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May 2016 comics sales estimates online; DC Rebirth tops 235k in orders

Monday, June 13, 2016

by John Jackson Miller

Comics retailers in North America ordered nearly 236,000 copies of DC Universe Rebirth #1 in May 2016, according to Comichron's analysis of data released by Diamond Comic Distributors. The figure, certain to increase with figures from later months, gave the $2.99 issue the top slot in the charts for May — but more money was earned by the second-place finisher: Marvel's $4.99 Civil War II #0, with orders of more than 177,000 copies. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in May 2016.

Four comic books posted sales of more than 100,000 copies, down from 10 last year — confirming our Friday view that most of the difference between this May's and last May's performance comes from a lack of blockbusters. Last year had the launch of Secret Wars with over half a million copies sold of #1 and more than 200,000 copies sold of #2 — and the charts also included the last of the Loot Crate-charged titles, Bravest Warriors: Tales from the Holo John #1, which added half a million comics to the unit sales totals. There was also Convergence in the mix back then.

http://bit.ly/CivilWarII0
May 2016's top-sellers simply didn't have the same high volumes. In total, the Top 300 comics sold 6.37 million copies in the month, down 20% from almost exactly 8 million last May — but really, that should be down 15% from 7.5 million, since the Loot Crate copies were never part of the Direct Market. That leaves a deficit of 1.13 million copies, which is almost entirely explained by softer sales in the Top 100.

On the other hand, all comics in 140th through 300th places outsold those in the corresponding rankings on the list from last year; this month's 300th place title sold 4,986 copies, which is a very respectable number. (Click to see the sales of 300th-place titles across time.)

So why are the midlist and low-end entries doing better? One reason is that they're more likely to be Marvel titles this year as opposed to last year. Marvel placed 102 titles in the Top 300 this May; last May, there were only 81. There are fewer comics coming from the middle-tier publishers this year, so if Marvel is taking those spots on the list, its generally higher volumes would have an impact. To be clear, we're describing the relative performance of titles at the same rank on the charts, not the performance of specific ongoing titles over time. But it is another example of the shape of the comics sales chart evolving. Depth continues, even if the bestsellers aren't reaching the same heights.

The aggregate changes are as follows:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
May 2016: 6.37 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: -20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +24%
Versus 10 years ago this month: -16%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +32%
YEAR TO DATE: 31.51 million copies, -15% vs. 2015, +21% vs. 2011, -3% vs. 2006, +26% vs. 2001
ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
May 2016 versus one year ago this month: -17.60%
YEAR TO DATE: -14.01%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
May 2016: $25.24 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -24%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +42%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +7%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +94%
YEAR TO DATE: $125.61 million, -14% vs. 2015, +39% vs. 2011, +26% vs. 2006, +86% vs. 2001
ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
May 2016 versus one year ago this month: -14.34%
YEAR TO DATE: -9.23%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
April 2016: $7.07 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +26%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +23%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: -7%
YEAR TO DATE: $39.76 million, +13% vs. 2015
ALL TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
May 2016 versus one year ago this month: +4.52%
YEAR TO DATE: +4.80%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
May 2016: $32.31 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +27%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +7%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +94%
YEAR TO DATE: $164.75 million, -9% vs. 2015
ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
May 2016 versus one year ago this month: -9.05%
YEAR TO DATE: -5.11%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
May 2016: approximately $44.46 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: -9%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +43%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +18%
YEAR TO DATE: $221.58 million, -5 vs. 2015

RELEASES
New comic books released: 479
New graphic novels released: 271
New magazines released: 23
All new releases: 773

As noted, the average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.89; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.96. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

http://bit.ly/STPrey1
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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. His trilogy for 2016, Star Trek: Prey, ships in consecutive months in September, October, and November.

Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

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