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April 2013 comics sales big, even without blockbusters

Monday, May 6, 2013

by John Jackson Miller

Diamond Comic Distributors has released the main wave of comics sales statistics for April 2013 comics sales, and the estimates are now online here at Comichron. Click to see Comichron's estimates for April 2013 comics sales.

As reported here on Friday, North American comics shop retailers ordered just over $41 million worth of comic books and graphic novels in April 2013, an increase of more than 18% over the same month last year. That figure brings the year-to-date total to $163 million, up more than $25 million from 2012 at this point. The market would just top $500 million for the year if the next eight months were completely flat.

Batman #19 from DC led the comics sales list in the month, with first-month orders of more than 132,000 copies. This is, in fact, the lowest figure for a top-seller since May 2011, as we can see from the list of top-sellers by month; it's significant that the month is as far ahead as it is, without having a major blockbuster issue. Marvel placed several Age of Ultron issues in the Top 10.

The Top 300 graphic novels again posted a huge number — up 30% over the same dollar value from last year — but as with last month, there is a significant caution. Marvel offered many hardcovers to the market at a deep discount during the tracking period, contributing to the total value. But Diamond calculates its market shares based on wholesale value — what retailers paid, not the cover prices of the items they bought — so we do not see an outsized influence of those sales on the market shares.

As usual, Diamond also released lists of its Top 50 Small Publisher comics and graphic novels; many of these fell outside the Top 300 lists, and have been added to Comichron's tables. (Don't ask to see the missing entries, because they're from the larger publishers and weren't on the lists Diamond released.) The graphic novel list contains data this month going almost to 500th place, where Diamond was still selling about 300 copies of each title.

You can see what was selling in comparative months of the past in our April Flashbacks column, which is now online. April was the 20th anniversary of the return of Superman from the dead, the top month for comics orders in the history of the Direct Market.

The aggregate sales:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
April 2013: 6.79 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +11%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +1%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +13%
Versus 15 years ago this month: -3%
YEAR TO DATE: 27.72 million copies, +16% vs. 2012, +7% vs. 2008, +20% vs. 2003, unchanged vs. 1998

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
April 2013 versus one year ago this month: +11.71%
YEAR TO DATE: +16.85%

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TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
April 2013: $24.28 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +14%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +13%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +45%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +38%
YEAR TO DATE: $99.48 million, +20% vs. 2012, +22% vs. 2008, +54% vs. 2003, +48% vs. 1998

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
April 2013 versus one year ago this month: +13.87%
YEAR TO DATE: +19.44%

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TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
April 2013: $8.77 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +30%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +10%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: +10%
YEAR TO DATE: $31.55 million, +27% vs. 2012

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
April 2013 versus one year ago this month: +14.83%
YEAR TO DATE: +15.85%

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TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
April 2013: $33.05 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +18%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +11%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +26%
YEAR TO DATE: $131.02 million, +22% vs. 2012

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
April 2013 versus one year ago this month: +14.18%
YEAR TO DATE: +18.32%

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OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
April 2013: approximately $41.11 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +14%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +12%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +54%
YEAR TO DATE: $163.05 million, +18% vs. 2012

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.55; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.58. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

IDW once again saw its highest dollar market share yet, 7.54%: the update has been made to the list of Diamond Exclusive Era records.

The pages for monthly top sellers and 300th place titles across time have been updated. 

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