Looking at Diamond’s backlist charts

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 Looking at Diamonds backlist charts
Oh no, not more charts? Yes! This time it’s something we haven’t seen much talked about before: Diamond’s BACKlist charts. As all publishing watchers know, the backlist is where you live and die; it’s the retirement fund; it’s the guarantee. Diamond released their January Star System best sellers, and it’s quite interesting to look at, especially with all the changes coming to the distribution system. Let’s have a looksee, shall we?

JANUARY STAR SYSTEM BACKLIST TOP SELLERS

TOP 10 COMICS


VENDOR

DOLLAR SHARE
VENDOR UNIT SHARE
DC Comics 40.75% DC Comics 36.83%
Marvel Comics 22.16% Marvel Comics 20.03%
Dark Horse Comics 8.86% Dark Horse Comics 9.89%
Image Comics 5.97% VIZ LLC 9.30%
VIZ LLC 4.69% Image Comics 6.06%
IDW Publishing 1.31% TOKYOPOP 2.04%
TOKYOPOP 1.20% Random House 1.54%
Dynamite Entertainment -Dynamic Forces 1.20% IDW Publishing 1.16%
Random House 1.17% Dynamite Entertainment- Dynamic Forces 1.07%
Fantagraphics Books 1.15% Fantagraphics Books 0.98%
Other 11.54% Other 11.10%
TOTAL 100.00% TOTAL 100.00%






By contrast, here’s the January frontlist publishers chart. As you can see, it’s a complete reverse from the regular monthly chart, with DC dominating Marvel quite handily, and non-superhero publishers like Viz, Tokyopop, Random House, and Fantagraphics making their presence known. Here’s the Top Ten comics:


QTY RANK

RTL RANK

TITLE

PRICE

PUB

1

2

COURTNEY CRUMRIN/PRINCE OF NOWHERE

$5.95

ONI

2

1

PRO (MR)

$7.99

IMA

3

3

UNCLE SCROOGE #380

$7.99

GEM

4

4

JUSTICE LG OF AMERICA SUPER SPECT #1

$5.95

DC

5

8

WALT DISNEYS COMICS & STORIES #667

$6.95

GEM

6

5

EMILY THE STRANGE #2

$7.95

DAR

7

16

KABUKI #2 (MR)

$2.99

MAR

8

6

EMILY THE STRANGE #1

$7.95

DAR

9

19

KABUKI #1

$2.99

MAR

10

11

BATMAN GIANT BATMAN ANNUAL #1 FACS ED

$4.95

DC


No wonder Slave Labor is going to miss the pamphlet. Also, this is where the genre material lives: kids comics, goth comics, Kabuki. DC and Marvel don’t really make individual pamphlets available as backlist, so not too surprising not to see them here.

TOP 25 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

QTY RANK

RTL RANK


TITLE

PRICE

PUB

1

1

WATCHMEN TP

$19.99

DC

2

2

JOKER HC

$19.99

DC

3

3

RED PROPHET TALES/ALVIN MAKER PREM HC V. 01 BM ED

$19.99

MAR

4

4

WATCHMEN TP INTERNATIONAL EDITION

$19.99

DC

5

6

BATMAN THE KILLING JOKE SPECIAL ED HC

$17.99

DC

6

17

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 01 DAYS GONE BYE

$9.99

IMA

7

21

FABLES TP VOL 01 LEGENDS IN EXILE

$9.99

DC

8

7

BATMAN DARK KNIGHT RETURNS TP

$14.99

DC

9

18

WALKING DEAD TP V. 09 HERE WE REMAIN (MR)

$14.99

IMA

10

23

Y THE LAST MAN TP VOL 01 UNMANNED

$12.99

DC

11

24

WALKING DEAD TP V. 02 MILES BEHIND US (MR)

$12.99

IMA

12

14

FABLES TP VOL 11 WAR AND PIECES (MR)

$17.99

DC

13

10

BATMAN THE LONG HALLOWEEN TP

$19.99

DC

14

29

WALKING DEAD TP V. 03 SAFETY BEHIND BARS

$12.99

IMA

15

13

SANDMAN TP VOL 01 PRELUDES & NOCTURNES

$19.99

DC

16

32

FABLES TP VOL 02 ANIMAL FARM

$12.99

DC

17

25

WALKING DEAD TP V. 08 MADE TO SUFFER (MR)

$14.99

IMA

18

19

ARKHAM ASYLUM ANNIVERSARY ED SC (MR)

$17.99

DC

19

15

BOYS TP VOL 03 GOOD FOR THE SOUL (MR)

$19.99

DYN

20

65

100 BULLETS TP VOL 01 FIRST SHOT LAST CALL

$9.99

DC

21

28

BATMAN YEAR ONE DELUXE SC

$14.99

DC

22

9

CIVIL WAR TP

$24.99

MAR

23

44

Y THE LAST MAN TP VOL 02 CYCLES (MR)

