Units units units. Who’s got the units?
I’ll post the full charts in a bit, but the short version is August was a record setting month for Diamond, as they shipped 1o million units. I’ll let John Jackson Miller make the announcement:
Since 1998, Diamond Comic Distributors has never shipped more than 10 million comic books to comics ships in a single month. That changed in August, as DC‘s “Rebirth” resulted in shipments of 10.26 million comics to retailers in North America.
It’s the first time Diamond has ever revealed the full number of copies shipped in a single month; it previously has only announced a total for the entire year. (Last year’s overall total was 98 million copies.) As a result of August’s shipments, every category for 2016 has turned positive. Retailers ordered $57.66 million in comics and graphic novels in the month, up 31.62% — bringing the year’s total to $388.35 million, up nearly 3%. It’s a five-week month versus a four-week month this time out; there have been 35 shipping weeks in the year to date, versus 34 weeks at the same time last year.
Although the full number of units ordered monthly has not been previously released, Comichron estimates of the Top 300 comics shipped in the past make it possible to guess at the most recent time that shipments topped 10 million. We know that the Top 300 comics sold 10.29 million copies in December 1996, for example, but that comes from a combination of Marvel’s sales through Heroes World and Diamond’s sales of everything else. Marvel‘s return to Diamond in April 1997 resulted in orders of 9.34 million copies of the Top 300 comics; it’s possible that comics outside the Top 300 took that figure over 10 million, but it’s tougher to believe that it topped 10.26 million. There weren’t as many books beneath 300th place then, and lower-tier books were selling at levels a good deal lower back then.
Since the direct market is dying, it’s nice to go out on top.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.