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Full November 2012 comics sales estimates online; Pony stomps Godzilla

Monday, December 10, 2012

by John Jackson Miller

The full tables reporting the orders of comics shops in North America were released this morning by Diamond Comic Distributors, and as reported here on Friday, they depict a market that is maintaining most of its momentum heading into the end of the year. With the "Marvel Now" releases — led by All-New X-Men #1 — periodical orders were slightly up against a month that had one more shipping week last year. Click to see the full comics sales estimates for November 2012.

Every issue in the Top 10 had orders over 100,000 copies. (Over 110,000, actually.) This appears to be the first time there have been ten comic books with orders in six-digits since July 2007. The DC relaunch topped out with eight. There were only 19 issues in all of 2010 that beat 100,000 in their first month, so this is a meaningful change.

As mentioned in the preliminary Comichron report, Marvel's eight titles in the Top 10 is its best showing since February 2009, the first reorder month for the Obama Spider-Man issue. Marvel has taken the top slot eight of the last nine months, excepting only the month that Walking Dead #100 came out.

IDW appears to gotten had its best showing ever for a single issue on the Diamond chart, with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #1, placing 15th.
It also appears to be the highest rank for a non-Marvel-DC-Image issue on the charts since Buffy: The Vampire Slayer last reached 14th place in May 2009.

At a glance through the past tables, IDW's previous best had been set by Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters #1 in March 2011, at 16th place — but in a sign of how the market has improved since then, My Little Pony had orders more than 80,000 copies, versus nearly 59,000 for Godzilla. (Let the "My Little Pony Stomps Godzilla" headlines begin. Revenge for Bambi, perhaps?) Note that while IDW had announced that the preorder sales for the title had topped 100,000 copies, the Diamond figure does not include the United Kingdom sales — or the copies that shipped after the issue's Nov. 28 release.

The aggregate data:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
November 2012: 7.41 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +6%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +7%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +19%
Versus 15 years ago this month: -6%
YEAR TO DATE: 73.62 million copies, +12% vs. 2011, -6% vs. 2007, +15% vs. 2002, -19% vs. 1997

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
November 2012 versus one year ago this month: +2.59%
YEAR TO DATE: +11.27%

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TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
November 2012: $26.37 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +8%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +21%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +50%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +33%
YEAR TO DATE: $260.21 million, +15% vs. 2011, +5% vs. 2007, +44% vs. 2002, +17% vs. 1997

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
November 2012 versus one year ago this month: -3.55%
YEAR TO DATE: +14.56%

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TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
November 2012: $7.06 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -1%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -23%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: +22%
YEAR TO DATE: $78.28 million, +22% vs. 2011

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
November 2012 versus one year ago this month: -10.86%
YEAR TO DATE: +14.78%

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TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
November 2012: $33.43 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +6%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +12%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 50 TPBs: +26%
YEAR TO DATE: $338.49 million, +16% vs. 2011

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
November 2012 versus one year ago this month: -1.10%
YEAR TO DATE: +14.63%

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OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
November 2012: approximately $40.85 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: -1%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +13%
YEAR TO DATE: $434.75 million, +15% vs. 2011

We continue to see a phenomenon in the graphic novel category where the Top 300 is faring much better than the much larger collection of offerings below 300th place each month. Led by Walking Dead Vol. 17: Something to Fear, Diamond's Top 300 graphic novel, hardcover and trade paperback collections had orders topping $7 million in November — off just 1% versus last November. But Diamond's overall sales for the category were down nearly 11%.

We've seen this all year. The "Top 300 alone" for the year in book sales is up 22% — whereas for everything, it's only up 15%. When there are higher-profile big-ticket items, such as this month's Avengers Vs. X-Men hardcover, priced at $75, or the New 52 hardcovers, that tends to make the list topheavy.

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.54, with the average comic book ordered by retailers costing $3.56. The average comic book in the Top 25 cost $3.67. $3.50 was the median price of comics, and $2.99 was the most common price. That's a decrease from October, which saw a one-month jump to $3.99.

With one more month to go, The Comics Chronicles now projects a $475 million year for the Direct Market, up 15%. Unadjusted for inflation, the dollar figure is probably the largest since at least 1995.

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