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Calendar deals a beating to April 2010 comics sales

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

by John Jackson Miller    Bookmark and Share


As well as the comic-book direct market performed in the month of March, the industry underperformed in April, with orders for all comic books, trade paperbacks, and magazines off nearly $10 million, or 24%. The monthly estimates appear here.

The mention of the previous month is intentional, as March had five weeks versus the previous March’s four, while April had four shipping weeks versus the previous April’s five. According to our recent analysis, the average five-week month since 2004 has seen 11% more sales of Top 300 comics units than the average four-week month. Had March 31st been a Tuesday, it’s clear the relative pictures for March and April would have been much different.

Brightest Day #0 joined with the new Flash title, Green Lantern #53, and Batman and Robin #11 to give DC the top four slots on the chart. Marvel led in both dollar and unit market shares overall, helped by the top-ordered graphic novel, the hardcover Kick-Ass compilation. It was the second month in a row for the title to top the charts; the film based on the comic book released in mid-April.  There was no new Siege issue in April (apart from the tie-ins), also impacting overall sales

The aggregate figures:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
April 2010: 5.57 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: -17%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -8%
Versus 10 years ago this month: -4%
YEAR TO DATE: 22.63 million copies, -3% vs. 2009, -4% vs. 2005, unchanged vs. 2000

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
April 2010: $19.31 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -15%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +12%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +25%
YEAR TO DATE: $78.66 million, unchanged vs. 2009, +17% vs. 2005, +32% vs. 2000

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
April 2010: $5.54 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -29%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -10%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +65%
YEAR TO DATE: $22.25 million, -15% vs. 2009

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 100 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
April 2010: $24.86 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -19%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +8%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +28%
YEAR TO DATE: $100.86 million, -4% vs. 2009

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
April 2010: $31.97 million ($35.44 million with UK)
Versus 1 year ago this month: -24%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +18%
YEAR TO DATE: $129.24 million, -3% vs. 2009, +19% vs. 2005

The average comic book in Diamond’s Top 300 cost $3.47. The average Top 300 comic book that retailers ordered from Diamond also cost $3.47. The median comic book price in Diamond’s Top 300 was $3.50, and the most common cover price on Diamond’s list remained $3.99 for the second consecutive month.

The poor overall showing for the month puts the overall market back into negative territory for the year, with only the Top 300 Comics Dollar Sales category keeping pace with 2009. Trade paperbacks had a rough outing in both the frontlist and backlist — though, again, the extra week is a important determinant of trade sales. Also, it’s believed that April 2009’s charts may have reflected additional sales owing to some deep-discount promotions by publishers, so that also muddies the water for comparison purposes.

The monthly flashback column will be along shortly.

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