Thursday, February 24, 2005

Comics sales skid, with most top titles seeing decline

ICv2 assesses direct-market sales in January, and finds a 3-percent drop from the same period last year. Comics were down 4 percent, while graphic novels were up 8 percent from a year ago. The retailer website also points out that Marvel held the top 13 spots, "with the top title from any other publisher selling less than 70,000 copies":
Top titles were more down than up, with 16 of the top 25 titles declining compared to the previous issues. At the top of the list, two #2s held the same positions the first issues did, but the numbers, of course, were lower. New Avengers #2 dropped 36% compared to the first issue in December, and Ultimates #2 dropped 22%.
Top 300 comics for January, actual sales
Top 100 graphic novels for January, actual sales

While everyone else seems fixated on how many copies the Top 10 titles move, I'm always fascinated by the sales of the #300 slot.

In January, the cutoff for the Top 300 was a mere 680 copies (Belly Button #2). In December, it was 1,821 (Archie Double Digest #157), in November, 1,505 (Jughead's Double Digest #108), and in October, 867 (reorders of Ultimate Nightmare #2). That's quite a rollercoaster ride for the bottom spot.

Interestingly, the #300 position in January 2004 (Raijin Comics #41) , sold just an estimated 668 copies. What does it mean? Probably nothing at all. It does, however, illustrate the wide gulf between the top of the chart and the bottom.

At The Comics Reporter, Tom Spurgeon has his own fun with ICv2's sales archives.

Update: At Love Manga, David gets all fancy with a chart highlighting the manga on Diamond's graphic novels list.