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June 2013 comics sales estimates -- and updated graphs!

Monday, July 8, 2013

by John Jackson Miller

Comics shop order charts for June 2013 has been released by Diamond Comic Distributors, and our estimates based upon them are now up at Comichron. Click to see the comics sales estimates for June 2013.

Superman Unchained #1 led the market with first-month orders of more than 251,000 copies; the Combo Pack adds another 5,300. That would make it the second-best selling comic book of the year thus far, behind Justice League of America #1. (It also gives us, curiously, two of five "unchained" entries in the Top 300 this month, including issues of Django Unchained and Red Sonja unchained.) It's got a shot, with reorders, of making it into the top 10 for the century thus far.

In addition to the usual report this time out, there's a feature that I used to update monthly for many years when it ran in Comics Retailer magazine that I have only been able to get to every so often here on Comichron: graphics for market performance and market shares. Actually, by "every so often" I mean "not nearly often enough" -- the last time I updated the graphics was exactly two years ago, before the DC relaunch!

Number of Top 300 comics ordered each month, 2008-2011
That, however, gives us the chance to see something remarkable: the trajectory of the market, and how dramatically it has changed in the past two years.

At right, you'll find two graphics reporting unit sales over time for the Top 300 comics each month. It's for mid-2008 to mid-2011. The white line is all comics in the Top 300; the lower lines are for each publisher.
Number of Top 300 comics ordered each month, 2010-2013

Now, compare that with unit sales for 2010-2013, at lower right. The three-year trendline, which was going down, has completely reversed. There's a big bump for DC in late 2011, and then the tracking settles in above where DC had been previously. Image begins a visible movement upward. The overall total goes up even faster, because IDW, Boom, Dynamic Forces, and other publishers aren't broken out. (I'm hoping to add unit tracking on IDW to future graphics.)

This is only one kind of graphic available, updated, here at the site; several of the others likewise show the movement in perspective. The "all-time" comics sales to comics shops graphs show unit and dollar orders for comics and graphic novels back as far as I have the Diamond data for each category: some go back to 1996. Then there's the recent years graphs, which narrow the view down to just the last three years (as above).

Market shares in the Direct Market, 1997-present
Finally, there is the always-popular market shares graphics page. IDW is represented on these graphs, as is Crossgen, one of the publishers that mounted a sustained drive on the charts in the early 2000s. At left, for example, you'll see a look at the market shares at Diamond across the last 16 years. (Click the image to enlarge.)

I can't guarantee these graphics will be updated often — they're kind of labor intensive — but I hope it'll be more frequently than every two years!

 Back to June 2013. As suggested here Friday, orders for comic books, graphic novels, and collected editions for the first half of the year came in just a few thousand dollars shy of the quarter-billion dollar mark. A flat second half of the year would give the Direct Market a $500 million year for the first time in the nearly two decades since the glut market of the early 1990s. (The usual inflation caveats apply.)

The second-quarter growth rates were all positive, although the year-to-year changes were smaller than those seen in the second quarter of 2012, which was our last quarter comparing against the period before the DC relaunch. Matching the 12% increase in the second half of the year would bring the Direct Market to around $530 million; keeping to the second quarter's more conservative pace would bring it closer to $515 million.

The aggregate changes:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
June 2013: 7.01 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: unchanged
Versus 5 years ago this month: +5%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +26%
Versus 15 years ago this month: -3%
Q2 2013: 20.77 million copies, +2% vs. Q2 2011
YEAR TO DATE: 41.7 million copies, +9% vs. 2012, +5% vs. 2008, +22% vs. 2003, -1% vs. 1998

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
June 2013 versus one year ago this month: +1.17%
Q2 2012 versus Q2 2012: +2.95
YEAR TO DATE: +10.25%

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TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
June 2013: $25.57 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +3%
Versus 5 years ago this month:+20%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +58%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +42%
Q2 2013: $75.25 million, +5% vs. Q2 2012

YEAR TO DATE: $150.45 million, +13% vs. 2012, +20% vs. 2008, +56% vs. 2003, +47% vs. 1998

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
June 2013 versus one year ago this month: +5.28%
Q2 2013 versus Q2 2012: +6.3%
YEAR TO DATE: +13.26%

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TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
June 2013: $6.8 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -9%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -26%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: +40%
Q2 2013: $23.4 million, +4% vs. Q2 2012

YEAR TO DATE: $46.18 million, +4% vs. 2012

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
June 2013 versus one year ago this month: -3.35%
Q2 2013 versus Q2 2012: +3.62%
YEAR TO DATE: +9.25%

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TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
June 2013: $32.37 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: unchanged%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +9%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 50 TPBs: +50%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +54%
Q2 2013: $98.66 million, +4% vs. 2012

YEAR TO DATE: $196.23 million, +13% vs. 2012

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
June 2013 versus one year ago this month: +2.57%
Q2 2013 versus Q2 2012: +5.43%
YEAR TO DATE: +11.98%

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OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
June 2013: approximately $41.55 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +12%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +68%

Q2 2013: $127.78 million, +6% vs. 2012

YEAR TO DATE: $249.72 million, +12% vs. 2012

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.65; the average comic book retailers ordered also cost $3.65. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

That's it for this month's report. I'm heading to San Diego Comic-Con next week, to promote, among other things, my new trade paperback Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, the upcoming hardcover Star Wars: Kenobi, and to generally bask in the fun and wonder of comics. (And if you'd like to contribute to my concession food fund, don't forget the Comichron tip jar!)

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