September Comic Book Sales Down 20% Vs. Last Year, 2015 3rd Q Down Vs. 2014

"Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1" first look
Credit: Marvel Comics
Credit: Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Republished with permission from Comichron.

The ordering slowdown for periodical comic books in advance of the Marvel relaunch continued in September, according to preliminary data released today by Diamond Comic Distributors.

Comic books dollar orders were down 19.6% year-to-year and graphic novel orders were up 12.5%, netting out to an overall drop of 10.7%. This, despite September 2015 having one more shipping week than the same month the previous year.

That said, September 2014 was nonetheless a very strong month, with Marvel launching its Death of Wolverine title and DC's orders boosted by its lenticular "Future's End" covers. Retailers ordered nearly $51 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines that month, as compared with the approximately $45.33 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines ordered this September.

As seen in one of the tables below, whereas the number of new graphic novels on offer rose substantially this September as expected with the fifth week, the number of new comics released barely changed, suggesting that publishers were trimming their periodical offerings as the market headed into autumn.

The third quarter of 2015 closed down 3% year-over-year, the first down quarter since the first quarter of 2014. It's also the first time the third quarter orders have been down year-over-year since 2010. Orders are still ahead for the year: September's orders bring the total for the first nine months of the year to $423.44 million, up 7.2%.

The comparative results for the month, quarter, and year:
 

COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

 

DOLLARS

UNITS

SEPTEMBER 2015 VS. AUGUST 2015

COMICS

0.89%

-1.10%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

8.71%

14.79%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

3.49%

0.30%

SEPTEMBER 2015 VS. SEPTEMBER 2014

COMICS

-19.62%

-20.15%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

12.51%

30.61%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-10.73%

-16.89%

YEAR-TO-DATE 2015 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2014

COMICS

7.21%

6.58%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

7.06%

8.48%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

7.16%

6.73%

THIRD QUARTER 2015 VS. SECOND QUARTER 2015

COMICS

-12.07%

-14.18%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-0.26%

1.14%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-8.49%

-12.94%

THIRD QUARTER 2015 VS. THIRD QUARTER 2014

COMICS

-8.08%

-10.07%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

9.32%

17.13%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-2.98%

-8.07%

 


Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1
, the first "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens" comic book, took the top spot on the comics top-seller list.

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

JOURNEY TO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: SHATTERED EMPIRE #1

$3.99

MAR

2

STAR WARS #9

$3.99

MAR

3

BATMAN #44

$4.99

DC

4

DEADPOOL VS. THANOS #1

$3.99

MAR

5

DARTH VADER #9

$3.99

MAR

6

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #5

$3.99

MAR

7

BATMAN ANNUAL #4

$4.99

DC

8

JUSTICE LEAGUE #44

$3.99

DC

9

THE WALKING DEAD #146 (MR)

$2.99

IMA

10

DEADPOOL VS. THANOS #2

$3.99

MAR


A new Saga volume helped graphic novels have a much better month, comparatively speaking, than the comics side of things did:

TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

SAGA VOLUME 5 TP (MR)

$14.99

IMA

2

DESCENDER VOLUME 1: TIN STARS TP (MR)

$9.99

IMA

3

BATMAN VOLUME 7: ENDGAME HC

$24.99

DC

4

CHRONONAUTS VOLUME 1 TP (MR)

$9.99

IMA

5

BATMAN VOLUME 6: GRAVEYARD SHIFT TP (N52)

$16.99

DC

6

AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER VOLUME 10: SMOKE & SHADOW PART 1 TP

$10.99

DAR

7

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD TP (MR)

$14.99

DC

8

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE SPECIAL EDITION HC

$17.99

DC

9

THE JOKER: ENDGAME HC

$29.99

DC

10

SAGA VOLUME 1 TP (MR)

$9.99

IMA

 

The order-of-finish in the market shares was identical on the dollar and unit sides for the top seven publishers:

 

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

RETAIL MARKET SHARE

PUBLISHER

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

32.67%

DC ENTERTAINMENT

26.01%

IMAGE COMICS

11.81%

IDW PUBLISHING

5.72%

DARK HORSE COMICS

4.42%

BOOM! STUDIOS

2.11%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

1.79%

AVATAR PRESS INC

1.55%

VIZ MEDIA

1.32%

TITAN COMICS

1.31%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

11.29%

 

UNIT MARKET SHARE

PUBLISHER

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

38.12%

DC ENTERTAINMENT

26.32%

IMAGE COMICS

12.07%

IDW PUBLISHING

4.84%

DARK HORSE COMICS

3.64%

BOOM! STUDIOS

2.08%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

1.80%

VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC

1.58%

TITAN COMICS

1.25%

AVATAR PRESS INC

1.19%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

7.12%


The number of new comics shipped was not appreciably higher than in September 2014, which is unusual considering the extra shipping week; 58 more graphic novels shipped last month than in the previous September.

 

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER

COMICS SHIPPED

GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED

MAGAZINES SHIPPED

TOTAL SHIPPED

MARVEL COMICS

80

23

0

103

DC ENTERTAINMENT

70

25

0

95

IMAGE COMICS

73

18

0

91

IDW PUBLISHING

42

20

0

62

DARK HORSE COMICS

29

26

0

55

BOOM ENTERTAINMENT

30

9

0

39

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

20

7

0

27

TITAN COMICS

11

12

3

26

VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC

10

5

0

15

ONI PRESS INC.

7

2

0

9

OTHER NON TOP 10

118

190

49

357

 

The detailed report with estimates can be found here next week. (And I can be found Saturday, Oct. 10, at the Madison (Wis.) Public Library main branch at 2 p.m., speaking as part of the Star Wars Reads Day literacy event.)


Comichron.com curator John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises.

He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn. New Dawn appears with a new Miller short story as part of the Rise of the Empire compendium, out October 6. His Star Trek: Prey trilogy is set for late 2016 release from Pocket Books.Visit his fiction site, and be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

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