Newsarama has started a new columns by noted sales figure collector John Jackson Miller. there is much to absorb in his maiden outing, but here’s a snippet: then and now.
January 2008 sales are up over those of January 1998, a month from deep in the comics recession when the “dead quarter” very definitely lived up to its name.
Jan. 2008 final orders versus Jan. 1998 preorders (est.)
Top 300 units: +3% (7.18 million copies vs. 7 million copies)
Top 300 dollars: +34% ($22.33 million vs. $16.6 million)
Average cost of comics in the Top 300: +23% ($3.22 vs. $2.61)
Average cost of comics in the Top 300, weighted by orders: +31% ($3.11 vs. $2.38)
Most, but not all, of the difference in dollars represented by the Top 300 comes from the increase in cover prices. But the overall market is certainly larger today — Diamond did not release indexed trade paperback data for the month, but the category was certainly far smaller than it is now.