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January 2015 Comic Sales Estimates: Every seventh comic Diamond shipped was Star Wars #1

Monday, February 9, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCMarvSW1The final comics sales estimates for January are out from Diamond Comic Distributors, and as reported here on Friday, the Direct Market began the year strongly, up 12%. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in January 2015.

As expected, Marvel's relaunch issue Star Wars #1 had sales that, when UK and February reorders are included, will put it over 1 million copies sold; Diamond shipped closed to 986,000 copies to North American retailers in the month of January. The lion's share of those orders were placed by comics ships, although one of the dozens of variant covers was for the repackager Loot Crate, whose  orders would have been somewhere over 200,000 copies based on what we've seen in the past. Regardless, it's reasonably safe to assume the issue would have taken the century bestseller record based on comic-shop sales alone.

The achievement has been added to the Diamond Exclusive Era records page, but there are a number of other things we can say about it that we don't normally keep categories for. The issue sold nearly nine times as many copies as its closest competitor, Batman #38; this doesn't appear to have happened since 1991, when X-Men Vol. 2 #1 — at 8 million copies plus, the best-selling comic in North American history — outpaced the second-place title, X-Force #3, by about the same factor. Further, the issue outsold the next 12 comic books on the charts combined — and, perhaps more impressively, sold as many copies as every comic book between 163rd and 300th place, combined. About every seventh comic book retailers ordered in the Top 300 was a Star Wars #1 — and the comic book alone represented 11% of Diamond's dollar sales for the month, if we look just at standard retail price. That's larger than everyone's market share but Marvel and DC.

Comic unit sales were up 10% over the previous January, and the Star Wars issue accounts for all the increase and more, but it doesn't really work to make comparisons of the "without this issue" variety. It's true that the approximately $5 million spent on this one comic book is slightly larger than the increase in the size of the overall market this January versus last January — but it's reasonable to expect some of those dollars would have been in the market anyway, and simply got rerouted to Star Wars #1. Graphic novel sales were up nearly 17% unrelated to the action in new comic books, so the market had strength in other places. The market shares across time charts have been updated for the new year; we now have a 17-year track, as seen above.

The aggregate changes are as follows. No year-to-date numbers, since January is all we know:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
January 2015: 6.81 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +10%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +21%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +37%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +22%

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
January 2015 versus one year ago: +9.65%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
January 2015: $26.87 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +15%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +39%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +94%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +88%

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
January 2015 versus one year ago: +10.27%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
January 2015: $6.63 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +14%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -26%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +26%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +48%

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
January 2015 versus one year ago: +16.83%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
January 2015: $33.5 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +15%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +25%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +68%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +99%

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
January 2015 versus one year ago this month: +12.27%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
January 2015: approximately $43.75 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +12%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +37%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +88%

RELEASES
New comic books released: 449
New graphic novels released: 268
New magazines released: 41
All new releases: 758

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.77; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.95. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

Some long overdue updates: the graphics on the Market Shares Across Time page has been updated, as have the Three-Year and Complete Diamond Era sales graphics reporting the performance of the business across time. And this month's update starts a new year of sales reports here on Comichron: we neglected to mention that last month's report completed 20 years of sales rankings on site, beginning with January 1995 at Diamond and Capital City. (There wasn't just one listing back then, as there were still several distributors.) More historical data on the way this year!

http://bit.ly/STTakedownJohn Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, and the upcoming Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, releasing January 27. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com.

And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

Read more...

Marvel's Star Wars #1 boosts January 2015 comics sales; market up 12% to start year

Friday, February 6, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCMarvSW1
The year is off to a solid start, according to preliminary statistics released today by Diamond Comic Distributors. Comic shops in North America ordered nearly $44 million in comic books and graphic novels in the month, up 12.27% over last January and topping the total for December, a rare but not unprecedented feat. It is the largest dollar figure for January in the Diamond Exclusive Era, and nearly double what it was in January ten years ago

In the least surprising news in some time, Star Wars #1 from Marvel was the chart-topper: the comic book is reported by its publisher to have sales over a million copies, helped by an unprecedented number of variant covers and boosted by special editions for Loot Crate and other channels. Marvel's market share jumped as a consequence, accounting for 45.64% of units and 41.05% of dollars. Overall comics unit sales were up 10.27% year-over-year, but slightly off from December.

