of our best events ever – but the release of Black Dynamite gave us an opportunity to sell even more of these this year. When folks came looking for Black Dynamite, more often than not, once we pointed it out, they were interested in Afrodisiac as well!
23. SIMON’S CAT - A casual humor book about a cat based on popular animated Youtube videos!
24. AMULET SC VOL 02 STONEKEEPERS CURSE
25. AMULET SC VOL 04 LAST COUNCIL - okay, here’s volume two of Amulet. And volume four! Like I said before, these were big sellers for us this year. They’re the successor to Bone as far as being a great fantasty series for kids!
There you go. I hope you enjoyed reading about what we sold well in 2011!
Andrew Neal, Owner
Chapel Hill Comics