April sales up a bit

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John Jackson Miller has posted his April 2008 sales estimates via Diamond. Jackson relates that although several categories were down, over all backlist propelled sales over a year ago:

Overall, the comics industry fared better against last April — but only overall. Comparatives in the narrower categories remain slightly down, even considering this April had five ship weeks (versus four last year). But the backlist strength bumped the overall category up 6% this month — with the year-to-date now ahead by nearly $1 million, or 1%.

Comments

  1. Hmm, was just thinking about something… Diamond has pretty much cornered the comic distribution system, and seems to be able to make a profit from it.
    I wonder if they have ever considered entering the retail market, with their own national chain of retail comic shops? (They could gain from brand recognition, vertical integration and all that…)

  2. Just for a frame of reference, the largest chain in comics history to my recollection was Dream Factory/Moondog’s — I seem to recall that one topped out at 22 stores in eight states in 1994, in the aftermath of the comics crash, but someone may have the actual numbers. I don’t know how many kiosks TeknoComix had at the peak — not sure how we’d count those.

  3. Torsten Adair says:

    Diamond (or maybe just a separate business run by Geppi) DID have a chain of retail shops, in the Baltimore area, during the mid-1990s. The most visible store was located in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, near the National Aquarium.

    Diamond does not have brand recognition outside of comicbook fans. Even with comicbook fans, most don’t really care where the comics come from, so long as they arrive every Wednesday.

    If Diamond opened a chain, two problems arise: retailer backlash, with some taking their business to other distributors (such as Baker & Taylor or Ingram); anti-trust investigations, as Diamond has been sued over its exclusive distribution agreements (settled out of court). (A similar situation happened when Barnes & Noble once considered buying Ingram a few years ago.)

    In my opinion, comicbook stores are not a viable chain possibility. Instead, one should create a Pop Culture store, featuring comics, games, t-shirts, toys, DVDs, books, etc. Install a POS system, and offer to special order any item (to keep your inventory low and minimize risk).

  4. Not sure when Diamond specifically was sued over its exclusives — there was an inquiry which was closed with no action (check Chuck Rozanski’s old columns about that).

    I do remember actions against Marvel in the wake of its Heroes World purchase — one by Ross Rojek, another by Capital City. If I recall correctly the Capital City action was under a Wisconsin law covering the amount of notice required in interrupting an existing business relationship; the result was Capital got to carry Marvel products two months after it had withdrawn service from other distributors in the summer of 1995.

    I believe Geppi’s Comic World was organized separately from Diamond, as was the AnotherUniverse operation later purchased. There were retailer complaints nonetheless on the latter, filling a number of trade magazine pages.

  5. Alan Coil says:

    Heroes World actually had a chain of shops. There was one in Michigan (at Appleton Square?…it’s been gone for a loonng time). It was in a western suburb, within a few miles of where the Motor City Comic Con is held.

  6. Somebody says:

    Are we ever going to see the Marvel & DC columns for this month?

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