Action and Avengers sit atop the Comixology bestseller list for the week of  8/22.

Comixology Rank Issue Previous Issue Print Sales Est. Previous Issue Diamond Rank
1 Action Comics (2016-) Issue #1002 79,327 12
2 Avengers (2018-) Issue #6 55,850 24
3 Darth Vader (2017-) Issue #20 48,201 34
4 Amazing Spider-Man (2018-) Issue #4 113,944 7
5 Justice League Dark (2018-) Issue #2 60,318 22
6 Detective Comics (2016-) Issue #987 51,750 29
7 The Flash (2016-) Issue #53 53,616 26
8 Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #72 Digital First
9 X-Men Red (2018-) Issue #7 36,808 42
10 West Coast Avengers (2018-) Issue #1 N/A
11 The Terrifics (2018-) Issue #7 24,736 81
12 Wonder Woman (2016-) Issue #53 50,901 31
13 Venom (2018-) Issue #5 51,914 21
14 Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2016-) Issue #23 26,657 72
15 Teen Titans (2016-) Issue #21 67,978 16
16 X-Men Gold (2017-) Issue #34 34,409 48
17 Hunt For Wolverine: Mystery In Madripoor (2018) Issue #4 (of 4) 29,655 59
18 Black Panther (2018-) Issue #3 34,891 41-JUN
19 Mr. and Mrs. X (2018-) Issue #2 71,396 15
20 The Punisher (2018-) Issue #1 N/A

The top of the chart is roughly what you’d expect to see, although most of these relaunches are new enough, we can’t be completely sure exactly what the magnitude of sales are in comparison to print until the current crop of relaunches settle out in a couple months.

Action Comics is first on the list and about all we can conclude is that it’s selling at a print equivalent of over 55K.  For all we know, it could be the equivalent of 70K, but there’s no upper bound to test it against.  Avengers is second on the list and it’s probably safe to slot it at the equivalent of 55K-ish.  That seems to be the equivalent level it’s finding in digital and it’s above Darth Vader.

Vader, the #3 book, seems to have taken on some attrition from the Diamond print orders, but seems to be hanging around in the same place on the Comixology charts.  If it’s taking a hit, it’s a hit of a smaller magnitude and it would seem to be selling like a ~54-55K book.

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Amazing Spider-Man is #4 on the chart and looks to be settling in as the equivalent of a mid-to-low 50Ks book, digitally.  This mid-50s space does seem to be roughly where Marvel’s been hitting a ceiling the last few years.

Justice League Dark stays above Detective  again, which would seem to be a big gain over the previous incarnation of the title.  So  another title in that mid-to-low 50Ks equivalency range.

Detective and Flash flip sales order base on the DM in previous months.  It was like that last time these titles cycled through, so it could be Detective‘s getting a small  bump with Bryan Hill’s short run or perhaps Flash is cooling off a tad post-“Flash War.”

Injustice follows in the #8 slot, which is usually roughly where the dividing line is for the print equivalent of 50K.  It is very likely that the first 7 titles on this weeks bestseller list are fairly close together in sales.

Following Injustice, things get rather murky and jumbled up, relative to print.

It seems like X-Men: Red might or might not be over-performing a little in digital and The Terrifics has a history of over-performing in digital.  Wonder Woman has had some sales bumps in print lately, but looks like it might be performing more like its pre-print bumps level of ~34K here.  With those landmarks in place, it would appear West Coast Avengers is performing somewhere in the print equivalency of 34K-40K.  That’s actually pretty good for this type of book, which could be over-performing in digital.

Venom, on the other hand, continues to be showing up drastically lower on the digital chart than in the print estimates.

Doctor Aphra is a title that might over-perform slightly in digital,  but not drastically, so its presence at  #14 raises some questions.  It gives us the impression that Teen Titans has come back down to earth and that X-Men Gold might be under-performing.  (Or perhaps “the honeymoon’s over” might be more appropriate in this case?)

Last week’s Hunt For Wolverine installment likely had a bit more attrition but is probably about where you’d expect to see a mid-to-high 20Ks print book appear.  This would seem to indicate that Black Panther, Mr. & Mrs. X and Punisher were behaving like mid-to-high 20Ks print titles (without the benefit of any variant covers or retailer incentives) and what would probably mean you can add Black Panther to the list of Marvel relaunches quickly reverting to their previous sales levels.

Methodology and standard disclaimers:

The initial methodology is to compare the current issue on the Comixology top 20 chart (issues pulled the evening of 8/26) with the last issue we have print sales estimates for from the Comichron July chart, with the exception of Black Panther, whose last issue was on the June chart.

The conventional wisdom that’s been handed down over the last few years is that he digital audience has more of less the same reading habits as the Direct Market Print audience.  I’ve had multiple publishers tell me that digital sales of new issues are roughly 10-15% of print sales and the titles more or less have the same proportional popularity in digital as in print.  Maybe a couple titles switch places on the sales ranking list, but largely the same.  The bestsellers on the newsstand were not always the same bestsellers as in the Direct Market, so it doesn’t seem like that should necessarily be the case with digital.  There will be a little bit of mismatch because these are more weekly than monthly ranks and it isn’t clear exactly how Comixology defines the reporting periods, but if you look at comics sales, you learn to live with the data available.

Want to learn more about how comics publishing and digital comics work?  Try Todd’s book, Economics of Digital Comics

5 COMMENTS

  1. “Venom, on the other hand, continues to be showing up drastically lower on the digital chart than in the print estimates.” It might be worth pointing out that speculators LOVE Donny Cates. They think he’s a goldmine waiting to happen. I’m sure there are plenty of fans who enjoy the story, but the rush we see at Challengers when there’s a first appearance of a new character is bonkers.

    So, yeah, I’d assume some of that difference between print and digital comes down to speculators vs readers.

  2. The most interesting part of this whole digital sales estimation, is seeing which titles are probably out of sync between digital and print. I’d be curious to see if there’s any predictive value of the estimates for the eventual print sales of an issue. Thanks for braving the sales estimates once again, Todd.

  3. Regarding print vs. digital…..could digital represent newer readers? Just thinking that I’ve been doing this for a while and I’ve never warmed to digital or trades.

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