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More than 139,000 comic book and graphic novel circulation figures online!
Welcome to Comichron, a resource for comic book circulation data and other information gathered by
John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.

 

Monday, September 9, 2013

August 2013 comics sales estimates now online

by John Jackson Miller

The final comics sales estimates are out from Diamond Comic Distributors, and as mentioned here in the preliminary post, if July's final day had been part of August, we'd be looking at two relatively  normal months instead of one boom month and one big slide, which is what we had. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in August 2013.

Orders for comic books, graphic novels, and magazines appear to have been around $38.3 million in August, the lowest dollar amount seen since April 2012. Led by Marvel's Infinity #1, comics dollar sales were off 10%. But we're comparing a four-week month with five-week months in both last month and in August 2012. We already know that there's about a 11% or so bonus to having an extra week, because it means more new titles and reorders can ship — but we can also see it in the number of releases. The total number of new comics shipped in August 2013 was 406, with 212 new graphic novels. This is down from totals of 465 and 295 respectively last month. There was simply less new material debuting.

We also know the market ordered a huge number of  graphic novels in July — up a far greater amount than expected — and it's possible retailers brought some orders into July that normally would have been in August. Further, August is a month with no pricey, blockbuster trade paperback or hardcover releases — any month Walking Dead Vol. 1 is the top book, you know that: it's the standard retailers turn their dollars toward.

The aggregate sales:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
August 2013: 6.36 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: -10%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -7%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +6%
Versus 15 years ago this month: -10%
YEAR TO DATE: 55.38 million copies, +6% vs. 2012, +3% vs. 2008, +19% vs. 2003, -2% vs. 1998

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
August 2013 versus one year ago this month: -11.21%
YEAR TO DATE: +7.38%

---

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
July 2013: $23.13 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -9%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +4%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +38%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +25%
YEAR TO DATE: $200.47 million, +9% vs. 2012, +17% vs. 2008, +53% vs. 2003, +45% vs. 1998

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
August 2013 versus one year ago this month: -10.39%
YEAR TO DATE: +9.82%

---

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
August 2013: $6.02 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -22%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -34%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: -7%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: -18%
YEAR TO DATE: $60.13 million, +8% vs. 2012

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
August 2013 versus one year ago this month: -22.09%
YEAR TO DATE: +6.59%

---

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
August 2013: $29.15 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -12%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: -4%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 50 TPBs: +27%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +32%
YEAR TO DATE: $260.3 million, +9% vs. 2012

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
August 2013 versus one year ago this month: -14.29%
YEAR TO DATE: +8.79%

---

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
August 2013: approximately $38.25 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: -14%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +5%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +54%
YEAR TO DATE: $334.8 million, +9% vs. 2012

RELEASES
New comic books released: 406
New graphic novels released: 212
New magazines released: 34
All new releases: 652

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.

The breakdowns of how many comics and graphic novels each major publisher released appears in the column on the left on the monthly estimates page. I do not plan to run a table comparing this information with the Top 300 results each month, but the reader can easily make these comparisons. This month among publishers with more than 10 releases, for example, all of Marvel and Zenescope's titles made the Top 300.

I've looked at trying to square up the new release tables with market shares, but it just doesn't work: market share is based on a basket that includes everything, not just new releases. So we end up seeing that DC and Marvel's overall market share is larger than their share of new releases because they have, on average, more books in the backlist system that perform well. Image fares better in overall market share than publishers with more new releases each month like IDW and Dynamite, in part because Image has more backlist items and many that sell very well indeed, like Walking Dead. But there isn't enough information to put together a measure of "per-release efficiency."

This month marks the completion of my 17th year compiling these numbers for publication each month. I published my 200th monthly report at the beginning of the summer, and with all the new categories added over the years, the analysis now requires many more individual steps each month. It's something I'm aware of in months, like this, in which my professional life is very busy (see here for more), but as a comics collector, completeness a compulsion!

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Friday, September 6, 2013

August 2013 comics orders soften on lower release volume

by John Jackson Miller


I've been beyond busy and honestly focused on other sales charts this month— my Star Wars: Kenobi novel opens at #12 on next week's New York Times hardcover bestseller list — but the comics market waits for no man, so let's go to the numbers. 

