Friday, February 22, 2008

On Numbers: Update

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 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.


John Jackson Miller said...

As noted on Heidi's site, I suspect first-week February reorders entered the picture somehow. If Diamond reissues, I'll recalibrate -- but I'm wondering whether they'll do that. In any event, if the error is what I suspect, we might see February's numbers reflecting it in the opposite direction.

Reboot said...

Now there's been corrected charts issued, will there be January columns, or is it too late in the month/wait till the Feb nos come out now?

Marc-Oliver Frisch said...

The January columns should be up next week.