The October 2008 comics sales estimates are online at The Comics Chronicles (http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2008/2008-10.html) and the month turned out to be a record-setter month in a number of categories.
The Overall Comics, Trade Paperback, and Magazine sales figure set the highest mark since that category became trackable in 2003. The Top 300 Comics Dollar sales were the highest they’ve been since the beginning of the Diamond Exclusive era, in April 1997. Likewise, the same was true for the Top 300 Comics Plus Top 100 Trade Paperbacks (although only the Top 25 and then the Top 50 trades were reported up until a few years ago).
And the average cost and average weighted cost of new comics in the Diamond Top 300 is higher than at any time in the Diamond era, and almost certainly in the history of comics. The average cost of all comics in the Top 300 was $3.38 — and the weighted average, total dollars divided by total units, was $3.31. The Top 25 comics had an average price of $3.39, so the top of the list was particularly pricey.
The Top 300 Unit and Dollar sales and Top 300+100 TPB dollar sales remain off for the year, but by a lesser margin now. It is not impossible that these categories will completely catch up by the end of 2008, but we’d need to have a couple more record months. The gap in Top 300 Dollars for the year is $7.4 million, or 3%. But we’re up by $6 million in the Overall category, or 2%.
The "uncaptured" portion of sales — Overall Comics, Trades, and Magazines minus the dollars for the Top 300 Comics and Top 100 Trades — stood at $11.36 million, meaning the Trade Paperback total was in the neighborhood of $14-15 million. This gets trickier to estimate because the midlist has been pushed so far down the list, that the 300th place book had sales in the 4,000s. Only 23 publishers had titles in the Top 300.
TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
October 2008: 7.52 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +5%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +2%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +7%
YEAR TO DATE: 67.91 million copies, -5% vs. 2007
TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
October 2008: $24.9 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +9%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +16%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +33%
YEAR TO DATE: $218.26, -3% vs. 2007
TOP 100 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
October 2008: $5.79 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +4%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: +40%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +114%
YEAR TO DATE: $48.87 million, +4% vs. 2007
TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 100 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
October 2008: $30.69 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +8%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 50 TPBs: +19%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +38%
YEAR TO DATE: $267.48 million, -2% vs. 2007
OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
October 2008: $42.05 million ($47 million with UK)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +8%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +36%
YEAR TO DATE: $363.74 million, +2% vs. 2007
You can see comparison charts for the following months here:
FIVE YEARS AGO: http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2003/2003-10.html
Further back, October 1993’s #1 comic book is believed by The Comics Chronicles to have been Uncanny X-Men #307 — a split decision between Diamond and Capital, but newsstand and subscription copies put it in front. And October 1988’s top seller was likely Uncanny X-Men #241, part of the “Inferno” cross-over.
Charts tracking comics sales and market shares across time can be found here:
COMICS ORDERS: http://www.comichron.com/vitalstatistics/alltime.html
MARKET SHARES: http://www.comichron.com/vitalstatistics/marketshares.html
Writer of comics and books about comics, John Jackson Miller (http://www.farawaypress.com) has tracked comics sales figures for years. He’s developing an online archive for academic researchers at The Comics Chronicles (http://www.comichron.com), including a FAQ section and a forum for questions.