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March 2013 comics sales estimates now online

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

by John Jackson Miller

As noted here last week, sales in the Direct Market were up considerably in March, according to data released by Diamond Comic Distributors. Comics shops in North America ordered $41.3 million worth of comics and graphic novels in March, beating the previous year's total by nearly 23%.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 led the market, with orders topping 200,000 copies. Click to see the estimated sales for comics for March 2013.

The Top 300 graphic novels posted nearly $9 million in sales, the highest figure for that category ever. However, the figures this month were distorted considerably by heavy discounting. Marvel sold several million dollars worth of hardcovers to retailers in a sale, inflating the total retail value of books sold.

We can partially see this by adding up everything that sold in the Top 300 Comics and Top 300 Graphic Novels categories: if all books were counted at full retail, Marvel's share of those sales would have topped 50% this month. But Marvel's overall dollar share was reported as 40% by Diamond, which makes its calculations based on wholesale dollars. So while Marvel did move more dollars worth of material (unadjusted for inflation) into shops in March than in any month in the last 17 years, an asterisk is probably in order.

It's still a blockbuster month for this time of year, no matter what. The aggregate sales:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
March 2013: 7.2 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +18%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +29%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +1%
YEAR TO DATE: 20.93 million copies, +17% vs. 2012, +10% vs. 2008, +23% vs. 2003, +1% vs. 1998

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
March 2013 versus one year ago this month: +21.43%
YEAR TO DATE: +18.62%

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TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
March 2013: $25.93 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +25%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +35%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +65%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +48%
YEAR TO DATE: $75.2 million, +22% vs. 2012, +26% vs. 2008, +57% vs. 2003, +51% vs. 1998

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
March 2013 versus one year ago this month: +26.28%
YEAR TO DATE: +21.38%

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TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
March 2013: $8.97 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +39%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +25%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: +44
YEAR TO DATE: $22.78 million, +26% vs. 2012

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
March 2013 versus one year ago this month: +14.33%
YEAR TO DATE: +16.22%

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TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
March 2013: $34.89 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +28%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +34%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +62%
YEAR TO DATE: $97.97 million, +23% vs. 2012

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
March 2013 versus one year ago this month: +22.59%
YEAR TO DATE: +19.78%

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OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
March 2013: approximately $41.33 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +23%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +32%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +69%
YEAR TO DATE: $121.94 million, +20% vs. 2012

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.59; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.60. The median price for comics offered was $3.97, and the most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

The Flashback column for Marches past is also online here at Comichron: click to read about the best-sellers from March five, ten, 25, and even 50 years ago.

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