Retailer Brian Hibbs is back with a look at the swirling controversy over the state of the Direct Market and the health of the comics industry .
We’re still very much in the short-term phase as I write this as the fifth issues of the initial “Rebirth” series just come out, and we’re still at least a quarter, perhaps two, to see how the greater market ends up reacting over-all – but I can look at my own data and draw out a few initial suppositions.
Comics Experience owner Brian Hibbs has done his annual service to the industry byanalyzing the yearly graphic novels sales charts as reported to Bookscan. This is information people normally pay thousands of dollars for so it is technically leaked info, but while it’s there let’s take advantage of it. As Hibbs points out, these numbers do not reflect comics shops, indie bookstores, book fair or libraries, to name but four huge outlets for GN sales. So they are not complete. However they are a metric , and one that’s worth studying.
The other day we presented a story on long running SF comics shop Comix Experience and their plans to increase revenue in the face of the local rise in the minimum wage: a graphic novel book club that’s already had a positive response. It’s a serious issue for small business owners, and led to a lively comments section. I reached out to Hibbs to see if he had any comments on the comments and ever loquatious, he suggested an interview. The results can be read below.
Comis Experience has two locations, the iconic Divisidero St. shop just off Haight St. site of many famed signings by creators from Neil Gaiman to Warren Ellis and an early adapter of the grahpic novel movement; and a newer more superhero focused store on Ocean Ave. that Hibbs took over from a previous business last year. Hibbs has long been one of the most vocal comics retailers. His Tilting at Windmills column at CBR is must reading and the comics review blog he started Savage Critics is, unbelievably, still running after 10 years or so. I’m grateful for him to take the time to talk about issues that are sure to become more and more pressing around the country.
Brian Hibbs has posted his annual Bookscan analysis—charting actual sales of books that report to Nielsen’s Bookscan sales charts. while Bookscan numbers are not allowed to be broadcast, Hibbs uses a leaked list of the top graphic novels of 2014 to chart growth, sales and much more. For you clip’n’save types here’s the actual chart […]
Veteran Bay Area retailer Brian Hibbs, of Comix Experience, Savage Critics, and Tilting at Windmills fame just announced something pretty momentous: he’s acquired a second store by purchasing the assets of Comic Outpost, Hibbs will take over running the sore on Monday December 16th. ON a FB ppst he added, “I have nothing but good things to say about owner Gary Buechler, and I think that store is a great testament to his love and passion for comics! I’m going to work hard to match that passion.”
It’s my FAVORITE day of the year, when Brian Hibbs posts the year-end sales from bookstores via the Bookscan chart. Now we know these numbers are significantly low, but as I always say, they present a metric.
The huge take away? Well, we all knew The Waking Dead was a juggernaut,—sales in this franchise would have made it the #3 publisher all by itself—but after that it’s kids comics all the way, led by the maybe-comics of Dork Diaries, but following by Big Nate, Ninjago, Ursula Vernon’s Dragonbreath, Drama and so on.