In Commonwealth countries, the day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day, when servants and trades people were given boxes of gifts and bonuses by employers. In modern times, it is now a secular holiday, known in some parts of the world as the Second Christmas Day. Since it immediately follows Christmas, it long ago became the start of year-end clearances, and thus one of the biggest shopping days of the year. (When I worked on the front lines of retail, our Holiday season began the first Friday of November, and ended around the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, with the clearance sale tapering off into February.)
But now, with various devices which can access the Internet 24/7, another shopping day has become popular: Christmas Day. I don’t think anyone has coined a clever term yet, so I will: unBoxing Day. That is, specifically, the day people receive new electronic devices and gift cards, unbox them, and immediately go online to purchase content for those devices, which can include mp3 players, e-readers, tablets, laptops, cellphones, and computers.
- Apple iPads accounted for 7% of sales, iPhones had 6.4%, and Android devices 5%, meaning that 18.4% of all online sales were from mobile devices. This does not include apps and such from app stores, but people using these devices to shop other websites. Last year’s stake: 8.4%, an increase of 117.8 percent
- Online sales grew 16.4% compared to Christmas Day 2010.
- “Mega-Monday” sales also exceeded those of last year.
Back when Amazon announced their exclusive agreement with DC Comics, people wondered how popular these titles would be. Would e-book graphic novels sell? I knew the big wave of users wouldn’t hit until Christmas Day, when a lot of people would get Kindle Fires as presents. Last year saw a surge of web traffic on Christmas Day as people eagerly downloaded e-books to e-readers, and I expected this year, with even more viewing options available on Kindles and Nooks, to be even more hectic. Of course, Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble usually offer generalities when discussing sales and usage, so we won’t know for certain.
So, how are graphic novels selling on the Kindle Fire today?
Here’s the page. “Best Sellers in Comics & Graphic Novels”
Here’s a screen shot:
Since the resolution is gonna be awful, here are the top ten paid titles, with links from Amazon:
2. Ex-Heroes [Kindle Edition] ($2.99 , #1,817)
4. Batman: The Complete Hush [Kindle Edition] ($9.99 , #2,279)
5. Watchmen [Kindle Edition] ($9.99 , #2,501)
6. 1,000 Comic Books You Must Read [Kindle Edition] ($13.49 , #3,150)
7. Batman: The Long Halloween [Kindle Edition] ($9.99 , #3,572)
8. Superman Earth One [Kindle Edition] ($9.99 , #3,596)
9. Anabella Giggles All Night! (I Love Anabella) [Kindle Edition] ($2.99, #3,645)
10. Ex-Patriots (Ex-Heroes Book 2) [Kindle Edition] ($9.99 , #3,869)
The number one book?
A self-published children’s picture book. Written and drawn by a 14-year old girl. Telling a fun story enjoyed by parents and children. Outselling DC’s dark brooding bestsellers. Outselling Miller, Loeb, Lee, Moore, Straczynski, Gaiman, Willingham, Vaughan…
Ah… here it is! ☞☞☞
(Or, if you want a soundtrack, Cesar Romero hooting as the Joker.)
Sure, it’s only $0.99. But… it’s self-published. It’s a children’s picture book. It doesn’t have the marketing muscle (or the dedicated Amazon storefront) of DC Comics. No one in the comics industry knew about this title. A teen-age girl from nowhere, influenced by manga, is beating DC (and every other comics publisher) without hardly trying.
And, most important of all, she’s coming from the manga side of comics.
People have wondered about all those teenagers reading manga. Would they write and draw their own comics? Was it just a fad? How would that influx of new talent, some drawing since they were in grade school, affect the small press community? How would it affect the big publishers?
Well, here’s one answer. Rachel Yu has published nine titles in two years. She’s improving with every book, and she still has her high school career ahead of her. (Comics fans will remember another high school cartoonist who showed lots of promise.) She’s publishing her titles via Amazon’s CreateSpace and Amazon Digital Services, selling her titles direct to tablet owners. She’s having fun.
And… there are thousands of teenagers just like her. They’re making comics after school via the Comic Book Project. They’re making comics digitally, intuitively, copying their favorites (just like a lot of other comics professionals used to do in grade school), and making new stories, just like the comics circles in Japan making dōjinshis, and selling them cheaply. They’re raising the cartooning bar at art schools, entering with skills and talent not seen before. Will the U. S. see a Comiket-like event, drawing thousands of amateurs and hundreds of thousands of fans? Or will it just remain online, replicating the APA, mini-comic, and webcomic communities?
Will the “Twenteens” be the decade when digital comics explode, transforming the industry like graphic novels did in the “Aughties”? Time will tell, and I can’t wait to see what happens!
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!