This January was a four-ship-week month, but while January 2014 had five Wednesdays, its first Wednesday was counted as part of December 2013's shipping. So it's really a four-week-to-four-week comparison.

The comparative sales statistics:


DOLLARS UNITS
JANUARY 2015 VS. DECEMBER 2014
Comics -2.69% -2.59%
Graphic Novels 9.12% 10.49%
Total Comics & Graphic Novels 0.77% -1.66%
JANUARY 2015 VS. JANUARY 2014
Comics 10.27% 9.65%
Graphic Novels 16.83% 12.33%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 12.27% 9.86%

http://bit.ly/CCDoWHC
We'll be able to provide estimates for Diamond's January sales of Star Wars #1 next week, but as always when a publisher announces a sales number for a blockbuster — and Marvel, DC, Image, and many other publishers have done so in the past — be advised that the Diamond figure will almost certainly be lower. Diamond's figure only includes the copies it shipped to North American outlets in the calendar month. There's sure to be chart activity for the title in February; there are copies going to the U.K. market; and with this particular release, there are many custom releases going outside the comics field, and it's hard to know whether they all went through Diamond.

The Death of Wolverine hardcover led the graphic novel list. The top selling comics and graphic novels:

RANK COMIC BOOK PRICE VENDOR
1 Star Wars #1 $4.99 Marvel
2 Batman #38 $3.99 DC
3 Amazing Spider-Man #12 $3.99 Marvel
4 Amazing Spider-Man #13 $3.99 Marvel
5 Uncanny Avengers #1 $3.99 Marvel
6 Wolverines #1 $3.99 Marvel
7 Ant-Man #1 $4.99 Marvel
8 Thor #4 $3.99 Marvel
9 Justice League #38 $3.99 DC
10 The Walking Dead #136 $2.99 Image
RANK GRAPHIC NOVEL PRICE VENDOR
1 Death of Wolverine HC $24.99 Marvel
2 Outcast By Kirkman & Azaceta Vol.  1  $9.99 Image
3 Saga Vol.  4 $14.99 Image
4 Black Science Vol.  2: Welcome To Nowhere $14.99 Image
5 Saga Vol.  1 $9.99 Image
6 Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2: Spider-Verse Prelude $17.99 Marvel
7 Saga Vol.  3 $14.99 Image
8 Saga Vol.  2 $14.99 Image
9 The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye $14.99 Image
10 Deadpool: The Ones With Deadpool $15.99 Marvel

The market shares:

Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 41.05% 45.64%
DC 24.18% 27.06%
Image 9.21% 8.91%
IDW 5.78% 4.52%
Dark Horse 4.01% 3.03%
Dynamite 2.41% 2.22%
Boom 2.26% 2.28%
Eaglemos 1.46% 0.32%
Avatar 1.08% 0.81%
Viz 0.95% 0.39%
Other 7.61% 4.82%
 And finally, the number of new items shipped:


Comics Shipped Graphic Novels Shipped Magazines shipped Total Shipped
Marvel 79 33 0 112
DC 86 23 0 109
IDW 50 26 0 76
Image 54 14 0 68
Dark Horse 28 19 0 47
Boom 34 6 0 40
Dynamite 31 6 0 37
Viz 0 31 0 31
Eaglemoss 0 0 19 19
Avatar 10 2 1 13
Other 78 115 28 221
TOTAL 450 275 48 773

A last caveat: while January's figures surged, remember that the same things we say about poor Januaries applies here. The amount of volume in the business is lower, so swings can look large but not have much impact later in the year. Last April's volume was sufficient to erase the deficit from the winter months; likewise, a slightly off April might negate a very strong January. It's all about what's available on the shelves, and how much publishers release.

Full estimates should appear here Monday.

http://bit.ly/STTakedownJohn Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, and the upcoming Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, releasing January 27. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com.

And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

Read more...

2000 for 2014: Sales estimates for the Top Thousand Comics and Graphic Novels

Monday, January 19, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

With today's release of December comics orders from Diamond Comic Distributors — and our subsequent analysis and estimates for December 2014 comics sales now posted — Comichron has drawn upon that information to project estimates for the Top Thousand Comics and the Top Thousand Graphic Novels for 2014. Click to see them.

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=amazing+spider-man+1&pubid=&PubRng=&AffID=874007P01The tables are on the page just beneath the image links to individual months. As in past years, it is a large page, necessarily, so it may take a bit to load. Also as in the past, I have rounded off estimates to the nearest hundred comics.

