September 2020 combined charts online, with unit estimates; orders up strongly from pre-shutdown levels

Last week, Diamond released its Top 500 lists, as well as its market shares — and between the two, plus our own research, we’ve been able to generate something we haven’t had here for six months: unit sales estimates for comics.

They appear first on the Diamond charts for September 2020 page, which preserves the structure and details like dollar rankings from the material published by Diamond. Then they also are fused with information from our already posted DC charts for September 2020 page to yield our Combined Charts for September 2020.

To be clear: Diamond has yet to resume publishing order index numbers, so the sales levels for each title are estimated by Comichron, using a variety of resources including information provided by publishers, a subset of actual retail orders, and features existing within Diamond’s released data, such as market shares and dollar-sales rankings. Thanks to that information, we’re reasonably sure that Diamond moved 5.6 million units of comics, graphic novels, and magazines in September, which represents an increase over March (once DC is removed) and a return to near-parity with the same month the year before (again, with DC removed). That’s very good, considering many fewer comics are being released. DC, for its part, appears to be beating its order levels from earlier this year handily thanks to the Batman titles.

You’ll note that the charts present a range of likely orders, from a low estimate to a high one. We’re confident most titles are between those two levels. The ranges are wider very high on the charts, where there’s less information to define a ceiling — and we also padded the ranges when it came to comics that have returnability reductions.

Make no mistake: these ranges are inferior in terms of accuracy to what we provided her for most of this century, and will remain so until we get order index numbers again. But our charts in the 1990s frankly could well have come with ranges themselves, as they, too, had a certain amount of variance expected. We’ve gotten more facts each month, so hopefully there’s more specificity to come.

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