Sales volumes in January tend to be lower than most months of the year, and as such, a single comic book can make a huge difference. Particularly when that comic book was the best-selling one in more than twenty years—as Star Wars #1 was, last January. Comic shop orders for comic books, graphic novels, and magazines in January 2016 were off 5% versus a year before according to Diamond Comic Distributors — but if Star Wars #1 hadn’t been in the mix in January 2015, sales would have been up 7%!
In truth, the market may really be slightly down, flat, or evenslightly up this month, because Star Wars #1’s sales included a lot of copies that went to Loot Crate, where Diamond was simply passing along the books; they shouldn’t really have counted toward the industry’s dollar sales, but there’s no way to easily excise them. But we know that retailers placed orders worth approximately $41.52 million last month, off about $2.2 million — and sources suggest Loot Crate’s order could have accounted for 400,000 copies or more. Figuring at $4.99 per issue, that’s at least $2 million right there.
And unit sales for comic books, off 4.09% for the month, are almost certainly up if you remove the Loot Crate Star Wars copies. So accounting for the accounting, so to speak, the message of the month is somewhat more positive than the numbers below suggest:
|JANUARY 2016 VS. DECEMBER 2015|
|JANUARY 2016 VS. JANUARY 2015|
It’s also worth noting that Dark Knight III took a break in January, to return with the third issue Feb. 24. Both this January and last January had four shipping weeks, so there’s at least a direct comparison there.
Regardless, remember our usual caveat: volumes in the first quarter are lower, and a modestly off January (which this one might not have really been!) can be erased by an October that’s even slightly up.
Image took the top comics slot with Walking Dead #150.
Walking Dead #150
Man Logan #1
Wars: Obi-Wan and Anakin #1
A pair of Star Wars graphic novels topped the book charts for the month, a list dominated by Marvel:
Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 2: Shadows and Secrets
Wars Vol. 2: Showdown on the Smugglers’ Moon
Your Own Deadpool
Secret Secret Wars
Zim Volume 1
Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder
Wars: Darth Vader Volume 1: Vader
The market shares found the same top five atop both charts:
|DOLLAR MARKET SHARE||UNIT MARKET SHARE|
|PUBLISHER||COMICS SHIPPED||GRAPHIC NOVELS
|MAGAZINES SHIPPED||TOTAL SHIPPED|
Comichron founder John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 25 years, including a decade editing the industry’s retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises.
He is the author of novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, Star Trek: Discovery – The Enterprise War, and his latest release, Star Trek: Discovery – Die Standing. Read more about them at his fiction site.
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