Before launching into a discussion of what's on the list, some more general thoughts on 2014, now that we've seen all the data:

• Last winter stank, but it didn't matter. Headlines for comics sales in January, February, and March 2014 were dire in many places (though not here); the Direct Market was off 4% in the first quarter, overall, or about $5 million. But comics shops made that up in April alone. Across the next three quarters. the market was up 7.1%, or $28 million — allowing the final comics and graphic novel total sale for the year to be up more than 4%, or $23 million to $540.4 million.

It's a good reminder that not all sales seasons are created equal (especially not as January 2014 had one of its weeks given to December 2013 in the accounting), and that the amount of volume in the market is what matters. It is also a good reminder as we look ahead to the figures for the first part of this year, which will be infused by Star Wars #1's blockbuster sales: its effect is likely to be even further amplified given the lower amount of releases to the market in the winter. The addition of a million-copy book to a market that might only see 6 or 7 million copies sold in January could be quite significant.

• 2014 was not the year of the blockbuster — despite a new top-selling comic book for the century. As noted further below, Amazing Spider-Man #1 from April broke all sales records from the last fifteen years — but it was largely an outlier, as six months out of twelve the top-seller for the month was the book that leads the list when no blockbusters are around: Batman. (Not that Batman's sales haven't been blockbuster some months in the past, just that it is the typical industry leader in non-event months.) This seems to have played out in the charts in general, as we see in the Top Thousand and the larger indexes that the upper tier books didn't carry as much weight this year, even as comics sales overall grew.

Here's some visible evidence of the shape of the market, as seen on the lists. We find the following breakdowns for unit sales:

NUMBER OF COMIC BOOK ISSUES SELLING
AT LEAST THIS MANY COPIES DURING YEAR
  



200,000+ 100,000+ 75,000+ 50,000+ 25,000+ 10,000+
2009 2 39 119 379 n.a. n.a.
2010 0 26 94 303 955 n.a.
2011 3 42 86 343 984 n.a.
2012 5 63 129 403 1100 2250
2013 6 64 178 390 1128 2430
2014 4 40 108 401 1195 2353
  
Another way to look at the above is: where does the 100,000-copy level start on the chart? In 2010, every book above 26th place sold that many copies or more; in 2014, six-figures started at 40th place.
As you can see, the upper tiers, above 75,000 copies, fell off dramatically from 2013 to 2014. But the next tiers bulked up. The best guess is that about 3,800 comics sold at least 5,000 copies — which makes sense, considering that's about where the 300th place cutoff is each month these days.

Now to that list. The Top Thousand Comics account for around 52.07 million copies; that's well over half of all the comics that Diamond sold. The figure is down from 54.21 million copies in 2013, though Diamond's unit sales of comics overall were up 0.25%.  In 2012 the figure was 53.43 million copies; in 2011, it was 47 million copies, and in 2010, the total was 45.3 million copies.

Using our database to project sales for other issues, it appears that the Top 2,500 Comics for the year sold around 78 million copies, down from 79 million in 2013. So the farther down the list we go, the more the unit sales picture improves.

In full retail dollars, the Top Thousand Comics sold for $201.03 million, a $1 million drop from last year's total of $202.02 million. (See the 2013 article here and charts here.) Again, since Diamond's dollar sales for comics were up 4%, it's clear that the highest-selling comics were not where the growth was last year — but rather, the titles selling fewer than 25,000 copies each. And it's growth from 2012's figure, which was $191.4 million. (See the 2012 article here and charts here.)

Doing the same estimating for the Top 2,500 Comics puts 2014 ahead of 2013, $294 million versus $288 million.

Once again this year, almost every single one of the Top 100 comics on the list had a "multiple order codes" notation from Diamond, meaning there were variant covers or reprints combined to make the main entry. 

The Top Thousand Graphic Novels, led by Saga Vol. 3, went for $81.19 million, up from $79.03 million in 2013, from $71.4 million in 2012, and from $58.4 million in 2011. Combined, the Top Thousand Comics and Top Thousand Graphic Novel lists account for about 52% of the orders by dollars Diamond received in publishing last year, which was around $540 million. That percentage is down from 54% in 2013 and 55% in 2012. Again, the best-selling books are accounting for less and less, even as the pie grows larger.

