Diamond put out their monthly sales index of the top 100 comics and graphic novels for May, numbers that I've been curious to see since May featured the beginning of two events and the finale of another. What we learn from looking at those charts is fairly dubious, but it does indicate a couple of things:

#1- Marvel and DC are going to be able to brag that they've sold ridiculous numbers of comics. Civil War #1 will almost definitely have the highest single issue sell-in of the year. That's due in large part to order incentive variants of both the 1:25 and 1:75 variety. Neat trick that, wherein some retailers order 5 to 10 times what they can actually sell because they have guaranteed sales on those variants to customers who will pay a premium. I know of several stores that ordered hundreds of copies because they had regulars who were willing to pay $75-100 for the variant covers. Those stores had paid for every copy they ordered just with the variants. Every regular issue they sold after that was pure profit. Which means that, while Civil War sold like crazy for us and many other stores, overall sell through was nowhere near 100% (or likely even the 85% that most stores require to actually make a reasonable profit on a single issue). Meanwhile DC's decision to offer the first 12 issues of 52 with limited returnability allowed most retailers (including MacGuffin) to order much larger numbers than we otherwise would have in an effort to find the title's sales ceiling. The "true" sell-in numbers for 52 can't really be known until retailers are allowed to return unsold copies and those are subtracted from these numbers. Those numbers should be much closer to the sell-through numbers of the industry than Civil War's, though.

#2- Devil's Due will be able to lay claim to having the number one sell-in graphic novel, even beating out perennial trade juggernaut Y: The Last Man. Nevermind the fact that Family Guy's classification as a graphic novel is completely arbitrary. It's price point is $1 higher than Batman: Year 100 which sold over 50% more units (Family Guy wouldn't have made the Top 100 comics). This is another title that has done well but its success will be blown out of proportion simply by manipulating the statistics.


Blogger jason @ RIOT said...

RIOT has only had a 38% sell-through on Civil War #1...but it was all profit after the first ten or twelve copies.

i cut my orders by 60% for #2 and my sell-through went up to 59%. this time (with the lower cover price), my profits began as soon as i sold the 3 variants. and #1 continues to sell 3-5 copies a week. it's a strange beast.

as far as 52 goes, i guessed close to perfectly on the first 6 issues and shouldn't have any returns. i like that.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Sam Hobart said...

Given the preorder you had for the variant covers, it makes perfect sense to order the way you did -- it just makes it seem at first glance as though Civil War actually sold a quarter of a million copies, when in reality probably a minimum of a third of those were subsidized by variant covers.

Our sell through on Civil War #1 is currently sitting at 87%, but we didn't have anyone ask for the variants (although strangely enough we had several new customers come in this past Wednesday looking for variants on #2) meanwhile with identical numbers on #1 & #2, we're already at 65% sell through on #2.

52 I completely missed on though, ordering at Infinite Crisis levels to be safe and coming in way over -- we're averaging just over 50% sell through on the first 4 issues (although the good news is that we're still getting people jumping on and buying complete sets -- we'll see how much longer that lasts).

2:01 PM  
Blogger jason @ RIOT said...

yeah...52 is strange. i've sold more of certain issues than others, with no discernible pattern.

just got a call from another local store. he's stopping by tomorrow to pick up some of my extras of Civil War #2...and he may be buying up to 50 copies of #1 as well.

THAT ought to help the sell-though percentages!

4:48 PM  

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