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John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.

 

Friday, July 14, 2006

Industry up 12% during first half of 2006

by John Jackson Miller

Comic-book and trade paperback orders in the direct market in June helped the industry continue its winning ways for 2006, according to my analysis of the sales reports released by Diamond Comic Distributors on July 14. See the charts here.

Despite June 2006 having one less shipping week than June 2005, the industry posted similar figures in several categories and 15% above last year when it came to dollar sales for Diamond's Top 300 comics.

For the first six months of the year, the industry is up 12% in the widest category I track. Diamond's overall sales including all comics, trade paperbacks, and magazines are at $188.88 million, over last year's pace of $168.44 million.

It's not out of the question that we could see a $400 million year from the direct market in 2006. Without the winter months to worry about, the second half is almost always stronger than the first.

Comics unit sales: The Top 300 comic books had retailer orders of 6.99 million copies in June, off 1% from June 2005, which had one more shipping week.

For the first six months of 2006, the Top 300 comics from each month have sold a combined 39.43 million copies, an increase of 8% over the 36.55 million copies sold in the period in the previous year.

Marvel's Civil War #2 led the list, selling at least 253,900 copies and dropping off only slightly from the first issue's totals. Orders for DC's issues of 52 were only estimated by Diamond, owing to that title's returnability -- but estimates for all four were above 100,000 copies.

For the second month in a row, the powerful sales coming from the major publishers again resulted in not a single new publisher appearing on the list. That despite the fact that, in June, 300th place on the chart dropped from 2,800 copies, where it was in May, to just 1,100 copies.

Comics dollar sales: The Top 300 comic books had sales worth $21.24 million in June, 2% more than June 2005 (which had one fewer shipping week).

For the first six months of 2006, the Top 300 comics from each month have sold a combined $120.58 million, an increase of 15% over the $104.83 million worth sold in the same period in the previous year.

Trade paperbacks: The Top 100 trade paperbacks and graphic novels reported by Diamond had orders worth $3.64 million at full retail in June, almost exactly the same as the May figure and a decrease of 4% versus the same month in 2005.

For the first six months of the year, the Top 100 trades for each month total $21.88 million, off 3% from the same period in the previous year, when sales were $22.48 million.

Adding those to the Top 300 comics for the month yields $24.88 million, an increase of 1% over the $24.62 million ordered in June 2005.

For the first six months of 2006, the Top 300 comics and the Top 100 trade paperbacks from each month had orders worth $142.46 million, 12% over the $127.31 million ordered in the same period in 2005.

Diamond’s “overall” sales: The June 2006 total was $32.01 million, which increases to $34.97 million, when Diamond’s estimated United Kingdom orders are added. The figure is off 2% from the $32.83 million ordered in the U.S. in June 2005. Overall, the last six months stand at $188.88 million, an increase of 12% over 2005's total of $168.44 million.

Market shares: Marvel retook the lead from DC in the overall categories and both unit and dollar Top 300 categories. DC had 92 comics in the Top 300 versus Marvel’s 85. Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Image accounted for 85% of the industry's sales, a high since Diamond began reporting "actual" sales in 1998.

Price analysis: The average comic book on Diamond’s Top 300 list cost $3.28, up from $3.15 in June 2005.

The weighted average price – that is, the cost of the average comic book Diamond sold – was $3.04, up from $2.94 last year.

The average price of the comics that made the Top 25 was $2.89.

Unit Sales for Diamond's Top 300 Comic Books (est.): 6.99 million copies

Dollar Sales for Diamond's Top 300 Comic Books (est.): $21.24 million

Dollar Sales for Diamond's Top 100 Trade Paperbacks (est.): $3.64 million

Combined Dollar Sales for Diamond's Top 300 Comics and Top 100 TPBs (est.) : $24.88 million

OVERALL U.S. Dollar Sales for Diamond's Comics, Trade Paperbacks, and Magazines (est.): $32.01 million

Average price of comic books in Diamond's Top 300: $3.28

Average price of comic books in Diamond's Top 300, weighted by orders: $3.04
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