There are now more comic books published annually in France and Belgium than ever before, according to the festival’s artistic director, Stéphane Beaujean. “The market has risen from 700 books per year in the 1990s to 5,000 this year,” he said in an interview. “I don’t know any cultural industry which has had that kind of increase.”
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Angoulême is a cornerstone of the comics industry in France and Belgium, but some in the field say the exuberant headlines conceal a more complex picture. A common refrain is that the huge increase in titles has meant that, while there’s more money in the industry, there are also a greater number of authors grasping for a share of it.
Benoît Peeters, an author of comic books who has also written a biography of the philosopher Jacques Derrida, said in an interview that despite the increase in overall readership, “the sales of each book, except for those like Asterix and manga, are going down.”
That doesn't seem too surprising, but an increase in quantity and diversity in content is something that should still be valued and celebrated.