The big day has arrived for thousands, if not millions of readers. Young and old. Asterix and Obelix are back this Thursday, October 21 for a 39e adventure, called “Asterix and the Griffon”.
And like every two years now, it is the literary event announced for the fall. How could it be otherwise when we know that the 38 previous adventures of these sympathetic Gauls have sold 365 million copies worldwide, with a translation into 111 languages and dialects. Which makes it quite simply the most translated and read series in the world.
The previous opus, “La fille de Vercingétorix” (published in 2019), had also sold 2.2 million copies in French-speaking territory (it was crowned “best-selling book in France in 2019”) , 1.3 million in Germany and 500,000 in the rest of the world.
A circulation of five million copies
Figures more or less similar to those of the printing of this new album, the fifth under the leadership of the duo Jean-Yves Ferri (script) – Didier Conrad (drawing), successors of the legendary René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. Namely 2 million copies for France and other French-speaking countries and 1.6 million in German for a total of 5 million worldwide. All appearing at the same time in 17 different languages (see below).
So in 17 languages, but not in Luxembourgish. No comic strip by Asterix has been translated into this language since 1996 and the last volume published to date, “Asterix among the Helvetians”.
In addition to the French version, “Astérix et le Griffon” will appear in 16 other languages this Thursday.
(Photo: Hachette Livre)
“The release of a new Asterix is always the guarantee of a good sale” smiles Steve Vinandy from Fantasybox, one of the comic, manga and comic strip specialists in the capital. “The impact is significant when the new album is launched. Afterwards, it wilts a bit. Contrary to other series, less mainstream, which, for their part, sell very well on the length. Sometimes even better. ”
In Luxembourg, on Asterix lit… in English
The sound of the bell is not very different at Ernster, the favorite bookstore of Luxembourgers. “A new Asterix adventure will be one of our best sales over one year. But it’s not the absolute bestseller, ”explains the director, Valérie Lannoy. “On the other hand, it will be our biggest sale of the year in terms of books in French. Around 2,000 copies. While we sell five times less than the German version. This is an exceptional case where our customers prefer French. The original version, then, in this case. Whereas, if a new Ken Follett appears, for example, a majority of it will be sold in English, German coming in second and French only in third. “
Wouldn’t Asterix be the huge bookstore sale you can imagine? The reason is simple. The comic strip created by the Goscinny-Uderzo duo has long since passed the stage of a simple book. It is now more of a common consumer good. We no longer move strongly in a specialized establishment to get around. “People just buy it from the first point of sale they find it. And there are a lot of them… ”continues Valérie Lannoy.
Asterix is what we call an all-network comic strip, which can be found in all catalogs.
30 to 40% in supermarkets
Thus, in Luxembourg, for example, 30 to 40% of the 9,500 copies in English planned for the Luxembourg market – i.e. a large circulation, which is moreover when we add to this figure the German version – have landed directly in recent hours. in the shelves of the various supermarkets of the country.
Figures revealed by Dilibel, the Belgian broadcaster of the Hachette group, holder of Asterix rights since 2008. Luxembourg thus represents 7.5% of the Belgian-Luxembourg market.