HARLEY QUINN #1 Sells Nearly 400k; More August 2016 Sales Estimates and Comparisons

"Harley Quinn #1" preview
Credit: DC Comics

The following is republished courtesy and with the persmission of Comichron

by John Jackson Miller

The August 2016 sales estimates are now online, marking a full 20 years that I've been doing the monthly sales reports, both here and in its previous incarnations. It's a whopper of a month, showing us some numbers that we haven't seen since back in the earliest days of my estimates. I'll get to some thoughts on the 20 years of reporting after we get to the usual business, which is why most of you are here.

As reported here Friday, Diamond Comic Distributors shipped 10.26 million comic books to North American comics retailers in August; we now know that 9.36 million of them were of the Top 300 comics. That figure just edges out the highest figure seen in the Diamond Exclusive Era, 9.34 million copies from April 1997, the very first month in which all publishers' books were again carried by Diamond following the Exclusivity Wars of the mid-1990s. Those reports back in the day were of preorders, so the final orders back then could have been higher — or not, as the lists then included many titles that didn't ship on time in the month.

As we know the total number of comics Diamond shipped for the first time this month, we can say that the Top 300 comics represented 91.27% of all comics ordered. This is in line with our past analysis here, speculating on what the "bubbling-under" titles would add. Overall, Diamond has shipped 64.7 million comics in the year to date, about 50,000 copies more than the same period last year; 57.98 million of those comics were in the Top 300s of their individual months, so the percentage there is again nearly 90%. The Top 300, thus, captures most but not all of the action.

DC's returnable Rebirth titles led the charts; ten of the eleven books over 100,000 copies were DCs. Given the 10% reductions Diamond preemptively makes for returnability, odds are there really were 15 titles in six figures.Harley Quinn #1 was #1 with nearly 360,000 comics shipped; that comes in just behind Marvel's Civil War II #1 as the year's single-month best-seller, but again, given the reduction, it's really more likely that the number of Harley copies shipped to North American retailers was around 396,000, making it the year's leader. We'll see where things shake out with the end of year report in January.

The aggregate changes follow. As you'll see, I've added rows for the overall number of comics sold monthly:


TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
August 2016: 9.36 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +43%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +51%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +27%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +57%
YEAR TO DATE: 57.98 million copies, -1% vs. 2015, +31% vs. 2011, +7% vs. 2006, +36% vs. 2001

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
August 2016: 10.26 million copies 
August 2016 versus one year ago this month: +44.02%
YEAR TO DATE: 64.7 million copies, +0.06% vs. 2015


TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES

August 2016: $34.16 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +37%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +59%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +49%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +109%
YEAR TO DATE: $224.9 million, -2% vs. 2015, +47% vs. 2011, +35% vs. 2006, +93% vs. 2001

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
August 2016 versus one year ago this month: +44.58%YEAR TO DATE: +2.66% 


TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES

August 2016: $7.55 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +4% 
Versus 5 years ago this month: +19%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -4%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: -15% 
YEAR TO DATE: $63.5 million, +8% vs. 2015

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
August 2016 versus one year ago this month: +5.53%
 YEAR TO DATE: +2.81%


TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES

August 2016: $41.71 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +29%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +39%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +23%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +109%
YEAR TO DATE: $287.78 million, unchanged vs. 2015

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
August 2016 versus one year ago this month: +31.62%
YEAR TO DATE: +2.71%


OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)

August 2016: approximately $57.66 million (subject to revision) 
Versus 1 year ago this month: +32% 
Versus 5 years ago this month: +52%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +54%
YEAR TO DATE: $388.35 million, +3% vs. 2015

RELEASES
New comic books released: 517
New graphic novels released: 293
New magazines released: 28
All new releases: 838

The average price of all comics offered in the Top 300 was $3.92, but the weighted price — basically, dollars divided by units — was $3.65, the lowest figure we've seen since August 2013. That's because of all the $2.99 DC books; the average price of comics in the Top 25 was $3.19, the lowest we've seen in many more years. The median and most common comics price was still $3.99.

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: KenobiOverdraft: The Orion Offensive, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. His trilogy for 2016,Star Trek: Prey, ships in consecutive months in SeptemberOctober, and November.

Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron onTwitter and Facebook.


Original story 9/16/16: You know something is different (in a good way) when Diamond Comic Distributors - who normally favors reporting percentages and is historically coy about precise numbers - eschews standard practices in reporting its monthly Direct Market sales figures.

On Friday morning Diamond broke precedent, announcing it shipped over 10 million "non-promotional" comic books to comic book shops in August 2016, the first time this mark has been achieved "in nearly twenty years."

Credit: DC Comics

Topped by Harley Quinn #1 and 9 of the Top 10 titles and "powered" by DC's Rebirth in Diamond's own words, retailers purchased 10.26m comic book units in August.

According to independent sales tracking by Comichron, the last time it can verify more comic book units were sold to the Direct Market was December 1996, when a combination of Diamond and Marvel's Heroes World sold 10.29m comic book units in the Top 300 alone. 

For the second month in a row, DC of course topped both market share categories. DC led with 39.27% dollar share to Marvel's 30.78%, and 44.59% unit share to Marvel's 31.11%.

