The Irish graphic novels market is “in crisis” according to new research commissioned by the graphic novel publisher.
The report, released today by Chartered Financial Services and commissioned by Graphic Book Ireland, shows the industry has lost over €3bn in the past five years.
According to Chartered, there were 541 graphic novels in circulation in the Irish market in 2018, up from 486 in 2015.
The market grew by 7% in the last year, from €12.8m to €25.9m.
The growth rate of the graphic novels was due to “a large number of graphic novels published in 2017 and 2018”.
However, the industry’s growth has been “subjected to significant declines” as well as the collapse in sales.
The authors of the report said that the Irish government is to blame for the decline in sales, noting that the number of “younger, more diverse, less affluent audiences” is not keeping pace with the increase in graphic novels.
“This presents a real challenge to publishers and the industry at large, given that the young population and the increasingly diverse nature of the population that now makes up this market are the driving forces of its continued growth,” the report stated.
“As the graphic novelist community becomes increasingly younger and more diverse over the coming years, there is the prospect that these demographic shifts will increase the number and number of readers that the graphic memoir community is able to reach.”
The authors also cited “the growing number of people in and around Dublin” as a potential challenge to the industry, noting the number in Dublin is “growing exponentially”.
“With a population of over 200,000 people in the city, it is a significant and growing part of our population and a demographic that will be increasingly important in the years to come,” they said.
“The future of the industry will depend on the future of our community.”
According to the report, the graphic book industry in Ireland is “losing money”.
It said that revenue from graphic novels is “staggering” and “far below” the average rate for print and broadcast books.
The report stated that “most of the growth in revenues from the graphic fiction market is attributable to the relatively small number of authors and their staff” compared to the average for all authors.
“Despite the industry growing rapidly, it continues to face a significant financial challenge,” the authors said.