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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, October 6, 2014

September 2014 comics sales estimates online; best quarter since mid-1990s

by John Jackson Miller

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=death+of+wolverine+1&pubid=&PubRng=?AffID=874007P01
The final comics sales estimates for September 2014 are out from Diamond Comic Distributors, and as reported here on Friday, it was a good one, with orders of comics and graphic novels by comics shops in North America topping $50 million for the second time in three months — and just the third time in the last decade and a half. The result was the best quarter in dollar terms (not adjusted for inflation) in the 17 years that Diamond has been the exclusive distributor for all the major publishers. At $145.56 million, it topped the previous record, set in the fourth quarter of last year, by nearly $10 million. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in September 2014.

The Death of Wolverine #1 was the top-selling title with orders approaching 262,000 copies, but the bigger story was DC and its Futures End event. The lenticular covers and the standard versions combined to give DC 115 entries in the Top 300 comics list. All those high-volume entries combined to push many publishers out of the Top 300 entirely; only nine publishers put more than one title onto the list.

That doesn't mean those publishers didn't have successful releases, however: with the 300th-place title getting orders of more than 6,300 copies — nearly but not quite a record for a four-week month — that left a lot of volume outside the charts. Archie was the 401st place title with 3,651 copies sold, for example; last September's 400th-place book had orders of 2,621, nearly a thousand fewer copies. It's why the Top 300 comics unit sales could be down 3% while overall comics unit sales were basically flat. The additional "Future's End" entries had the effect of making the "long tail" that much longer.

It's of interest to look at comic unit sales performance across Septembers across five-year intervals, to see a glimpse of comics performance where cover price inflation is not in play:

COMICS SHOP ORDERS OF TOP 300 COMICS
September 1999: 7.06 million copies
September 2004: 7.01 million copies
September 2009: 7.05 million copies
September 2014: 7.89 million copies

So there has been significant recent growth there, with increases of 12-13%. Of course, the choice of years for selection introduces some distortion: 1999 and 2009 weren't good years, while 2004 was part of a recovery from a deep hole. But it's of interest, too, to see where the volume has moved:

ORDERS FOR 300th PLACE COMIC BOOK
September 1999: 2,363 copies
September 2004: 1,681 copies
September 2009: 4,095 copies
September 2014: 6,306 copies

This implies that 2014 unit sales are actually significantly larger than those earlier years, on the basis of volume not captured by the charts. The bench has simply grown stronger relative to what it was in the past: the smaller publishers are releasing more titles, and to more comparative success.

RECORDS: A couple of Diamond Exclusive-era records were set in the month. In addition to the highest dollar value for comics, graphic novel, and magazine orders in a single quarter, September saw the highest dollar value for orders for the Top 300 comics, at $31.18 million.

We nearly saw a record with the highest weighted average price for comic books ordered by retailers within the Top 300 — $3.95, a nickel short of April's $4 mark. Here we find the influence of high prices for the better-selling titles: the Top 25 comics had an average cover price of $4.15.

And the 22.37 million copies ordered of Top 300 comics in the third quarter is the most in a quarter since the fourth quarter of 1997.

The aggregate changes:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
September 2014: 7.89 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: -3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +12%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +13%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +12%
Q3 2014: 22.37 million copies, +2% vs. Q3 2013
YEAR TO DATE: 60.76 million copies, -4% vs. 2013, +8% vs. 2009, +9% vs. 2004, +4 vs. 1999

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
September 2014 versus one year ago this month: -0.12%
Q3 2014 vs. Q3 2013: +6.15%
YEAR TO DATE: -2.04%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
September 2014: $31.18 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +27%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +56%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +69%
Q3 2014: $85.67 million copies, +7% vs. Q3 2013
YEAR TO DATE: $230.44 million, unchanged vs. 2013, +20% vs. 2009, +45% vs. 2004, +53% vs. 1999

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
September 2014 versus one year ago this month: +4.58%
Q3 2014 vs. Q3 2013: +10.3%
YEAR TO DATE:
+2.69%


TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
September 2014: $7.39 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -2%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +3%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +37%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +78%
Q3 2014: $22.29 million copies, +4% vs. Q3 2013
YEAR TO DATE: $64.69 million, -4% vs. 2013

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
September 2014 versus one year ago this month: +8.49%
Q3 2014 vs. Q3 2013: +7.04%
YEAR TO DATE: +4.33%


TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
September 2014: $38.57 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +13%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +43%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +81%
Q3 2014: 107.94 million copies, +7% vs. Q3 2013
YEAR TO DATE: $295.12 million, -1% vs. 2013

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
September 2014 versus one year ago this month: +5.64%
Q3 2014 vs. Q3 2013: +9.33%
YEAR TO DATE: +3.19%


OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
September 2014: approximately $50.78 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +6% Versus 5 years ago this month: +24%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +65%
Q3 2014: $145.56 million copies, +9% vs. Q3 2013
YEAR TO DATE: $395.1 million, +3% vs. 2013

RELEASES
New comic books released: 484
New graphic novels released: 265
New magazines released: 13
All new releases: 762

As noted above, the average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.77; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.95. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

That's it for September's report. I'll be at New York Comic-Con later this week, signing at the Random House/Del Rey booth. And wherever you are, be sure to visit your local comic shop here.
  
