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June 2014 comics sales estimates: Market bounces back to a tie at halftime

Monday, July 14, 2014

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCBat32
The full estimates for June 2014 comics sales are now online, and as reported last weekend, at "halftime" we see a market that has rebounded from winter to bring this year's sales even with last year.

Retailers spent almost the exact same amount of money on comics and graphic novels in the period in the first halves of this year and last year, but this year they bought slightly more graphic novels and slightly fewer comic books. But the losses in comic books mainly came during the winter; they've perked up since. We were down 4% in overall sales in the first quarter and up 4% in the second. (So there's no "comics recession," at least in the two-negative-quarters definition of the term.)

http://bit.ly/AfterArchFurther, the "long tail" in comics has outperformed the Top 300. This is even more true of the long tail in graphic novels, though there is a caveat: the fact that Top 300 graphic novel revenue reads as off 8% for the year while Diamond says that the category overall is up 3% is partially explained by the fact that there were larger quantities of graphic novels dumped on the market at deep discount in the first half of 2013. We're seeing fewer graphic novels in the itemized charts, yes, but Diamond is seeing more wholesale revenue — which is what it bases its percentages on.

June itself was led by Batman #32 — and saw some upward movement by several titles, including Harley Quinn. The top graphic novel, as noted on Friday, was Afterlife with Archie Vol. 1, the first Archie graphic novel to top the book list with orders approaching 12,000 copies.

The comparison data:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
June 2014: 6.46 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: -8%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -2%
Versus 10 years ago this month: -1%
Versus 15 years ago this month: -1%
Q2 2014: 20.09 million copies, -3% vs.Q2 2013
YEAR TO DATE: 38.39 million copies, -8% vs. 2013, +8% vs. 2009, +6% vs. 2004, +1 vs. 1999

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
June 2014 versus one year ago this month: -4.51%
Q2 2014 vs. Q2 2013: -1.29%
YEAR TO DATE: -6.36%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
June 2014: $23.75 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -7%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +5%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +28%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +43%
Q2 2014: $76.77 million, +2% vs. Q2 2013
YEAR TO DATE: $144.77 million, -4% vs. 2013, +20% vs. 2009, +41% vs. 2004, +49% vs. 1999

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
June 2014 versus one year ago this month: -2.93%
Q2 2014 vs. Q2 2013: +3.9%
YEAR TO DATE: -1.43%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
June 2014: $6.93 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +2%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +15%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +25%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +27%
Q2 2014: $21.77 million, -7% vs. Q2 2013 
YEAR TO DATE: $42.4 million, -8% vs. 2013

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
June 2014 versus one year ago this month: +8.09%
Q2 2014 vs. Q2 2013: +4.33%
YEAR TO DATE: +2.93%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
June 2014: $30.68 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -5%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -2%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +15%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +52%
Q2 2014 vs. Q2 2013: $98.54 million, unchanged vs. Q2 2013
YEAR TO DATE: $187.18 million, -5% vs. 2013

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
June 2014 versus one year ago this month: +0.33%
Q2 2014 vs. Q2 2013: +4.04%
YEAR TO DATE: -0.08%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines) 
June 2014: approximately $41.68 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: unchanged
Versus 5 years ago this month: +13%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +91%
Q2 2014 vs. Q2 2013: $132.94 million, up 4% vs. Q2 2013
YEAR TO DATE: $249.53 million, unchanged vs. 2013

RELEASES
New comic books released: 424
New graphic novels released: 246
New magazines released: 34
All new releases: 704

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.72; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.67, a considerable drop. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

Diamond only released the Top 300 this month, after several months of the Top 400. Various small publisher titles in the 300s and 400s were provided, and are shown on the listing page.

Look here tomorrow for the release of the long-awaited 2013 end-of-year data, including the direct market, outside channels, and digital, the product of our first-ever joint analysis with ICV2.

John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: Kenobi and the upcoming hardcover Star Wars: A New Dawn. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

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