January 2009 raw sales: Big winter chill?

Diamond released its raw tables for January 2009 comics sales today, and while it will be a short time before I can run estimates, I have taken the interim step of posting the raw January data in the place where the final data will eventually appear. This includes the Order Index Numbers — and also includes on the left-hand side the elements which are complete: the Final Unit and Dollar Market Shares, as well as the Unit Count by publisher within the Top 300.

It is this last where the story of January may reside. I have only done some thumbnail estimates — and while they are too preliminary to post, my belief is that, the contribution of the Barack Obama Amazing Spider-Man aside, this appears to be a good-old-fashioned Bad January. Unit sales in the Top 300 could be off in the double-digits — with Top 300 dollars off by much less, but still off. It’s looking more like January 2006 than either of the past two years — and reminiscent of the older “Dead Quarter” years where the number or releases dropped in the winter. Marvel, which had placed 119 books in the Top 300 in December 2008, only had 92 entries this month, one less than DC. That drop of 27 entries tells the tale, I’d expect.

The final numbers may come in higher — I’m using partial data for my guesswork — but if you see units down by a considerably margin, don’t be surprised. The Obama issue may not have saved the month, but it appears to have kept a down month from being considerably worse.

Last note: As stated here earlier, Diamond has added an additional column this month to the trades, not just saying that an item is new, but stating which month the current edition of the item initially was released in. That column appears in my raw and final tables next to the title of the book.
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