Monday, August 15, 2016
by John Jackson Miller
Diamond Comic Distributors. Retailers ordered 8.58 million copies of the Top 300 comics in the month, eclipsing the 17-year high set last month — and a whopping 16 comics had orders over 100,000 copies, the highest figure since June 2006, when Civil War #2 was released. [EDIT: The charts now appear on their proper place on the site. Click to read the estimates for comics sales for July 2017.]
DC's returnable comics, market by asterisks in the charts, are adjusted downward from the actual shipping level by around 10%, but don't expect that to mean that the real sales figures will be lower. We find that most asterisked titles wind up with sales higher than those reported by the time we see the yearly ones. So Justice League #1, which led the market with more than 209,000 copies reported, really shipped closer to 230,000 copies, and that may be closer to where it winds up at the end of the year.
The $2.99 pricing point led to some interesting effects. The average price of comics offered in the Top 300, which had reached an all-time high in June at $3.98, plummeted 20 cents. The avergage weighted price of comics — that is, the average price of all comics retailers ordered — plummeted still further, from above $4 to $3.61. (Marvel had some dollar books on the charts, too, contributing to the effect.) And because so many books in the Top 25 were from DC, the Top 25 average fell all the way to $3.23, a level we haven't seen in years. Click to see comics prices across time.
The result of the lower pricing was an unusual split between unit and dollar sales, with units improving much more year over year. The market is now 3.6 million comics units behind 2015's pace, which was inflated by a couple of million by Loot Crate. Graphic novels suffered in comparison with last July, which had a new Fables volume and a fifth shipping week to boot.
The aggregate changes are as follows:
TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
July 2016: 8.58 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +13%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +46%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +16%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +38%
YEAR TO DATE: 48.62 million copies, -7% vs. 2015, +28% vs. 2011, +4% vs. 2006, +33% vs. 2001
ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
July 2016 versus one year ago this month: +12.01%
YEAR TO DATE: -5.39%
TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALESJuly 2016: $31 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +53%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +37%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +77%
YEAR TO DATE: $190.74 million, -7% vs. 2015, +45% vs. 2011, +33% vs. 2006, +90% vs. 2001
ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
July 2016 versus one year ago this month: +4.32%YEAR TO DATE: -2.59%
TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALESJuly 2016: $6.74 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -17%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +13%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -4%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +10%
YEAR TO DATE: $55.95 million, +9% vs. 2015
ALL TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
July 2016 versus one year ago this month: -19.12%YEAR TO DATE: +2.42%
TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALESJuly 2016: $37.74 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: unchanged
Versus 5 years ago this month: +34%
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: +77%
YEAR TO DATE: $246.07 million, -4% vs. 2015
ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
July 2016 versus one year ago this month: -3.01%
YEAR TO DATE: -1.08%
OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)July 2016: approximately $50.52 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: -3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +52%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +44%
YEAR TO DATE: $330.68 million, -1% vs. 2015
New comic books released: 455
New graphic novels released: 275
New magazines released: 24
All new releases: 754
Be back next month as we complete a full twenty years of monthly estimates!
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.