TOP COMICS OF THE YEAR, DECADE, AND CENTURY


http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=amazing+spider-man+583&pubid=&PubRng=&AffID=874007P01The renumbered Amazing Spider-Man #1 was the top seller of the year; Comichron estimates that, all told, around 559,200 copies of the issue, including all variants, were ordered by Direct Market retailers in North America. That's enough to make it the highest-selling comic book of the 21st Century through the end of 2014; Marvel's Star Wars #1, released last week, will easily surpass it, but we won't see it on the list until Diamond releases its 2015 end-of-year data next year.

So it will be a short reign for the Spider-Man issue atop the list — less than a year. The issue takes the spot held for five years by the Obama Amazing Spider-Man #583, with orders of 530,500 copies in 2009. You can see the updated top-sellers by year here.

The entire Top Comics of the 21st Century list has been updated, and it has been split into lists for the decade of 2000-2009 and the decade of the 2010s. One more comic book from 2014, Walking Dead #132, cracked the Top 10 for the Century, landing at #8. It's the third year in a row an issue from the series has broken into the list, but this one comes with a dagger in our charts, noting that most of its sales came from a single gigantic purchase by the repackager Loot Crate. While the copies were sold by Diamond and can't be separated out, it is worth some kind of footnote so readers in future years will know why this one issue ranked the way it did.

The Top 10 since 2000, up to 2014: 

TEN MOST ORDERED COMIC BOOKS OF THE 21ST CENTURY (up to 2014)

Comic-book Title Issue Ship Price Publisher Est. sales
1 Amazing Spider-Man (new series) 1 Apr-14 $5.99 Marvel 559,200
2 Amazing Spider-Man 583 Jan-09 $3.99 Marvel 530,500
3 Walking Dead (including Chromium edition) 100 Jul-12 $3.99 Image 384,800
4 Civil War 2 Jun-06 $2.99 Marvel 341,900
5 Civil War 3 Jul-06 $2.99 Marvel 337,000
6 Walking Dead 115 Oct-13 $2.99 Image 329,300
7 Civil War 1 Feb-13 $3.99 Marvel 328,500
8 Walking Dead† 132 Oct-14 $2.99 Image 326,300
9 Justice League of America 1 Feb-13 $3.99 DC 326,000
10 Captain America 25 Mar-07 $3.99 Marvel 317,700

Uncanny Avengers #1 and Civil War #4 were bumped from the Top 10.

Fourteen issues from 2014 made the Top 300 for the 21st Century list, once again fewer than last year. Five 2014 issues made the Top 100, and four made the Top 50.

THE PUBLISHERS
Who published the Top Thousand Comics this year? Here's the breakdown:

Marvel: 512 (+20 from 2013)
DC: 407 (-3 from 2013)
Image: 57 (+8 from 2013)
Dark Horse: 14 (-4 from 2013)

Archie: 4
(+3 from 2013)
Titan: 3 (+3 from 2013)
IDW: 1
(-14 from 2013)
Valiant: 1 (unchanged from 2013)
Dynamite: 1 (unchanged from 2013)

That's a pretty short list, with Aspen and Boom dropping out. Titan made the list, thanks to Doctor Who. Marvel picked up a bunch, while the biggest drop-off belonged to IDW, mostly for the reason that My Little Pony isn't as high on the charts as it was in 2013.

And here's the publisher breakdown of the Top Thousand Graphic Novels. Those with 10 or more entries:

DC: 393 (+31 from 2013)
Marvel: 251 (-37 from 2013)
Image: 115 (+19 from 2013)
Dark Horse: 88 (-3 from 2013) 
IDW: 36 (-6 from 2013)
Random House: 25 (+8 from 2013)
Boom: 19 (+7 from 2013)
 Viz: 17 (+1 from 2013)
Oni: 10 (+1 from 2013)

Marvel's loss is almost the size of DC's gain, and Image picked up a lot. Random House and Boom also made headway into the list.

Walking Dead softcovers and hardcovers in the Top 2,500 added up to more than $6.5 million at retail — with comics bringing the total for the line up to nearly $10.8 million. That's enough to give it a market share of exactly 2%, which would make it once again the seventh largest publisher for the year, after Dynamite were it a separate firm.

