Saturday, February 16, 2008

On Numbers

Things to keep in mind for the next DC sales column:
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.

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.
-comics retailer Brian Hibbs

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