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 several bestselling novels including Star Wars: Kenobi and the recently released Star Wars: A New Dawn. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Death of Wolverine, Futures End dominate September 2014 comics sales


by John Jackson Miller

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=death+of+wolverine+1&pubid=&PubRng=?AffID=874007P01
Wolverine's death topped the new comics charts in September, but DC buried shelves with "Futures End"-ing new releases to give the publisher the top unit and dollar market share slots, according to preliminary data released today by Diamond Comic Distributors. Comic book stores in North America ordered nearly $50.8 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines in the month, a 5.6% increase over last September.

It's the second month this year to top $50 million in total orders, and just the third in the last decade and a half.

Both this September and last September had four shipping weeks, so we finally have a complete quarter of straight-up comparisons: and July, August, and September found the market up 14.52%, 2.84%, and 5.6% respectively to net out at a 9.33% increase for the third quarter. At $395 million for the year, Direct Market orders are $12 million ahead of last year's pace; the fourth quarter need only come in at 90% of last year's total in order for 2014 to see a year-over-year increase.

DC, again, had a remarkable number of new comics releases in September: 124, to Marvel's 80. This would appear to have come from the large number of Standard Editions for its "Futures End" books: at a dollar less, Diamond would give those titles separate entries in its records (as opposed to same-priced variant covers, which are all fused in single entries). For comparison, DC had 85 new comics releases in August.

The comparative sales statistics:
 
DOLLARS UNITS
SEPTEMBER 2014 VS. AUGUST 2014
COMICS 28.33% 23.90%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 12.12% -1.67%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 23.40% 21.86%
SEPTEMBER 2014 VS. SEPTEMBER 2013
COMICS 4.58% -0.12%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 8.49% -1.61%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 5.64% -0.22%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2014 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2013
COMICS 2.69% -2.04%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 4.33% 4.99%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 3.19% -1.51%
THIRD QUARTER 2014 VS. SECOND QUARTER 2014
COMICS 13.59% 13.56%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 0.75% 0.77%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 9.50% 12.51%
THIRD QUARTER 2014 VS. THIRD QUARTER 2013
COMICS 10.30% 6.15%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 7.04% 4.17%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 9.33% 6.01%

The total number of new releases:


Comics shipped Graphic novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
DC 124 27 0 151
Marvel 80 26 1 107
Image 57 12 0 69
Dark Horse 36 21 0 57
IDW 35 18 0 53
Boom 30 7 0 37
Dynamite 34 0 0 34
Viz 0 24 0 24
Random House 3 20 0 23
Eaglemoss 0 0 12 12
Other 85 110 21 216
TOTAL SHIPPED 484 265 34 783

Death of Wolverine #1 and #2 were the top two comic books in the market in orders in September. The top sellers in each category:
 
COMIC BOOKS PRICE VENDOR
1 Death of Wolverine #1 $4.99 Marvel
2 Death of Wolverine #2 $4.99 Marvel
3 Batman: Futures End #1 $3.99 DC
4 Harley Quinn: Futures End #1 $3.99 DC
5 Amazing Spider-Man #6 $3.99 Marvel
6 Justice League: Futures End #1 $3.99 DC
7 Original Sin #8 $4.99 Marvel
8 Detective Comics: Futures End #1 $3.99 DC
9 Justice League #33 $3.99 DC
10 Batman/Superman: Futures End #1 $3.99 DC
GRAPHIC NOVELS PRICE VENDOR
1 Batman: Death of the Family Book & The Joker Mask Boxed Set $39.99 DC
2 Forever Evil HC $24.99 DC
3 Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds Volume 6 $9.99 Viz
4 Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2: Angela $19.99 Marvel
5 The Walking Dead Volume 10 HC $34.99 Image
6 Harley Quinn: Vengeance Unlimited $19.99 DC
7 Saga Volume 1 HC $9.99 Image
8 Kick-Ass 3 Premiere HC $29.99 Marvel
9 Fatale Volume 5: Curse The Demon $14.99 Image
10 Saga Volume 3 $14.99 Image

And the market shares:


Publisher Dollar Share Unit Share
DC 36.58% 40.76%
Marvel 32.04% 34.11%
Image 7.49% 8.24%
IDW 4.52% 3.24%
Dark Horse 4.11% 3.30%
Boom 2.34% 2.28%
Dynamite 2.18% 2.31%
Eaglemoss 1.29% 0.25%
Random House 1.15% 0.41%
Viz 0.96% 0.35%
Other 7.34% 4.77%



Final reports from September will be along next week.

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. His latest novel, Star Wars: A New Dawn, has just been released by Random House. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.
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