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Tintin books: sales statistics

#1 · Posted: 24 Jul 2005 01:17
Of all the languages Tintin has been published in, which sells the most copies? And how many copies a year would that be? My first guess would be French;the world Francophone population is probably not as large as the Anglophone population, but Tintin probably has greater 'market penetration' amongst this group.

On a related point, what (roughly) are the annual sales figures for Tintin in the various English-speaking countries? My first guess would be the UK, because that's where most of the interest in this forum is from, but on the other hand America has more people (most of them still unintroduced to Tintin!)

Thanks in advance for the information.
UK Correspondent
#2 · Posted: 24 Jul 2005 01:47
I would imagine that the UK is responsible for the greater annual sales of English books rather than the USA - as you pointed out, Tintin has never really made it over there. I think the problem is the heavily-saturated comic strip market, but that's beside the point. Most UK bookshops stock at least some of the books, and you can generally find Tintin in almost every public library.

Anyway, in answer to your questions, I've searched for some statistics, but unfortunately have only been able to find them relating to the French books. This is a list of what I've come up with, though, some of it may be of interest :

Sales (per year) :
· In 1945, 65,000 French albums sold
· In 1955, 430,000 " "
. In 1965, 1.37 million " "
. In 1975, 2.2 million " "
. In 1980, 3.7 million " "
. In 1984 3.2 million (following Hergé's death the previous year
. During the 1980s, sales dropped to 2 million per year, but increased again to over 3 million in the early 1990s following the release of the Ellipse-Nelvana series of cartoons

General statistics :
· The Tintin books make up 17% of Casterman's total sales revenue at present, which for a series with no truly new books isn't bad at all. This is a step down from the 1980s, when it was closer to 50% of total sales.
· The re-edition of Tintin & Alph-Art was the 8th best-selling comic strip album of 2004 in the Francophone world.
· In French, Tintin au Congo is the overall best-selling album.
· 44% of French homes possess at least one album (making the second most popular comic after Astérix, statistically)
· Almost 30% of French homes have the full series

Sources :
· Objectif Tintin archives
· La Galerie Gutenberg

I think that there's a sales chart or something like that in the new edition of Le Monde d'Hergé by Benoît Peeters ; I'll get it out tomorrow and see what it has to say.

Hope that's of help !
#3 · Posted: 24 Jul 2005 12:18
· In French, Tintin au Congo is the overall best-selling album.

That's wierd. I thought it be something like Red Rackham's Treasure, which is, if I remember correctly, the best selling Tintin book worldwide.

UK Correspondent
#4 · Posted: 24 Jul 2005 13:08
Hmm, I may have it wrong then. Actually, thinking about it, I think it's the first Tintin book that Francophone speakers tend to read. So yes, you're spot on, Red Rackham's Treasure is the best-selling.
UK Correspondent
#5 · Posted: 8 Aug 2005 17:39
Just found some more figures that might be of interest. In an interview with Swiss newspaper La Liberté on 10th January 2004, Etienne Pollet (who's in charge of Tintin books at Casterman) reckoned that 116.5 million Tintin books have been sold in French to date ; Tintin et l'Alph-Art had a first print-run of half a million copies, and the re-edition of Land of the Soviets sold one and a half million copies (all in French).

And regarding the best-selling books, he said (rough translation) : "The two best-selling books are Tintin au Congo and Tintin en Amerique. If the average sales of an album are put on a scale out of 100, Congo and Amerique are at 113, whilst Les Bijoux de la Castafiore, considered by many to be a masterpiece, is at 87."

Source : magazine supplement from La Liberté, samedi 10 janvier 2004 (online here as a PDF)
#6 · Posted: 9 Aug 2005 13:59
I also would expect that Tintin would sell very well in Flemish and in Dutch. After all, I think that signs in Brussels are in both Flemish and French! Tintin stamps also rapidly sold out in the Netherlands, so it's easy to imagine the books selling like hotcakes over there. In fact, the musical "The Temple of the Sun" was produced in both Dutch and French and the official website is in the two languages.

Any hard figures on sales of Tintin books in Flemish and in Dutch?
#7 · Posted: 9 Aug 2005 17:31
The figure I always hear is that Tintin sells 4 million annually, if going by the figures above it would seem that French releases make up the vast majority of those

UK Correspondent
#8 · Posted: 2 Jun 2007 21:09
Spotted this in the Times the other day:

"J. K. Rowling is the bestselling author ever, with more than 320 million book sales to her name. The only authors who come close are Enid Blyton and Dr Seuss, who have each sold an estimated 100 million books"

If we take Etienne Pollet's figure of 116.5 million books sold in French to date, excluding foreign sales, surely that would put Hergé well above Blyton and Seuss (unless they're exclusively English language sales)? A BBC News article states that 200 million copies have been sold in 50 languages. Any thoughts?
Mark Falconer
#9 · Posted: 3 Jun 2007 05:59
Best selling fiction author, no doubt -- I happen to know that the Bible and Mao's Little Red Book have sold far more than those.

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