Why book sales are soaring in 2021

Driven by Asterix, by the craze for manga, and by a period conducive to reading, the book market had an excellent year 2021.

In 2021, book sales jumped in France by 19%, compared to 2019, according to figures on National Publishing Union. How to explain the incredible good health of the market? Several factors are contributing to this surge.

It is first of all to the success of comics and to the phenomenal craze for manga that the French market owes its dazzling form. There is thus the release of the last part of the adventures of Asterix, Asterix and the Griffin, still a driving force behind the comic book, which has sold 1.5 million copies. Ferri and Conrad’s album is the best-selling book in France this year.

Mangas and culture pass

The manga, an ultra-flourishing genre propelled by the pass culture – widely used by young beneficiaries to purchase their favorite series, – also inflated the sector figures. One Piece, Demon Slayer and The attack of the Titans, the three series most bought with the culture pass sold hundreds of thousands of copies each.

And then, depending on the confinements and other travel restrictions, many French people have turned to reading to forget the anxiety-provoking news. The trend, which began in 2020, was confirmed in 2021.

Best-sellers and classics

The year 2021 was also marked by the release of several bestsellers, as according to figures from the site News. The Anomalies by Hervé Le Tellier, Goncourt in 2020, which has exceeded one million copies, becoming the second best-selling Goncourt in history (behind The lover by Marguerite Duras), or the books by Bernard Minier (The valley), Guillaume Musso (The Unknown of the Seine, and Life is a novel, 399.204 and 433.532 copies), Camille Kouchner (The Big Family), Marc Lévy (It happened at night), all sold very well.

Finally, serial or cinematographic adaptations of novels or literary sagas have thrown many viewers into the shelves of bookstores. Firstly there is Lupin, with Omar Sy, on Netflix, earlier this year. Then the classics of SF Dune and Foundation, adapted respectively in film and in series. Without forgetting the literary saga less known as The Bridgertons Chronicle Where The Witcher, boosted by the success of the series they inspired.

Never without my bookstore

This enthusiasm for reading has greatly benefited local bookstores, which the French seem to have rediscovered.

“The ‘click and collect’ allowed a rediscovery of the local bookstore” noted in the World at the start of the year, Martine Prosper, general secretary of the CFDT national book-publishing union. Here again, the trend initiated in 2020 continued in 2021. The Darcos law, which which is waging war on discounted book delivery fees charged by the major players in e-commerce by establishing the principle of a floor price, should also work in favor of booksellers.