Friday, November 19, 2004

Manga rises in comic-store backlist ranks

Is this a sign of the times? reports that Tokyopop's unit market share of backlist sales to comic stores -- yes, comic stores -- topped Marvel's in October, according to Diamond's Star System market share report. The manga publisher had a 14.88 percent unit share of Diamond's backlist sales, compared to Marvel's 13.48 percent. DC still dominates with 27.03 percent.

But wait -- there's more:

The cumulative total of comic store backlist shares for manga publishers was also dramatic. Using an estimate of one-half of Dark Horse backlist sales as manga, the cumulative total of manga publishers listed in Diamond's Star System unit market share report (Tokyopop, one-half of Dark Horse, Viz, ADV, and ComicsOne) for October was 30.3%, bigger than DC's.

In dollars, the manga share of backlist sales to comic stores was not as large due to the lower average cover prices of manga trade paperbacks compared to superhero books, but still accounted for 22.8% of the Star System backlist sales in October.

However, the retailer website admits its cumulative total calculations aren't entirely scientific:

... we are aware that Viz, Tokyopop, and ADV produce anime as well as manga, and that their anime products contributed to their share numbers. But we believe that our assumption on the portion of Dark Horse share that is manga is conservative, and also note that there are manga publishers, such as Del Rey, Central Park Media, and Media Blasters, that are in the "other" category in Diamond's reporting. Accordingly, we believe that if anything, our estimates of the total share of Diamond's backlist sales attributable to manga are, if anything, conservative.