Comics sales slip in Q1

t jg gm vaneta1 1 Comics sales slip in Q1
ICv2 has the March numbers and they are not great, prompting us to steal — for the first of what will doubtless be countless times — Vaneta Rogers’ photos of the Morrison/Jones duo. ICV2 continues:

Sales of comics to the direct market by Diamond Comic Distributors slipped 7% in the first quarter of 2008 vs. the year ago period, the first quarterly drop since Q4 of 2004, when comic sales were down 4%. Graphic novel sales were up 5% for the quarter, ameliorating the over-all decline to 5% for the quarter in combined comic and graphic novel dollars. Q1 2008 was also the first over-all decline since Q4 of 2004, when combined comic and graphic novel sales were down 3% vs. the year ago period.

March was the ugliest month of the quarter for comic sales, with a 15% drop in comic sales vs. March 2007. Graphic novels were up 4%, bringing the over-all annual rate of change to a positive 4% for the month.


The comparison is a WEE bit unfair, since last March was the month of the Captain America $26 insanity — but a drop in sales is still a drop in sales. More:

Periodical analysis
Top 300 comics
Top 100 graphic novels.

Comments

  1. I’d never noticed how much Grant Morrison looks like Dana White.

  2. Alan Coil says:

    It’s kinda hard to keep buying comics when your house is being re-possessed, and/or the price of food and gas keeps rising every week. Gas is $3.59 here, which isn’t the highest in the country, but Michigan’s unemployment rate is over 7%.

  3. brett says:

    “It’s kinda hard to keep buying comics when your house is being re-possessed, and/or the price of food and gas keeps rising every week. Gas is $3.59 here, which isn’t the highest in the country, but Michigan’s unemployment rate is over 7%.”

    Absolutely.

    And when the material being published isn’t anything to get too excited about, it makes it all the more easier for people to cut comics out of an already stretched out budget.

  4. Aah! Finally! PROOF that the industry is dying!

    Or maybe just an off month.

  5. Sales are down on this side of the border — in bookstores as well as comic shops — because the higher value of our dollar is driving down the Canadian cover price for books (though not fast enough for most customers!). Unit sales aren’t necessarily down, but when you compare sales figures from last year its hard not to feel a little glum.

  6. WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY LOOKING AT?

  7. Paul McEnery says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t they say that comics are down, but trades are up; and overall sales are up. So this is just a switch from one format to another, with an overall gain in profits, yes?

  8. Not quite. March 2008 is up from March 2007, but the first quarter of 2008 is down from 2007.

    Mind you, a case can be made that the release schedules in early 2007 were a lot more packed than the equivalent period in 2008 (it was the tail-end of CIVIL WAR), and the drop in monthly sales partly reflects which months the crossover happens to fall in this year.

  9. Torsten Adair says:

    One thing I overheard at the ICV2 conference: during the past four recessions, comicbooks have sold well.

    Most manga sells for under $10, which puts it in the same market as mass market paperbacks. Compared to fine art books (with similar production costs), graphic novels are a bargain.

    To paraphrase Freewheelin’ Franklin, “Books will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no books.”

  10. Comparing this March to last March, we had a much stronger product mix last year. We had the beginning of the Dark Tower series, the end of Civil War, Buffy and Captain America. It would be hard to match a month like that without the same type of products. The new Dark Tower series is not hitting the same numbers as the first series, and the rest of the titles have either finished or matured and settled down for numbers.

    I will be curious to see how this April compares to last year. Secret Invasion is off to a strong start and looks to be bigger than last year’s Planet Hulk.

  11. Consumer spending is down everywhere. It’s not just with comics.

  12. So it begins…

    …Paper Comic DeathWatch

    (psst – I actually just think it’s more like Paul says, so let’s see what April brings us.)

  13. The Comics Chronicles analysis of the charts should be up on Newsarama later in the week, as well as a look at the quarterly numbers across time there and on Comichron.com. I spoke with a number of publishers in New York about the softer quarter — as yet, no one seemed particularly nervous. This was regarded as The Dead Quarter until not too long ago.

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