COVER PRICES

The average cost of the comic books retailers ordered in the Top Thousand was $3.86, but that goes down to $3.79 when you extend the chart to the Top 2,500. The average comic book offered in 2014 only cost $3.72, so people are tending toward the more expensive comics. This may also explain why the books at the top of the charts aren't pulling the same weight as they had before when it comes to number of units moved: the books atop the charts were more likely to cost more.

With the December data, we now have a 20-year monthly track on comics sales. While average prices on the covers of all offerings (the black line) and the average price of all the comics retailers bought (the red line) have been increasing, we note that they haven't been too far off what prices would have been if they followed inflation exactly. The green line below tracks what the average comic book at the end of 2014 — $2.25 — would have cost if it followed the inflation rate exactly:


Since comics are linked to prices to other goods and services — like paper and ink, and what it costs to hire talent — it's not too surprising that the average prices tend to have been a bit higher. And we can see that there have been times in which prices have increased faster than others: particularly 2008-2010, when major publishers tried to go from $2.99 to $3.99 in defiance of the general recession the rest of the economy was suffering. Comics publishers pulled back on price increases at that point. But generally, we might expect that a $2.25 comic book in 1994 ought to cost about $3.50 now — which it might if most publishers didn't eschew half-dollar increments. We're not far off of that.

To a degree, some of the perception of high comics prices comes from a lack of collective memory about what comics used to cost: look back on monthly changes over time and annual median prices since 1961 here. And the track of the green line above would be different depending on what year it started in: 1994 was a year in which paper supply was in great demand, and so that $2.25 baseline could already have been high. But there generally haven't been many wild departures from inflation in the general economy in the last 20 years.

Repeating the end-of-year report, the comic shop market in North America ordered more than $540 million worth of comics and graphic novels in 2014, an increase of 4% over 2013. The final end-of-year report, bringing in outside channels and digital, will appear later this year, but the comics portion of the figure is likely close to $357 million, with $178 million coming from graphic novels and the balance coming from magazines. You can look back on the 2013 Overall charts here.

There are 23 other years of Diamond annual reports on the site, going back to 1991. You can also find comparatives for how the market as a whole did across that time by viewing our Yearly Comics Sales page.

http://bit.ly/STTakedownJohn Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, and the upcoming Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, releasing January 27. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com.

And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

Read more...

December 2014 comics sales estimates now online

by John Jackson Miller

The final comics sales charts for December have been released by Diamond Comic Distributors, and as reported here on Friday, Batman #37 from DC as the top-selling comic book of the month. Comichron estimates that the issue finished with orders of more than 113,000 copies, one of only three titles to reach six figures. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in December 2014.

http://bit.ly/CCBat37And as noted last week, Batman #37 was probably not the highest-circulation comic book in North America for December, given that the previous issue, Batman #36, was part of the December Loot Crate — and the numbers for that are not reflected in Diamond's sales. The previous issue did not re-chart in December. (Diamond sold a Marvel and an Image issue to Loot Crate earlier in the year, but it doesn't seem to have been in the mix this time.)

The Direct Market closed out the year up 4%, with all categories in positive territory overall — comics unit sales, just barely — but as expected, the graphic novel subcategories were down quite a bit in December, given that the comparative month from 2013 was so bizarre: the Top 300 Graphic Novels category vaulted over the $10 million mark that month due to a lot of graphic novel discounting going on this month.
The aggregate changes, which give us our end-of-year figures:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
December 2014: 82.65 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +2%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +7%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +4%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +3%
Q4 2014: 21.89 million copies, +4% vs. Q4 2013
2014 YEAR END: 82.65 million copies, -2% vs. 2013, +10% vs. 2009, +11% vs. 2004, +6% vs. 1999

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
December 2014 versus one year ago this month: +4.5%
Q4 2014 versus Q4 2013: +7.05%
2014 YEAR END: +0.25%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
December 2014: $25.58 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +14%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +35%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +46%
Q4 2014: $82.64 million, +6% vs. Q4 2013
2014 YEAR END: $313.08 million, +1% vs. 2013, +21% vs. 2009, +47% vs. 2004, +55% vs. 1999

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
December 2014 versus one year ago this month: +6.67%
Q4 2014 versus Q4 2013: +7.89%
2014 YEAR END: +4.03%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
December 2014: $6.51 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -38%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -23%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -5%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: -17%
Q4 2014: $24.13 million, -8% vs. Q4 2013
2014 YEAR END: $88.82 million, -5% vs. 2013

