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John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Books keep sales rolling in October 2006 in month with no Civil War

by John Jackson Miller

The comics industry continued on course to a year of across-the-board sales increases with an October marked by strong performances among new trade paperbacks and hardcovers, according to my analysis of the sales reports released by Diamond Comic Distributors on November 17. See the charts here.

Boosted by such titles as the Infinite Crisis hardcover from DC, The $5.19 million represented by Diamond's "Top 100 Trade Paperbacks and Hardcovers" is the highest total ever seen for that category, topping August 2006's $4.94 million.

The actual trade paperback portion of Diamond's sales may be as much as twice that size. Diamond's overall sales, including all trades and comics not in its top-sellers list and also magazines, was $30.59 million this month — and the Top 300 Comics only accounted for $19.06 million of it. If magazines and lower ranked comics accounted for $1.53 million or less, the total trade paperback portion could be above the $10 million mark.

Comics unit sales: The Top 300 comic books had retailer orders of almost 6.1 million copies in October, off a fraction of a percentage point from where they were in October 2005, which had the same number of shipping weeks (four).

To date in 2006, the Top 300 comics from each month have sold a combined 66.92 million copies, an increase of 6% over the 63.1 million copies sold in the period in the previous year.

With a strong November and December, the industry can still reach 80 million copies for the year just among the Top 300.

Marvel's New Avengers #24 topped the list, selling at least 136,700 copies. The Civil War-less month broke the streak of five consecutive months that at least one issue has had sales over 200,000 copies.

There might not have been a Civil War, but Civil Wardrobe in 268th place with 2,000 copies made Brain Scan the top new publisher on the Top 300 list. Begoths Comics from Begoth came in 269th with about the same number of copies.

Comics dollar sales: The Top 300 comic books had sales worth $19.06 million in October, 5% more than October 2005.

To date in 2006, the Top 300 comics from each month have sold a combined $205.64 million, an increase of 13% over the $182.35 million worth sold in the same period in the previous year.

Trade paperbacks: The Top 100 Trade Paperbacks and graphic novels reported by Diamond had orders worth $5.19 million at full retail in October, a leap of 38% over the same month in 2005.

Absolute Sandman was a half-million dollar earner for DC. Many other trades had also performed well.

To date in 2006, the Top 100 Trades for each month total $40.02 million, up 7% from the same period in the previous year, when sales were $37.25 million.

Adding the Top 100 trades to the Top 300 Comics for the month yields $24.26 million, an increase of 11% over the $21.91 million ordered in the same month in 2005.

To date in 2006, the Top 300 Comics and the Top 100 Trade Paperbacks from each month had orders worth $245.66 million, 12% over the $219.6 million ordered in the same period in 2005.

Diamond’s “overall” sales: The October 2006 total was $30.59 million, which increases to $34.16 million, when Diamond’s estimated United Kingdom orders are added. The figure is up 5% from the $29.11 million ordered in the U.S. in October 2005. Overall, the year to date stands at $322.68 million, an increase of 12% over 2005's total of $288.42 million.

It's increasingly looking like reaching $400 million for the year is going to be a challenge for November and December, but with five shipping weeks in November, it might surprise us.

Market shares: The parity in offerings returned, as Marvel and DC each had 85 issues in the Top 300. Within the Top 300, Dynamic Forces slipped into fourth place among publishers within the Top 300; Dark Horse retained fourth in the wider measures.

Price analysis: The average comic book on Diamond’s Top 300 list cost $3.29, up from $3.20 in September 2005.

The weighted average price – that is, the cost of the average comic book Diamond sold – was $3.13, up from $2.96 last year.

The average price of the comics that made the Top 25 was $3.05.

Unit Sales for Diamond's Top 300 Comic Books (est.): 6.1 million copies

Dollar Sales for Diamond's Top 300 Comic Books (est.): $19.06 million

Dollar Sales for Diamond's Top 100 Trade Paperbacks (est.): $5.19 million

Combined Dollar Sales for Diamond's Top 300 Comics and Top 100 TPBs (est.) : $24.26 million

OVERALL U.S. Dollar Sales for Diamond's Comics, Trade Paperbacks, and Magazines (est.): $30.59 million

Average price of comic books in Diamond's Top 300: $3.29 v Average price of comic books in Diamond's Top 300, weighted by orders: $3.13
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