$12.99

DC

24

45

WALKING DEAD TP V. 07 CALM BEFORE (MR)

$12.99

IMA

25

27

BTVS SEASON 8 TP V. 03 WOLVES AT THE GATE

$15.95

DAR

WATCHMEN topping a sales chart? You don’t say! What’s interesting about this list is that Marvel is kind of a non-starter. RED PROPHET TALES is one of those Dabel Brother adaptations of an Orson Scott Card fantasy novel. CIVIL WAR does show up, showing that sticking with McNiven for a consistent trade was the right idea, but upon reflection, Marvel doesn’t yet have the backlist depth that DC does. Marvel has the classic characters and runs, but they don’t translate as well into $19.99 paperbacks.

TOP 10 MANGA

QTY RANK

RTL RANK


TITLE

PRICE

PUB

1

2

LEGEND OF ZELDA GN VOL 02

$7.99

VIZ

2

5

DEATH NOTE TP VOL 01

$7.99

VIZ

3

7

NARUTO TP VOL 32

$7.95

VIZ

4

9

NARUTO TP VOL 31

$7.95

VIZ

5

4

FRUITS BASKET GN VOL 21

$9.99

TOK

6

11

DEATH NOTE TP VOL 02

$7.99

VIZ

7

14

BLEACH TP VOL 24

$7.95

VIZ

8

1

HELLSING TP VOL 09

$13.95

DAR

9

21

BLEACH TP VOL 01

$7.95

VIZ

10

22

NARUTO TP VOL 28

$7.95

VIZ

Not too many surprises here.

As always, it would be informative to see a deeper list on trades in particular, although one would expect it to match up closely with the Bookscan numbers.

 Looking at Diamonds backlist charts

Comments

  1. DC trumps Marvel here almost 10-to-1 in backlist sales. I’ll never understand the cries of “DC is doomed!” when Blue Beetle sells 10k copies. This is where they’re making their money.

  2. Actually, I think the really interesting part is that 6 of the top 25 are WALKING DEAD collections. Robert Kirkman = ch-ching!

  3. Matt D says:

    This is interesting as a novelty, but without more points of reference (unit numbers and sales over time), I’m not entirely sure how much or how little this means.

    BUT I’m curious to find out.

  4. Michael says:

    Ok, guess I’ll be the idiot and ask; what do you mean by backlist sales? It’s the first time I’ve heard of the term…any help would be appreciative.

  5. Synsidar says:

    Here’s an article, written for laymen, on publishers’ backlist sales.

    SRS

  6. Tim at More Fun Comics says:

    The interesting part I just noticed is that Marvel doesn’t technically have a TP in the top 20. The Tales of Alvin Maker book was given away to direct market retailers as part of a liquidation sale, a retailer who ordered certain titles would get copies of that book for free as a result. So that book being third on this list is deceptive of the reality.

  7. Jim SHeridan says:

    What it tells me is that Marvel needs its own VERTIGO-type line.

  8. chipsnopotatoes says:

    “By contrast, here’s the January frontlist publishers chart. As you can see, it’s a complete reverse from the regular monthly chart, with DC dominating Marvel quite handily”

    Sorry, was there some typo in this one? i clicked on the link and it’s the other way around – Marvel dominating DC.

    Anyway, very interesting site. I’ve always wanted to read about the behind the scenes work involved in producing comic books today.

    One question, do you have any posts as far as how dc or marvel conducts its market research in terms of which characters to push, which story arcs sell, etc?

  9. chipsnopotatoes says:

    “By contrast, here’s the January frontlist publishers chart. As you can see, it’s a complete reverse from the regular monthly chart, with DC dominating Marvel quite handily”

    Sorry, was there some typo in this one? i clicked on the link and it’s the other way around – Marvel dominating DC.

    Anyway, very interesting site. I’ve always wanted to read about the behind the scenes work involved in producing comic books today.

    One question, do you have any posts as far as how dc or marvel conducts its market research in terms of which characters to push, which story arcs sell, etc?

  10. Marvel’s best sellers in trade are Anita Blake and Dark Tower. Super-hero-wise… not much. The only backlist of Marvel which I have seen sell consistently were the Essential volumes. However, Marvel is aggressively issuing hardcover collections of classic material, so perhaps that backlist will sell. I suspect the Marvel digests sell, but that may not appear on a Diamond COMICS list, since most of those sales would be via Diamond BOOKS.

    Compare and contrast with Bookscan?

  11. link

Trackbacks

  1. [...] First, let’s take a look at sales trends in graphic novels.  Over in The Beat, Heidi MacDonald took a look at Diamond’s backlist for TPB’s.  What do we find?  Here’s the breakdown (throwing out Red Prophet, which was an incentive bonus): [...]

  2. […] been a while (5 years)  since we looked at Diamond’s monthly backlist chart, and now, as then, it reveals a VERY […]

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