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
December 2014 versus one year ago this month: -5.41%
Q4 2014 versus Q4 2013: +7.56%
YEAR TO DATE: +5.18%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
December 2014: $32.08 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -8%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +7%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +18%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +56%
Q4 2014: $106.76 million, +2% vs. Q4 2013
2014 YEAR END: $401.88 million, unchanged vs. 2013

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
December 2014 versus one year ago this month: +2.83%
Q4 2014 versus Q4 2013: +7.78%   
2014 YEAR END: +4.39%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
December 2014: approximately $42.22 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +6%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +6%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +47%
Q4 2014: $134.79 million, +5% vs. 2013

2014 YEAR END: $540.4 million, +4% vs. 2013

RELEASES
New comic books released: 489
New graphic novels released: 243
New magazines released: 65
All new releases: 797

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.77; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.79. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

The release of December data allows the end-of year estimates to be made: those will be up shortly.
 
http://bit.ly/STTakedownJohn Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, and the upcoming Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, releasing January 27. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com.

And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

Read more...

December 2014: Batman leads the market — but which issue? Another Loot Crate conundrum

Friday, January 16, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCBat37
The missing pieces from the sales picture for comics in 2014, December's comics orders, were provided today by Diamond Comic Distributors — and they depict a market that closed out the year on a positive note. It is, in fact, probably more positive than it looks. Meanwhile, we have a curious situation in that while Batman #37 was the top-seller in the Direct Market in December, the highest-circulation comic book in North America was probably actually November's issue, #36, which had a Loot Crate edition not distributed by Diamond.

More about that in a moment. December's sales of comic books and trade paperbacks to comics shops amounted to around $43.4 million, up 2.83% from the same month in 2013. December 2013 only had four Wednesdays, but Diamond did a small shipment on New Year's Eve, which was a Tuesday — making it effectively a five-week month. This December was a five-Wednesday month, as well, and while comics were up. graphic novels were down considerably:

Dollars Units
DECEMBER 2014 VS. NOVEMBER 2014
Comics 1.77% 0.31%
Graphic Novels -18.50% -21.51%
Total Comics/GN -5.14% -1.64%
DECEMBER 2014 VS. DECEMBER 2013
Comics 6.67% 4.50%
Graphic Novels -5.41% -8.39%
Total Comics/GN 2.83% 3.46%
YEAR 2014 VS. YEAR 2013
Comics 4.03% 0.25%
Graphic Novels 5.18% 5.28%
Total Comics/GN 4.39% 0.64%
4th QUARTER vs. 3rd QUARTER 2014
Comics -2.90% -1.57%
Graphic Novels 6.31% 4.02%
Total Comics/GN -0.20% -1.16%
4th QUARTER vs. 4th QUARTER 2013
Comics 7.89% 7.05%
Graphic Novels 7.56% 6.13%
Total Comics/GN 7.78% 6.98%
2nd HALF 2014 vs. 2nd HALF 2013
Comics 9.10% 6.60%
Graphic Novels 7.31% 5.16%
Total Comics/GN 8.55% 6.49%
2nd HALF 2014 vs. 1st HALF 2014
All Products Dollars Units
Comics 19.34% 18.58%
Graphic Novels 10.54% 4.26%
Total Comics/GN 16.53% 17.36%

But there's a reason for the evident softnesss in the graphic novel market: it may not be there. As we reported last year, December 2013 had about the same number of new graphic novel releases, but there was a huge amount of holiday-season (or end-of-fiscal-year clearance) graphic novel discounting going on that month: more than $3 million in sales came from older Omnibus hardcovers from Marvel which were steeply discounted. December 2013 set a record that stands for dollar value of Top 300 Graphic Novels ordered, topping $10 million — but publishers realized a relatively smaller portion of that money.

Looking at the unit to dollar change spreads, I would expect that this December did not have the same level of deep-discounting. With Saga Vol. 4 topping the December graphic novels chats, I would expect that when comparing only new material that sold for regular price, this year's December graphic novel bottom line probably compares rather better with last December's.

Loot Crate Edition of #36 (pic from Boxesfordays.com)
Batman #36, which released to the Direct Market in November, was in the December Loot Crate — but Diamond did not distribute it to the repackager: its placement in the end-of-year rankings Diamond posted earlier this week do not reflect the colossal boost Loot Crate previously gave Rocket Raccoon #1 and Walking Dead #132. This creates yet another unusual circumstance, because it's quite likely that #36 — and not #37 — is the comic book that had the most copies enter circulation in the month of December.

