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Full August 2012 comics sales estimates online

Monday, September 10, 2012

by John Jackson Miller

The full estimates for Diamond Comic Distributors' sales of comic books and graphic novels to comic shops in North America for August 2012 are online here at The Comics Chronicles, and as reported here on Friday, the market continued posting substantial gains. With orders of $44.6 million at full retail shipping in August, the market had its second best month of the last 16 years in non-inflation-adjusted dollar terms, led only by this past May. Click here to see the full sales estimates for August 2012.

Both this August and last August had five shipping weeks, and last August 31 saw the release of Justice League #1, the first of the DC relaunch titles. Nonetheless, the market handily beat last August's mark with 900,000 more copies of the Top 300 comics ordered, an increase of 15%.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #9 was the top-selling issue of the month. July's blockbuster, Walking Dead #100, charted again with nearly 22,000 copies sold in its second month of release; this, plus the copies from last month, totals over 357,000 — and with the UK copies adding about 10% this reaches the total that Image announced it had sold. The 31,000 Premium edition copies from last month bring the total number of versions of the issue ordered by retailers to 388,000 copies. The record of the Barack Obama Amazing Spider-Man #583 as best-selling comic book of the century — with 530,500 copies ordered by comics shops — thus appears safe. But not only did the new Walking Dead issue, #101 chart, but so did #97-99, so the anniversary event is helping bring attention to the title's other issues.

As happens with five-week months, more titles had more time on the market to ship issues — but even compared with other five-week months, August's "bench" was deep. The 300th-place title set a Diamond Exclusive Era record for that position, with Dark Horse's Strain #7 selling approximately 5,376 copies.

The graphic novel and collected edition market, led by Batman: Earth One, performed even better versus last year's mark, with the Top 300 trades up 21% by dollars. Once again, this figure far outstrips the 15% increase for the overall category, as reported by Diamond, so the list is evidently topheavy. The weighted average price of all  graphic novels ordered in Diamond's Top 25 was $19.52 versus $18.32 last year, and the Top 25 Trades did more volume — more than 87,000 copies versus 62,000 copies.

The comics shop market is on pace for at least a $470 million year, and at $308 million currently, the industry is only $105 million away from beating last year's $413 million end-of-year total, and is expected to surpass it in early November.

The aggregate figures:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
August 2012: 7.1 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +15%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -8%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +7%
Versus 15 years ago this month: -14%
YEAR TO DATE: 52.32 million copies, +19% vs. 2011, -9% vs. 2007, +13% vs. 2002, -22% vs. 1997

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
August 2012 versus one year ago this month: +14.22%
YEAR TO DATE: +17.97%

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TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
August 2012: $25.53 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +18%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +4%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +40%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +23%
YEAR TO DATE: $184.01 million, +20% vs. 2011, +2% vs. 2007, +41% vs. 2002, +135 vs. 1997

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
August 2012 versus one year ago this month: +19.27%
YEAR TO DATE: +17.8%

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TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
August 2012: $7.71 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +21%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -13%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: +5%
YEAR TO DATE: $55.46 million, +24% vs. 2011

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
August 2012 versus one year ago this month: +14.95%
YEAR TO DATE: +14.13%

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TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
August 2012: $33.23 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +19%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +1%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +23%
YEAR TO DATE: $239.46 million, +21% vs. 2011

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
August 2012 versus one year ago this month: +17.8%
YEAR TO DATE: +18.41%

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OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
August 2012: approximately $44.6 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +18%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +14%
YEAR TO DATE: $307.63 million, +18% vs. 2011

The average price of comics in Diamond's Top 300 was $3.54, and the cost of the average comic book retailers ordered was $3.60. The average comic book in the top 25 was priced at $3.91. The median price of comics offered stayed at $3.50.The most common price for comics went back down to $2.99, after a month at $3.99.

This report completes my sixteenth year of published estimates and analysis of these figures as they release; the first month appeared back in September 1996 in Comics Retailer magazine, when comics distribution was bifurcated between Diamond and Heroes World Distribution. It is at this point probably the longest stretch of consecutive reports on the topic, although Milton Griepp has certainly done far more in total, combining his reports for Capital City Distribution's Internal Correspondence and for ICV2.

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3 comments:

Mike,  September 10, 2012 at 4:27 PM  

John,

Quick question. Do you know why John Byrne's TRIO #4 from IDW is not listed among the sales estimates of the top 421 comics?

It came out very late in August but all the other books that came out that same day made the list. Could it possibly have sold so little as to not make your estimates?

John Jackson Miller September 10, 2012 at 5:28 PM  

Diamond releases just the Top 300, and then the Top 50 books by publishers with market shares of 3% or lower. This results in the smattering of comics you see below 300th place.

So the book may have been in the IDW batch between 300 and 421. Or not -- I am limited to what Diamond sends out, and if it's not on the tables, it's not on the tables.

Mike,  September 10, 2012 at 5:41 PM  

John,

Thanks for the answer. Right after leaving my comment I realized that after the top 300, it's a limited listing of titles. I appreciate the information. Great site.

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