Monday, August 12, 2013
by John Jackson Miller
Diamond Comic Distributors, and they complete the picture of the best summer month thus far for the comics shop market in the Diamond Exclusive Era. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in July 2013.
July's orders of $46.8 million topped every previous month (in non-inflation adjusted terms) with the exception of October 2012, which had set a mark of $47.3 million. That puts the market up 12.71% for the year, to nearly $297 million. The market is now running $35 million ahead of where it was last year at this time.
Superman Unchained #2 from DC led the comics periodical list, with orders of approximately 165,700 copies in its first month.
Graphic novel orders, meanwhile, overall greatly exceeded those in the Top 300 — up 26% versus a 11% increase for the Top 300. These gaps in growth rates are usually explained by the long tail — the thousands of graphic novels outside the Top 300 — and if the difference seems extreme, consider the unit sales volume: The 300th place graphic novel this July had orders of 503 copies. Last July: just 346 copies. The typical "bubbling under" book is selling many more copies than usual, and there are lots more of those than there are Top 300 entries, so it all adds up.
The fifth shipping week explains a portion of the difference, but it's pretty clear that volume is simply a lot higher. The 381th place graphic novel this July would have been in 244th place last year!
The aggregate sales:
TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALESJuly 2013: 7.32 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +6%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +2%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +15%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +1%
YEAR TO DATE: 49.02 million copies, +8% vs. 2012, +5% vs. 2008, +21% vs. 2003, unchanged vs. 1998
ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
July 2013 versus one year ago this month: +11.02%
YEAR TO DATE: +10.36%
TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALESJuly 2013: $26.59 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +8%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +15%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +51%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +53%
YEAR TO DATE: $177.34 million, +12% vs. 2012, +19% vs. 2008, +55% vs. 2003, +48% vs. 1998
ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
July 2013 versus one year ago this month: +12.55%
YEAR TO DATE: +13.16%
TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALESJuly 2013: $7.93 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +11%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -15%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: +13%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +52%
YEAR TO DATE: $39.38 million, +19% vs. 2012
ALL TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
July 2013 versus one year ago this month: +26.11%
YEAR TO DATE: +11.72%
TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALESJuly 2013: $34.52 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +8%
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: +41%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +63%
YEAR TO DATE: $231.15 million, +12% vs. 2012
ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
July 2013 versus one year ago this month: +16.73%
YEAR TO DATE: +12.71%
OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)July 2013: approximately $46.84 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +17%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +13%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +68%
YEAR TO DATE: $296.55 million, +13% vs. 2012
The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.61; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.63. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.
As reported last Friday, Diamond also released the total number of new items that the Top 10 publishers released. This data has been added to the market share column of the monthly page, but we can also learn something from it by comparing it with what ranked in the Top 300. Here's the number of comics releases, versus the number that made the Top 300:
|Comics in Top 300||Graphic novels shipped|
Note, however, that not every release in the Top 300 is necessarily a new one, so this chart will never exactly be apples versus apples. It is for that reason that I did not conduct a Top 300 comparison for the graphic novels, because that list is dominated by past releases. Image, for example, shipped 14 trade paperbacks and hardcovers in July, but charted 37!
So that's July. Things keep going along very well, in general, for the Direct Market, and $500 million remains an achievable goal for the year. There are always potholes out there to be feared, and cover price inflation is one of them. But this might well be the healthiest market I've seen in 20 years of reporting, and more of the same would be very good to see.
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