Over at CBR, John Mayo does a monthly sales analysis which charts the ups and downs of sales trends. His report on the December figures cuts right to the chase:
A friend of mine is planning on opening up a comic book store in the near future and we had a recent exchange on the health of the comic book industry. His reasoning was that since the total sales of the top 300 comics have been trending up over the past few years, then the industry must be doing well. My monthly analysis focuses more on the sales trends of the individual titles over how the total sales of the top 300 comics and top 100 trades are doing. While the total sales do seem to be trending up, most individual titles are trending down. As a result, I’m not convinced that the industry is doing well.
Mayo’s column is as fine a primer on comics seeming downward sales spiral as we’ve seen. Over all sales are UP due to events and new #1’s and so on. But more books than ever are down.
In December 2007, the total of the advances was 30,618 units and the total of the declines was 507,048 units. That works out to an average of 1,530 units for each of the 20 advances and 2,654 units for each of the 191 declines. The net difference is a net decline of 476,430 units as compared to the previous issues of each individual title. Note that this is not the change in the total for the top 300 comics from the previous month. The total estimated sales for the top 300 comics in December 2007 was an estimated 7,024,971 units which was an increase of approximately 74,081 units from the estimated total of 6,950,890 units for the top 300 comics for November 2007.
This seems a bit confusing, but as Mayo points out, “They just measure different things.” Mayo goes over a lot of territory in his column, so you’d best go over and read the whole thing. What it does seem to point to (der) is the fact that regular creators on a regular book for a reliable reader experience is almost besides the point in today’s drop it like it’s hot market. Nothing will ever be the same again!