For the week of 5/2/18, Walking Dead was the bestselling digital comic on Comixology charts, but an Avengers: Infinity War-related sale had an impact on the chart.
|Comixology Rank||Issue||Previous Issue Print Sales Est.||Previous Issue Diamond Rank|
|1||The Walking Dead Issue #179||74,828||11|
|2||Batman (2016-) Issue #46||91,649||8|
|3||Avengers (2018-) Issue #1||44,596||28|
|5||Action Comics Special (2018) Issue #1||51,534||19|
|6||Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #56||Digital First|
|7||Star Wars (2015-) Issue #47||52,408||17|
|8||Sex Criminals Issue #24||14,179*||139-Feb|
|9||Infinity Countdown (2018-) Issue #3 (of 5)||93,029||7|
|10||Spider-Man (2016-) Issue #240||24,911||83|
|11||East Of West Issue #37||13,794||144|
|12||Deathstroke (2016-) Issue #31||17,677||120|
|13||X-Men Gold (2017-) Issue #27||35,008||42|
|14||Nightwing (2016-) Issue #44||26,951||75|
|15||Captain America (2017-) Issue #701||35,112||40|
|17||Astonishing X-Men (2017-) Issue #11||31,577||51|
|18||Hunt For Wolverine: Weapon Lost (2018) Issue #1 (of 4)|
|19||Green Lanterns (2016-) Issue #46||24,780||85|
|20||Infinity War: Collected Edition||553||139|
This is not the simplest chart to read the tea leaves on. We have a number of special editions, sale items and first issues floating about. Walking Dead and Batman in the 1-2 slots is something we’re used to seeing. That Image A-list digital bump and Batman is the bestselling ongoing title in print. From here, things get a little unpredictable.
The next title up is Avengers #1. New series, new creators, so throw out the previous sales figures. Jason Aaron is the writer and this is _roughly_ where his Thor issues show up in digital, so perhaps that’s a guidepost? Figure if it’s more or less proportional to print sales, that first issue was getting bought at a clip that’s somewhere between 50K and 90K in print. Which is good sign. The print orders will likely be higher than that — variants and discount incentives — but digital is just readers and the first issue is performing better than most of Marvel’s line has been. Now it just has to retain readership and and answer the small question of how much above that 50K print equivalent the sales are? We can’t be sure from this chart.
Next we have that $3.99 copy of Infinity Gauntlet. Good price and it’s one of the main influences on Avengers: Infinity War, so no shock to see it charting for the second straight week. Figure it’s sold at least 5,000 downloads in the last week, perhaps as many as 8K-9K. A brisk clip.
Action Comics Special we can assume is likely somewhere around the sales level of Action #999 and this placement would be consistent with that. The Superman material usually sells a bit above Star Wars and that’s still consistent. And from there, the next guidepost we have is X-Men Gold in the #13 slot, so the next few titles are likely over performing, but there’s a bit of guess work as the exact magnitude.
Sex Criminals gets a drastic Image A-list digital bump. Infinity Countdown, we really need to see the 2nd issue sales estimates before we can guess at whether this is doing better or worse in digital for the 2nd issue. East of West gets that Image A-list bump, perhaps even more drastically than Sex Criminals. Deathstroke has a Batman-centric storyline which will likely be reflected in the print orders (or if not, then we can guess some print folks are finding it easier to locate the issue as digital).
Nightwing, sandwiched between X-Men Gold and Captain America is likely over-performing a bit, as usual.
Infinity, the other big influence on Avengers: Infinity War, pops up next as another sale book and is probably in the vicinity of 3,000-3,500 downloads for the week.
Astonishing X-Men shows up about where you’d expect it, but a Hunt for Wolverine #1 showing up below Astonishing X-Men? That’s disappointing. Maybe not surprising, given how Marvel might be over-extending that pseudo-event, but you’d like to think the return of (Middle Aged Man) Logan would be selling in digital higher than a 30K print clip.
Green Lanterns shows up about where you’d expect to see it and then Infinity War, the Starlin/Lim mini-series and not a film adaption, closes out the top 20 and likely generated something to order of 2,000-2,500 downloads.
So… a rare case of a Marvel movie moving comics.
Methodology and standard disclaimers:
The initial methodology is to compare the current issue on the Comixology top 20 chart (issues pulled the evening of 4/29) with the last issue we have print sales estimates for from the Comichron March chart, or in the case of Sex Criminals, February 2018 and both print format orders were combined. The digital TPB numbers listed were the orders for those in March, when they’d be backlist orders.
The conventional wisdom that’s been handed down over the last few years is that the digital audience has more of less the same reading habits as the Direct Market Print audience. I’ve had multiple publishers tell me that digital sales of new issues are roughly 10-15% of print sales and the titles more or less have the same proportional popularity in digital as in print. Maybe a couple titles switch places on the sales ranking list, but largely the same. The bestsellers on the newsstand were not always the same bestsellers as in the Direct Market, so it doesn’t seem like that should necessarily be the case with digital. There will be a little bit of mismatch because these are more weekly than monthly ranks and it isn’t clear exactly how Comixology defines the reporting periods, but if you look at comics sales, you learn to live with the data available.
Want to learn more about how comics publishing and digital comics work? Try Todd’s book, Economics of Digital Comics
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.