Friday, February 22, 2008
For the record, if you're waiting for the January month-to-month sales columns, it'll probably be a while. Since everyone's fairly sure now that there's been a glitch in Diamond's source data, we're holding off on the columns until the numbers have been corrected.
Looking at the Top 300 charts, there are a few very odd things going on. Not only does there seem to be an inexplicable five-percent increase across the board, as I noted a few days ago, but the index points for individual books also seem to be a mess.
Take, for instance, the performance of the weekly Countdown to Final Crisis and the bi-weekly WildStorm: Revelations. According to the January chart as it currently stands, Countdown to Final Crisis #17 was supposedly outsold by the title's four subsequent issues in January, without any readily apparent explanation. And, even more oddly, WildStorm: Revelations #1 was outsold by issue #2, if you believe the chart. This is bizarre, at very best, and it flies in the face of everything we know about comics sales.
What both Countdown #17 and Revelations #1 have in common, now, is that they shipped in the first week of January. Consequently, my suspicion is that Diamond got week 1 of January right, but somehow screwed up weeks 2 through 5. If I'm correct, this means that not only the index points and the resulting estimates as they presently stand are inaccurate, but also the chart positions themselves.
Also, I'm not quite sure what exactly this means for analysis of the overall market as ICv2.com or Newsarama have provided it, but you can probably expect some major downward corrections there as well, as far as the overall direct-market performance in January 2008 is concerned.
I've got no idea how long it's going to take to get the correct numbers out there, but people are aware of the problem, so I'm fairly sure it's just a matter of time.
Update, updated: There's a bit of follow-up discussion at The Beat. If John Jackson Miller is correct with his suspicion that there may not be a corrected chart, I'm not sure what this means for the month-to-month sales columns - I guess that would depend on whether the February chart will be back on track.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Erm. ICv2.com have updated their direct market sales estimates for January, but something smells fishy there. For some reason, everything seems to be about 5% higher than you'd expect, if you compare it to the December numbers, even in cases where there's no readily apparent reason for it.
Of course, it's not impossible that there's been a sudden major trend reversal in 2008, but it seems rather unlikely. In case some statistical error is involved - either on Diamond's part, which is where the raw data comes from, or on the part of ICv2.com's Milton Griepp - I'll hold off working on the new DC column for a few days.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
The other worry a lot of readers have is that [Scalped] might be on the verge of cancellation. They know that Exterminators had pretty similar monthly numbers, and word has just come out that it’s being cancelled, so a lot of people automatically assume that Scalped must be next. It’s not. We are not on the chopping block. And that’s because the trade paperback sales have been so great. The first printing of the first trade sold out in just a few months, much to the delight and surprise of everyone at DC. They’ve already gone to a second printing on that.-Scalped writer Jason Aaron
There’s a lot of conventional wisdom that suggests that things like the Minx and Vertigo books sell oodles and oodles better in the bookstore market than the do in the DM, but I have to tell you, now that I’m looking at the “full” BookScan list, I can guarantee you that this is simply false. Now that I can see into the Long Tail, what I can tell you is that, while the bookstore market can (potentially) sell more copies of the “top” of the “bookstore-oriented” material, on anything else the DM beats them handily.-comics retailer Brian Hibbs
Here’s just one example: none of the three American Virgin trades charted more than 400 copies sold on BookScan; we can pretty definitively state that each of those three sold at least 2000 copies in the DM (because their first month, alone, sold-in more copies than that) Many many Vertigo titles are selling 3-5x as many copies in the DM, as they did through BookScan.
Now, of course, the DM and BookScan accounts are not the grand total of all venues possible – there are also library sales, book clubs, academic sales, and probably another dozen channels that I’m not thinking of – it is entirely possible that these works could be doing gangbusters in those channels, and we’ll never have any way of knowing, but I can state, pretty unequivocally, when it comes to comparing the two primary retail sales channels, the DM is absolutely selling more copies of most Western-originated comics. It isn’t even close.