Books

1 in 4 Books Sold in France Are Comics

While we primarily focus on stateside bookish news, we thought some recent news on France’s reading habits was pretty interesting. According to the data from market research company GfK, 1 in 4 books sold in the country are comics.

France’s affection for comics isn’t a recent thing — it is the home of immensely popular comics like Asterix and The Adventures of Tintin, after all — but comics did get a boost because of a couple recent things. For one, the onset of the pandemic saw that more people stayed home, allowing for more reading time.

There was also a measure implemented recently called the Culture Pass. With it, French teens were allotted €300 ($367) to spend on things like museum trips, instruments, and yes, comics.

Still, publishing industry people like Marie Parisot, the marketing and commercial director of Dargaud, didn’t think the increased interest would last this long, “We didn’t expect this phenomenon after lockdown was lifted. Everyone was worried people would stay at home, turned in on themselves.”

Comics’ enduring popularity in France can be attributed to a number of things, like the country’s vast number of independent bookstores (which equals the number in the US and the UK combined). These indie bookstores allow for a variety of comic book styles to flourish. Another reason may be an interest in nonfiction comics.

Whatever the reason, it’s nice to see the medium flourishing.

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