Diamond Comic Distributors released its preliminary sales data for August 2013, and it's the sort of report that may prompt nervousness in some quarters. But in fact, quarters are the entire issue. For while retailers' orders dropped 14.29% versus the year before — the biggest drop since January 2011 — if July's final day had been part of August, we'd be looking at two pretty normal months instead of one boom month and one slide. Sales for the quarter, meanwhile are still hanging in there.
 Orders for comic books, graphic novels, and magazines appear to have been around $38.3 million in August, the lowest dollar amount seen since April 2012. Led by Marvel's Infinity #1, comics dollar sales were off 10%. But, again, the calendar conspires to complicate matters. We're comparing a four-week month with five-week months in both last month and in August 2012. We already know that there's about a 11% or so bonus to having an extra week, because it means more new titles and reorders can ship — but we can also see it in the number of releases. The total number of new comics shipped in August 2013 was 406, with 212 new graphic novels. This is down from totals of 465 and 295 respectively last month. There was simply less new material debuting.

We also know the market absolutely gorged on graphic novels in July — up a far greater amount than expected — and it's possible retailers brought some orders into July that normally would have been in August. Further, August is a month with no pricey, blockbuster TPB or HC releases — any month Walking Dead Vol. 1 is the top book, you know that: it's the standard retailers turn their dollars toward.

So July-August looks very weird, but it may balance out. Looking at the overall data, July and August together had orders of more than $85.1 million in 2013; in 2012, that figure was $84.7 million. We're similarly up when comparing the last three months. The monthly report is an imprecise measure; it wobbles. If July 31 had been August 1, we'd have two fairly normal looking months.
COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

DOLLARS
UNITS
AUGUST 2013 VS. JULY 2013
COMICS
-15.30%
-14.93%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
-24.55%
-24.81%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
-18.33%
-15.77%
AUGUST 2013 VS. AUGUST 2012
COMICS
-10.39%
-11.21%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
-22.09%
-25.68%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
-14.29%
-12.50%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2013 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2012
COMICS
9.82%
7.38%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
6.59%
4.55%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
8.79%
7.16%

The top comic books:
-->
TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS
RANK
DESCRIPTION
PRICE
VENDOR
1
INFINITY #1
$4.99
MAR
2
SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #3
$3.99
DC
3
BATMAN #23
$3.99
DC
4
JUSTICE LEAGUE #23
$3.99
DC
5
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #7
$3.99
DC
6
BATMAN SUPERMAN #3
$3.99
DC
7
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #15
$3.99
MAR
8
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #16
$3.99
MAR
9
AVENGERS #18
$3.99
MAR
10
ALL-NEW X-MEN #15
$3.99
MAR

The top graphic novels: 
-->
TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS
RANK
DESCRIPTION
PRICE
VENDOR
1
THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 1: DAYS GONE BYE TP
$14.99
IMA
2
CHEW VOLUME 7: BAD APPLES TP
$12.99
IMA
3
ROCKET RACCOON: TALES FROM THE HALF WORLD TP
$7.99
MAR
4
SAGA VOLUME 1 TP
$9.99
IMA
5
SAGA VOLUME 2 TP
$14.99
IMA
6
MY LITTLE PONY DIGEST VOLUME 1 TP
$6.99
IDW
7
DEADPOOL VOLUME 2: SOUL HUNTER TP
$15.99
MAR
8
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN VOLUME 2: TROUBLED MIND TP
$17.99
MAR
9
THE FLASH VOLUME 1: MOVE FORWARD TP
$16.99
DC
10
B.P.R.D.: HELL ON EARTH VOLUME 6: RETURN OF THE MASTER TP
$19.99
DAR

The market shares:
 
-->
TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS
PUBLISHER
DOLLAR
SHARE
UNIT
SHARE
MARVEL COMICS
33.70%
36.30%
DC COMICS
30.16%
33.14%
IMAGE COMICS
7.86%
8.51%
IDW PUBLISHING
5.70%
4.98%
DARK HORSE COMICS
5.47%
4.80%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
3.01%
2.93%
BOOM! STUDIOS
2.05%
2.07%
EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS LTD
1.34%
0.29%
AVATAR PRESS INC
0.95%
0.59%
ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT INC
0.94%
1.03%
OTHER NON-TOP 10
8.83%
5.38%

 The title offerings:
-->
NEW TITLES SHIPPED
PUBLISHER
COMICS 
SHIPPED
GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED
MAGAZINES 
SHIPPED
TOTAL
SHIPPED
MARVEL COMICS
67
34
0
101
DC COMICS
83
23
1
107
IMAGE COMICS
39
9
0
48
IDW PUBLISHING
35
18
0
53
DARK HORSE COMICS
29
15
0
44
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
49
4
0
53
BOOM! STUDIOS
20
2
0
22
EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS LTD
0
0
6
6
AVATAR PRESS INC
7
4
0
11
ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT INC
11
3
0
14
OTHER NON-TOP 10
66
100
27
193

We'll see more next week when we look at the full data, but in the meantime, don't sweat the individual months too much — at least not yet. The direct market is still on pace to top $500 million this year. September will be the tiebreaker for the third quarter.

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