Now, before we lament that we're running out of symbols to use for asterisks, it's important to remember what the charts are: a record of what Diamond sold. It happens that increasingly, some of its sales each month are going to places other than comic shops  — but in general, its tables are a fairly good expression of the sales picture for the Direct Market. There have always been comics selling other places — the newsstand, obviously! — and while we count those sales in broader indexes, we don't worry with them in the monthly charts. Diamond can't rank what Diamond didn't ship.


http://www.starwars.com/news/loot-crate-star-wars-1-variant-exclusive-reveal
Since the Direct Market's sales of comics surpassed those for the newsstand in the mid- to late 1980s, there have been only a few rare cases where the highest-circulation comic book in a month hasn't been sold in the Direct Market. Pokémon: The Electric Tale of Pikachu #1 sold a million copies, almost all of them in bagged editions retailing in toy and department stores, over the course of 16 printings from November 1998 until early 2000. It's possible several of those printings were large enough to top the feeble sales numbers leading the Direct Market in those dark months. Gears of War #1 was distributed in huge numbers in 2008, but almost entirely in game stores. Star Wars #1, which released this week, has distribution through a number of different channels, including a just-announced Loot Crate edition: there's enough Direct Market copies that it will clearly be the top seller on our 21st Century charts here, but we'll have to see from the numbers in a few weeks just how many of them moved through Diamond.

If there are companies that deal directly with repackagers like Loot Crate — as appears to be the case with DC here — we might expect there to be quite a few more months where the top comic book in the industry isn't reflected in the Direct Market. Since Comichron's monthly charts are based on what Diamond sells, we'll continue to keep to that in our charts — though we might acknowledge what else is out there parenthetically when we know about it. (More parenthetically than this!)

With all that said, the Top 10 comics Diamond sold in the month of December:

Title Price Publisher
1 Batman #37 $3.99 DC
2 Amazing Spider-Man #11 $3.99 Marvel
3 Shield #1 $4.99 Marvel
4 Batman Annual #3 $4.99 DC
5 Thor #3 $3.99 Marvel
6 Justice League #37 $3.99 DC
7 Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 $4.99 Marvel
8 Avengers and X-Men Axis #7 $3.99 Marvel
9 Avengers and X-Men Axis #9 $4.99 Marvel
10 Avengers and X-Men Axis #8 $3.99 Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels:

Title Price Publisher
1 Saga Vol. 4 $14.99 Image
2 Captain America Peggy Carter Agent of Shield #1 $7.99 Marvel
3 Just the Tips HC $12.99 Image
4 Manhattan Projects Vol. 5 The Cold War $14.99 Image
5 Sunstone Vol. 1 $14.99 Image
6 Superman Unchained Deluxe Ed HC $29.99 DC
7 Batman the Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Vol. 1 $14.99 DC
8 New 52 Futures End Vol. 1 $39.99 DC
9 Nightwing Vol. 5 Setting Son $16.99 DC
10 Walking Dead Vol. 1 Days Gone Bye $14.99 Image

The market shares:

Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 32.07% 34.10%
DC 31.76% 36.17%
Image 9.89% 10.40%
IDW 6.10% 4.17%
Dark Horse 3.47% 2.95%
Boom 2.66% 2.82%
Dynamic Forces 2.58% 2.26%
Eaglemoss 1.22% 0.22%
Archie 0.88% 0.91%
Avatar 0.86% 0.74%
Other 8.50% 5.25%

Finally, the number of new items released to the market:

Publisher Comics shipped Graphic Novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
DC 102 36 1 139
Marvel 77 24 0 101
Image 52 18 0 70
IDW 44 24 0 68
Boom 42 6 0 48
Dark Horse 30 12 0 42
Dynamite 33 3 0 36
Viz 0 22 0 22
Action Lab 15 1 0 16
Hachette 0 16 0 16
Other 94 81 31 206
TOTAL 489 243 32 764

That's a considerable number from Action Lab, appearing on this chart for the first time.


The December estimates will appear here Monday, to be followed by the estimates for the top sellers of 2014. We'll also amend our Comics of the Century lists at that time as well.
 
http://bit.ly/STTakedownJohn Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, and the upcoming Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, releasing January 27. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com.

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