According to Comichron, however, this is not just a repeat of the early months of DC's "New 52" in late 2011. "Sales levels are quite a lot higher than at the corresponding time in the 2011 DC reboot," reports Comichron's John Jackson Miller.

Miller goes on to explain that retailer cash flow was poor in 2011, due to what was then a three-year-old downward sales trend, putting a cap on how much retailers could invest in preorders. 

"2016's event, meanwhile, jumps off from a superior position in terms of how much money is in the business. Add DC's returnability offer and its choice to stagger the release of new launches, and the current relaunch gets both a higher ceiling and a chance to possible have more durable long-term effects."

On the issue of returnability, all DC Rebirth titles sold to retailers are returnable, and Diamond reduces sales figures in its sales charts by what Newsarama can verify is 10% to account for possible future returns. But Diamond does not seem to be factoring possible returns in their 10.26m figure. However, Comichron has recently verified that the median returnable book improves on its reported sales levels, not decreases it. 

Credit: Kaare Andrews (Marvel Comics)

The top graphic novel sold to retailers in August was Marvel's Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 3: The Shu Torun War.

Keeping in mind August 2016 had five ship weeks versus August 2015's four, comic book sales were up a whopping 44.58% over last year and overall sales including graphic novels were up 31.62%. The huge month has now pushed year-to-date 2016 sales ahead of 2015, with this year's sales up overall 2.71% in dollar sales over last year, although just a scant 0.14% in unit sales. 

But with more Rebirth and a line-wide slate of new Marvel relaunches to come in the next few months, 2016 is at least now in position to keep the now four-year Direct Market growth trend going for a fifth year. 

The August 2016 Market ShareComparative Sales Data, and New Titles Shipped charts, along with Top 10 Comic Books and Top 10 Graphic Novels charts follow below.


TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

RETAIL MARKET SHARE

PUBLISHER

SHARE

DC ENTERTAINMENT

39.27%

MARVEL COMICS

30.78%

IMAGE COMICS

7.66%

IDW PUBLISHING

4.92%

DARK HORSE COMICS

3.08%

BOOM! STUDIOS

1.98%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

1.57%

TITAN COMICS

1.19%

VIZ MEDIA

1.14%

ONI PRESS

0.83%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

7.58%

 

UNIT MARKET SHARE

PUBLISHER

SHARE

DC ENTERTAINMENT

44.59%

MARVEL COMICS

32.11%

IMAGE COMICS

7.78%

IDW PUBLISHING

3.53%

DARK HORSE COMICS

2.28%

BOOM! STUDIOS

1.57%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

1.14%

TITAN COMICS

1.09%

VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT

0.88%

ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS

0.64%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

4.38%


COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

 

DOLLARS

UNITS

AUGUST 2016 VS. JULY 2016

COMICS

13.30%

8.28%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

16.50%

19.21%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

14.13%

8.95%

AUGUST 2016 VS. AUGUST 2015

COMICS

44.58%

44.02%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

5.53%

7.15%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

31.62%

40.77%

YEAR-TO-DATE 2016 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2015

COMICS

2.66%

0.06%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

2.81%

1.10%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

2.71%

0.14%

 

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER

COMICS SHIPPED

GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED

MAGAZINES SHIPPED

TOTAL SHIPPED

MARVEL COMICS

93

35

0

128

DC ENTERTAINMENT

75

33

1

109

IDW PUBLISHING

53

31

0

84

IMAGE COMICS

52

11

1

64

DARK HORSE COMICS

26

16

0

42

TITAN COMICS

20

10

2

32

BOOM! STUDIOS

22

8

0

30

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

22

6

0

28

VIZ MEDIA

0

24

0

24

ONI PRESS

10

2

0

12

OTHER NON-TOP 10

144

117

24

285

 

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

HARLEY QUINN #1 [*]

$2.99

DC

2

ALL-STAR BATMAN #1 [*]

$4.99

DC

3

SUICIDE SQUAD #1 [*]

$2.99

DC

4

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #16

$3.99

MAR

5

SUICIDE SQUAD REBIRTH #1 [*]

$2.99

DC

6

BATMAN #4 [*]

$2.99

DC

7

BATMAN #5 [*]

$2.99

DC

8

JUSTICE LEAGUE #2 [*]

$2.99

DC

9

HARLEY QUINN #2 [*]

$2.99

DC

10

SUPERGIRL REBIRTH #1 [*]

$2.99

DC


TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

STAR WARS: DARTH VADER VOL. 3: THE SHU TORUN WAR TP

$16.99

MAR

2

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE SPECIAL EDITION HC

$17.99

DC

3

BLACK PANTHER BOOK 1: NATION UNDER OUR FEET TP

$16.99

MAR

4

SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL VOL. 1: ISN'T IT BROMANTIC TP

$17.99

MAR

5

STAR WARS VOLUME 3: REBEL JAIL TP

$19.99

MAR

6

BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES HC

$24.99

DC

7

SAGA VOLUME 6 TP (MR)

$14.99

IMA

8

TEEN TITANS EARTH ONE VOLUME 2 HC

$22.99

DC

9

HARLEY QUINN BOOK AND MASK SET

$34.99

DC

10

HARLEY QUINN & THE SUICIDE SQUAD: AN ADULT COLORING BOOK TP

$15.99

DC


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