Search for titles on Comichron!
Custom Search

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, December 16, 2013

November 2013 final comics sales estimates: Graphic novels lead the way

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCBatm25
It came to be a truism in the early 2000s that any month in which graphic novel sales were leading the Direct Market was likely to have been a blah month overall. Nothing against graphic novels, which added an important and large new revenue stream; but the dollar volume for periodicals was so much higher that even a small dip in their sales was enough to cause a down month even when graphic novels were booming.

Not so this past month. Sales of graphic novels to North American comics retailers were up double digits percentagewise while comics were slightly off in November 2013, according to Comichron's estimates of data released today by Diamond Comic Distributors — but the net effect still kept the Direct Market in positive territory, up 3% over last November. Click to see estimated comics and graphic novel sales for November 2013.

What's interesting — and what may be causing the difference this time — is which graphic novels were responsible for making up the difference. It was a big month for Walking Dead Vol. 19, with more than 25,000 copies sold — but the Top 300 Graphic Novels were only up 4%, while all of Diamond's graphic novels were up nearly 15%. The reason is strength in the backlist: the 300th best-selling graphic novel last November had orders of 305 copies, whereas this November that same sales level on the charts was good for 386 copies.

http://bit.ly/WDVol19
Strength also came from beneath the bottom of the charts in comic books. The Top 300 (which Diamond returned to after a couple of months of sharing the Top 400) were off 6% in dollar terms, but all Diamond's comics were off only 1%. Again, it's what we can't see that's making the difference: the 300th place title this November sold more than 5,000 copies, versus 4,341 at the same level last November. (Click to see the 300th-place issues over time.)

DC's Batman #25 took the top slot on the comics list, posting just over 125,600 first-month orders: that's the smallest number of copies ordered for any #1 title since May 2011, before the DC relaunch began. Only six comic books topped 100,000 copies, versus ten last November. (Click to see the #1 issues across time.)

But while it may sound as though there are some discordant notes to the Direct Market's recent growth symphony, it's worth noting that November is always a difficult month to draw conclusions from. The mix of offerings is unique because of the holidays: Diamond shipped 109 fewer new comic books in November than in five-week October — but shipped 39 more new graphic novels. The problem is that Decembers have been erratic enough historically that this month may not provide much guidance as to future sales — and then we're into the slow quarter as the market takes a breath before its next summer run.
 Records set: The only record this month is the average weighted cover price of comics, which tied the $3.73 mark set in October. Average prices declined for a time after DC reduced prices to $2.99 in early 2011; those effects appear to be gone, with prices in the general market being back where they were.

Of interest on the market-share side, Marvel and DC's combined dollar market share of 59.21% is the first time it's been under 60% since April 2003, when Dreamwave had the #2 book. (Hat-tip to Heidi MacDonald for catching this development.) The lowest the combined total has been in the Diamond Exclusive Era is 48.03% in February 1998, when bankruptcy-era Marvel had a truncated slate of titles.   Click to see market shares across time.)

The aggregate sales are below, with one difference this month. Diamond began reporting its Top 300 Graphic Novels five years ago this month, so the five-year comparisons now are apples-and-apples:


TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
November 2013: 6.62 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: -11%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +15%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +9%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +2%
YEAR TO DATE: 77.91 million copies, +6% vs. 2012, +6% vs. 2008, +17% vs. 2003, +1% vs. 1998

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
November 2013 versus one year ago this month: -8.43%
YEAR TO DATE: +7.69%

---


TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
November 2013: $24.69 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -6%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +28%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +40%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +47%
YEAR TO DATE: $284.16 million, +9% vs. 2012, +20% vs. 2008, +50% vs. 2003, +48% vs. 1998

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
November 2013 versus one year ago this month: -1.21%
YEAR TO DATE: +11.09%

---

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
November 2013: $7.37 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -11%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: -3%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +36%
YEAR TO DATE: $83.4 million, +7% vs. 2012

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
November 2013 versus one year ago this month: +14.59%
YEAR TO DATE: +5.55%

---

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
November 2013: $32.06 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +6%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 50 TPBs: +28%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +60%
YEAR TO DATE: $367.25 million, +8% vs. 2012

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
November 2013 versus one year ago this month: +3.39%
YEAR TO DATE: +9.33%

---

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
November 2013: approximately $42.24 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +28%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +54%
YEAR TO DATE: $475.44 million, +9% vs. 2012

RELEASES
New comic books released: 406
New graphic novels released: 303
New magazines released: 26
All new releases: 735

COVER PRICES
The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.61; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.73. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.
Comichron can now project that overall Direct Market orders for the year are likely to land at the lower end of the range estimated last month: likely between $514-516 million. A double-digit gain for the year would require December to be up nearly 17%; odds instead are that the market will just miss that, coming in up 8-9% for the year.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, December 13, 2013

November 2013 graphic novels drive slight increase in overall orders

by John Jackson Miller


http://bit.ly/WDVol19
As predicted, total North American comics shop orders for 2013 from January through November matched the amount ordered for all of 2012, according to figures released today by Diamond Comic Distributors. The release was later than usual, owing perhaps to the late-falling Thanksgiving holiday: but it was that Black Friday week that sales likely topped the 2012 total.

http://bit.ly/CCBatm25Retailers ordered more than $42 million in comics products in November, bringing the year-to-date total to more than $475 million. The November amount was 3% more than was ordered in November 2012, the margin due entirely to graphic novel sales, led by Walking Dead Vol. 19.

