Various talk about various charts and actual figures. You know the drill. Brian Wood posts his actual sales figures for some of his graphic novels in this Standard Attrition thread:
Aug 4th: Northlanders Vol 2 is released, with direct market orders of: 4,287 copies.
Sep 30th: My royalty sheet is tallied up and the total sales for the book as of that date is: 9,073 copies.
Northlanders vol. 1: 18783
DMZ vol. 2: 34,077
DMZ vol. 1: 57,515
Those numbers don’t include the foreign editions. DMZ is published in six languages other than English, up to the fifth volume in some of them.
Those are pretty impressive sales figures, and gives you some idea why the serialization-to-trade model still works for Vertigo even when the initial sales are low. Marc-Oliver Frisch and Wood get into this a little here.
§ The Nate Silver of comics, John Jackson Miller, looks at November sales and makes all kind of extremely educated observations — including the fact that direct market sales for 2009 will be down slightly from 2008 — but only slightly. In This Economy — and with the freefall of bookstores and magazines — this is pretty good news overall.
While the direct market is close to flat for the year versus 2008, it is up 32% versus 2004. What’s the role of inflation? The Consumer Price Index has increased 14.5% since 2004, meaning that either we’re selling more units in aggregate, or the average item sold is more expensive by a rate far exceeding inflation. Top 300 Comics unit sales are, as noted above, up 1% year to date versus the same period in 2004, whereas the dollar value of those comics is up 21%. The price of the average comic book retailers sold in 2009 is $3.42, as compared with $2.86 in 2004. That’s an increase of 19.5%. So it’s true that inflation is contributing to part of that increase — but not all. Increased trade paperback sales account for the rest of the jump versus 2004.
§ This is an old link, but we kept meaning to post it and finally have time to give it a bit of context. Graphic Novel Reporter posts The Independent Bookstore Comics and Graphic Works Bestseller List for November 2009. And this is interesting WHY? Well, indie bookstores have long been seen as a new sales frontier for graphic novels (contrary to what a lot of people seem to think, they haven’t been that big on comics until very recently) and looking at what sells in these shops gives some idea of what the habitual book buyer buys when they buy graphic novels.
1. The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb
2. Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth
3. The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks
5. Naruto, Volume 46
6. Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection
7. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation
8. A People’s History of American Empire: A Graphic Adaptation
9. What It Is
10. The Adventures of TinTin in the Land of the Soviets
This is a somewhat different product mix than one sees in either BookScan or Diamond, and shows why this is an area of further growth potential.