Okay, just a few after dinner cordials as we close the books on the annual Imbolc rituals:

§ Peerless Peggy Burns of D&Q has the last word on the indie sales matter, by pointing out that comparing apples to sea scallops makes no sense whatsoever:

Bookscan doesn’t provide an accurate report, but it can be helpful in gauging where our sales lie in relation to other publishers. I use it the same way I use an Amazon ranking — very loosely. I admit to logging in every Wednesday to see our previous week’s numbers. I don’t look to see how our books are performing against Naruto or Wimpy Kid, I look to see how our books perform among our distributor FSG’s titles, and I look to see how our books perform compared to our closest publishing peer, McSweeneys, and to make sure our books perform as well as the majority of Pantheon’s graphic novels (Maus and Persepolis are in their own league, of course.) When I see that Bookscan says that Lynda Barry’s What It Is has comparable numbers to Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends for McSweeneys, I am happy.

Anyone who has read the entire debate here should click on the link, as it’s must reading from a very informed viewpoint.

§ Marc-Oliver Frisch looks at the intertwined economic fortunes of trades and periodicals:

The question of Vertigo’s paperback sales is a classic absence-of-proof case for most series. There is no proof in the available numbers that (a) Vertigo series sell better in the book market than in the direct market or that (b) most current Vertigo series sell well anywhere at all. But just because the limited numbers we know don’t show it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not there, of course, which makes Hibbs’ statement problematic.

§ And finally, Dick Hyacinth has the most accurate assessment of all:

Note #1 about recent Bookscan conversations: I think the current debates reveal more about the rivalries and relationships between prominent comics bloggers than anything useful about the numbers themselves. This probably would have amused me more a few years ago.


  1. The ultimate determination of success is whether a publisher continues to survive and continues to publish certain writers and artists.

    If you can make a living doing what you love, writing and drawing what you want, all the more power to you.

  2. The point Peggy makes about the Tilting at Windmills book is a good one. I’m sure Hibbs knows the actual sales, it would be interesting to see how they measure up.

  3. Frankly, I’m shocked they are THAT high… I don’t think that’s been reflected in my royalty statements quite yet!

    (My last royalty statement, for 4th qtr 08 was for 2 [two] copies sold!)