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


Friday, June 12, 2009

May 2009 Diamond comics sales charts online

Diamond Comic Distributors has released its comics sales charts for May 2009, and while the actual estimates with copy counts will follow here shortly, you can see from the link that there's an interesting change to the chart.

Within the chart itself, Marvel's New Avengers #53 led the list; there isn't a new #1 until way down in 20th place, which would seem to suggest that this is one of those months without a lot of heavy hitters, but we'll see from the eventual estimates. There's no Detective Comics this month — last month's leader; I honestly can't remember if that's a first, but I'll have to look it up. (Update: No, it isn't — Detective was bimonthly in 1979-80 and had different frequencies several times in the 1970s. There may not be a skipped cover-month in this case, in any event.) Marvel's unit and dollar shares were both nearly half again what DC's were — 45.17% to 30.34% in units, 39.05% to 26.18% in dollars.

The new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen topped the trades list at $7.95 with four times the unit sales of anything else on the list. This happens on the list from time to time, where items at widely varying price points all appear in one place. However, League was so popular it was the top trade paperback table in dollar terms, too!

The new element this time out is that Diamond, which began releasing a Top 50 Independents list at the end of last year, added a Top 50 Small Publishers list this time out. (Or "Small Press" — I'm not sure what they're calling it.) The Top 50 Indies list, in practice, just wound up reiterating items in the existing Top 300, since once you remove Marvel, DC, Image, and Dark Horse, you almost always still have 50 books left. Only one time did the 301st place item materialize in the Top 50 Indies list.

The Top 50 Small Publishers list has a few of the same items on that Top 50 Indies list — Mouse Guard from Archaia, Sonic from Archie — but it extends downward to capture 15 more items not in the Top 300 list, finishing with Castle Waiting Vol. 2, #15 from Fantagraphics at 334th place. It's not clear what qualifies a publisher for the Small Publishers list (especially as some also make the Indies list); my guess is that they're all publishers with dollar market shares below 1%, or something similar. I have a query in with the distributor.

We'll know what the estimates are, soon, but we can tell right away from the Order Index numbers that that 334th place item sold 63.4% of the volume of the 300th place item. So the drop-off would appear to be fairly steep getting into the 300s, informing the earlier discussion here about how much of new comics sales the Top 300 represents.

Estimates coming soon. In the meantime, you can see where everything is — and you can use the links on the chart page to check for Amazon rankings for TPB titles, where such pages exist in their system.
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