This October was a big month in the Direct Market: it was the first time since Diamond became the exclusive distributor for all the major publishers that orders for comic books and trade paperbacks topped $50 million in a month. There was no topping that five-week month in four-week November, with sales off 16% from month to month; but we saw the same dropoff last November.

The aggregate changes are below:

COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS
DOLLARS UNITS
NOVEMBER 2013 VS. OCTOBER 2013
COMICS -18.80% -18.95%
GRAPHIC NOVELS -9.72% -14.98%
TOTAL COMICS/GN -16.07% -18.65%
NOVEMBER 2013 VS. NOVEMBER 2012
COMICS -1.21% -8.43%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 14.59% 11.44%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 3.39% -7.12%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2013 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2012
COMICS 11.09% 7.69%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 5.55% 3.92%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 9.33% 7.39%

Every issue in the Top 10 last November had orders of more than 110,000 copies: this November, unit sales were slightly off. The Zero Year issue Batman #25 led the list of top-selling comics for the month:

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE VENDOR
1 BATMAN #25 $4.99 DC
2 HARLEY QUINN #0 $2.99 DC
3 AMAZING X-MEN #1 $3.99 MAR
4 SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #4 $3.99 DC
5 FOREVER EVIL #3 $3.99 DC
6 INFINITY #6 $5.99 MAR
7 ALL-NEW X-MEN #18 $3.99 MAR
8 SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #22 $3.99 MAR
9 BATMAN/SUPERMAN #5 $3.99 DC
10 SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #21 $3.99 MAR

As mentioned above, graphic novels, on the other hand, were the strong point for the month, up nearly 15% over last November — thanks in part to the Walking Dead Vol. 19: March to War, which led the list:

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE VENDOR
1 THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 19: MARCH TO WAR TP $14.99 IMA
2 YU-GI-OH! 5DS VOLUME 5 GN $9.99 VIZ
3 FAIREST IN ALL THE LAND HC $22.99 DC
4 BATMAN: NIGHT OF THE OWLS $19.99 DC
5 THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS VOLUME 3 $14.99 IMA
6 INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US VOLUME 1 HC $19.99 DC
7 NOWHERE MEN VOLUME 1: FATES WORSE THAN DEATH $9.99 IMA
8 BATMAN IN DETECTIVE COMICS VOL. 2: SCARE TACTICS $16.99 DC
9 S.H.I.E.L.D. ORIGINS $7.99 MAR
10 HAWKEYE VOLUME 1 HC $34.99 MAR

The market shares and total number of titles released appear below.  (UPDATE: Heidi MacDonald's article caused me to look again at these figures: I thought Marvel and DC's combined dollar share of 59.21% looked low-ish, but it is in fact the first time it's been under 60% since April 2003, when Dreamwave had the #2 book. The lowest the combined total has been in the Diamond Exclusive Era is 48.03% in February 1998, when bankruptcy-era Marvel had a truncated slate of titles. Click to see market shares across time.)
MARKET SHARE
PUBLISHER DOLLAR SHARE UNIT SHARE
Marvel 29.97% 33.65%
DC 29.24% 31.90%
Image 8.67% 9.77%
IDW 6.68% 6.26%
Dark Horse 6.11% 4.91%
Dynamite 3.20% 3.00%
Boom 1.90% 1.92%
Eaglemoss 1.86% 0.44%
Valiant 1.58% 1.74%
Viz 1.19% 0.42%
Other 9.59% 5.99%
PUBLISHER COMICS SHIPPED GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED MAGAZINES SHIPPED TOTAL SHIPPED
DC 85 29 1 115
Marvel 74 34 0 108
IDW 46 31 0 77
Dark Horse 37 31 0 68
Image 42 14 0 56
Dynamite 30 18 0 48
Viz 0 25 0 25
Boom 20 3 0 23
Valiant 8 2 0 10
Eaglemoss 0 0 9 9
Other 64 116 16 196
TOTAL 406 303 26 735

We can now project that overall Direct Market orders for the year are likely to land at the lower end of the range estimated last month: likely between $514-516 million. A double-digit gain for the year would require December to be up nearly 17%; odds instead are that the market will just miss that, coming in up 8-9% for the year.

The final estimates will be along next week.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.
Next Previous Home

 

Copyright © John Jackson Miller. Original template design by Free Website Templates. Privacy policy.

Comichron is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Images used for identification are © their respective owners.