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Full August 2011 comics sales estimates now online

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

by John Jackson Miller


Diamond Comic Distributors today released the full charts for comics ordered by shops in North America for August, and the full estimates are now online here at Comichron.

As mentioned yesterday, this month in which most DC comics concluded their continuity in advance of the "New 52" reboot was a very strong one relative to the previous year — a month which, as mentioned here, was pretty weak. But the market recovered nearly half of its deficit versus 2010, and the trade paperback gap within the Top 300 nearly completely closed. The year-to-date orders for all comics, trade paperbacks, and magazines is just a little more than $10 million behind the first two-thirds of 2010, or 4% — and it recovered more than $6 million in August alone. Last September presents a higher hurdle in the overall sales column, but with the rest of the DC relaunch titles appearing, chances are good that the Direct Market could be in positive territory for 2011 as we enter the fourth quarter.

The aggregate totals:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
August 2011: 6.2 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +14%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -16%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +4%
YEAR TO DATE: 44.1 million copies, -5% vs. 2010, -19% vs. 2006, +4% vs. 2001

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
August 2011 versus one year ago this month: +17.55%
YEAR TO DATE: -3.65%

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TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
August 2011: $21.55 million
Versus 1 year ago this month:+11%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -6%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +32%
YEAR TO DATE: $153.08 million, -6% vs. 2010, -8% vs. 2006, +31% vs. 2001

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
August 2011 versus one year ago this month: +15.14%
YEAR TO DATE: -4.6%

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TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
August 2011: $6.35 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +20%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -25%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: -7%
YEAR TO DATE: $44.68 million, -8% vs. 2010

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
August 2011 versus one year ago this month: +31.17%
YEAR TO DATE: -2.35%

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TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
August 2011: $27.9 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +13%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: -9%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +21%
YEAR TO DATE: $197.76 million, -6% vs. 2010

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
August 2011 versus one year ago this month: +20.15%
YEAR TO DATE: -3.87%

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OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
August 2011: approximately $37.32 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: unchanged
YEAR TO DATE: $259 million, -4% vs. 2010

The average cover price of all comic books in Diamond's Top 300 was $3.50; the average weighted price — the average cost of all comic books retailers ordered — was $3.48. The median and most common cover price was $2.99. Click to see how cover prices have changed across time.

As discussed in much greater detail in this post, the chart-topping sales of Justice League #1 for August are but a portion of its overall sales; between preorders that shipped in September and to the United Kingdom, the first printing of more than 200,000 copies sold out. We'll have a better idea of the sales of the book in next month's report.

One phenomenon I had observed continues: the 300th place title, Image's Blue Estate #5, had orders of more than 4,500 copies, which is near the high mark for this metric. The rising level of this figure over time points partially to a fragmentation of reader purchases across a wider number of titles; it will be interesting to see if in October, as DC's relaunch titles appear on the charts as reorders, the 300th place book breaks the 5,000-copy level for the first time.

This month's posting brings to an even 15 years the distributor sales reports I've done for this site and, previously, for Comics & Games Retailer magazine. I started doing them 15 years ago in an attempt to reconcile the figures from Diamond and Heroes World, Marvel's exclusive distributor for a time, into a single chart. I'll write more about what I've seen in the past 15 years in a later post, but it has been a fascinating way to follow along with the tempo of the business. The amount of work that goes into them is significant, and it's hard to believe I've done 180 — not counting the ones I'm working on retroactively! There were months in there where I didn't necessarily have the time for it, and certainly months where we all wished the numbers said something different. But I hope that, taken altogether, it has been helpful to readers in trying to understand the hobby — and the trade — of comics, and I am glad that The Comics Chronicles site has made it possible to preserve some of these facts about the past.

On to next month...

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