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Final September 2013 comics sales estimates now online

Monday, October 7, 2013

by John Jackson Miller

The final comics sales reports are out from Diamond Comic Distributors, and as reported here on Friday, Comichron's estimates based on those reports show that DC's "Villains Month" propelled the market to top several previous records from the Diamond Exclusive Era. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in September 2013.

DC released 53 different issues featuring villains, each (apart from the chart-topping Forever Evil #1) numbered as part of a parent title: for example, Batman #23.1 featured the Joker, #23.2 featured the Riddler, #23.3 featured the Penguin and #23.4 starred Bane. While each title was intended to have a 3-D cover, demand resulted in the printing of a second "standard edition" version. The result was that DC had 129 new comics releases in September, of which 128 made the Top 300; that figure is only one less than its record high from early in the DC relaunch.

DC announced on Friday that it had sold 4.3 million copies of its comics to the North American Direct Market in September; its sales within the Top 300 itself were almost exactly 4 million copies,  a figure not seen for DC since the post-relaunch month of October 2011, with DC orders of 4.26 million copies in the Top 300. Several other 1997-to-present records set during the month:

Highest dollar volume for Top 300 Comics sales in a single month: $30.05 million

Highest dollar volume for Top 300 Comics and Top 300 Trade Paperbacks combined for a single month: $37.61 million

Highest dollar volume for All Comics, Trade Paperbacks, and Magazines ordered in a single month: $48.07 million

•  Highest dollar volume for All Comics, Trade Paperbacks, and Magazines ordered in a single QUARTER: $113.16 million

Highest weighted average price for all comics ordered within Diamond's Top 300 Comics list: $3.69 (tied with November 2010)

Most copies sold by a 300th place title in a four-week month: 6,448

That latter figure blows away the previous record by more than a thousand copies, and results largely from the added number of DC entries this month. There's more volume higher up on the chart, and many of the titles usually in the lower rankings were pushed off the Top 300 completely. Perhaps in response, Diamond expanded its list for this month to go down to the end of the Top 400 — and as usual, there are random issues beneath that which appeared in the Small Publisher Top 50. All of the Top Comics calculations below continue to be for the Top 300, so as to compare like against like.

The aggregate changes:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
September 2013: 8.15 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +25%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +20%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +25%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +10%
Q3 2013: 21.83 million copies, +8% vs. Q3 2012
YEAR TO DATE: 63.53 million copies, +8% vs. 2012, +5% vs. 2008, +19% vs. 2003, unchanged vs. 1998

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
September 2013 versus one year ago this month: +26.97%
Q3 2012 versus Q3 2012: +8.27
YEAR TO DATE: +9.56%

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TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
September 2013: $30.05 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +32%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +37%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +58%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +65%
Q3 2013: $80.07 million, +9% vs. Q3 2012

YEAR TO DATE: $230.52 million, +11% vs. 2012, +19% vs. 2008, +54% vs. 2003, +47% vs. 1998

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
September 2013 versus one year ago this month: +33.9%
Q3 2013 versus Q3 2012: +11.12%
YEAR TO DATE: +12.50%

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TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
September 2013: $7.56 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +6%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -3%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: +1%
Q3 2013: $21.51 million, -2% vs. Q3 2012

YEAR TO DATE: $67.69 million, +8% vs. 2012

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
September 2013 versus one year ago this month: +1.76%
Q3 2013 versus Q3 2012: +0.30%
YEAR TO DATE: +6.03%

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TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
September 2013: $37.61 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +26%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +30%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 50 TPBs: +46%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +76%
Q3 2013: $101.28 million, +6% vs. Q3 2012

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

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
September 2013 versus one year ago this month: +23.4%
Q3 2013 versus Q3 2012: +7.64%   
YEAR TO DATE: +10.43%

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OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
September 2013: approximately $48.07 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +23%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +37%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +71%
Q3 2013: $133.16 million, +8% vs. 2012
 

YEAR TO DATE: $382.88 million, +10% vs. 2012

RELEASES
New comic books released: 444
New graphic novels released: 255
New magazines released: 38
All new releases: 737

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.60; again, the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.69. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

For the curious, the additonal 100 copies on the list adds about 430,000 copies, or about 4% more comics to the usual Top 300 list; it adds $1.6 million, or 5%, in dollars. That's expected, as books lower on the list tend to have higher prices. From the glimpses we get of the lower echelons of the list, it would appear to fall off dramatically from there, with #400-500 adding another 100,000 copies worth $400,000 or so — and by the time we reach #500-600, we're well out of the frontlist and only about 40,000 copies worth $160,000 are being added.

So it looks like the total comics sale is in the 9 million copy range, worth close to $33 million; the Top 300 captures 90% of the periodical activity. That leaves $15 million for graphic novels and trade paperbacks, of which more than half is captured in the Top 300 graphic novel list. And the overall Direct Market dollar breakdown is about 2/3 comics, 1/3 graphic novels — which is about what we've seen in the recent past.

That's September. See everyone at New York Comicon!



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