Continuing our look at how the Comixology sales ranks relate to the Diamond print estimates, here’s how things looked last week.

The initial methodology is to compare the current issue on the Comixology top 20 chart (issues pulled the evening of 4/9) with the last issue we have print sales estimates for from the Comichron March chart, except for Sex Criminals, which last shipped in February… and is actually the numbers from it’s two editions combined and the sales position for the combined total estimated.  Matt and Chip just have to be different and we try to accommodate them.

The conventional wisdom that’s been handed down over the last few years is that the 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.

As was the case the last few weeks, the chart had a large number of Marvel $0.99 discounted digital trade paperback collections on it.  This is the new thing and we’ll see how long it lasts, regardless of whether the discount is initiated by Marvel or by Amazon/Comixology.  We’ll start with the chart of just the new single issues and then look at the chart with the sale items in it.

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Comixology Rank Issue Previous Issue Print Sales Est. Previous Issue Diamond Rank
1 The Walking Dead Issue #178 74,828 11
2 Batman (2016-) Issue #44 91,649 8
3 Batman: White Knight (2017-) Issue #7 75,396 10
4 Superman (2016-) Issue #44 42,291 32
5 Justice League (2016-) Issue #42 43,675 31
6 Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #52 Digital First
7 The Wicked + The Divine Issue #35 11,960 159
8 Star Wars (2015-) Issue #46 52,408 17
9 Amazing Spider-Man (2015-) Issue #798 128,189 3
10 Avengers (2016-) Issue #687 44,596 28
11 Sex Criminals Issue #23 14,179* 141*-Feb
12 Deathstroke (2016-) Issue #30 17,677 120
13 Marvel Two-In-One (2017-) Issue #5 29,021 63
14 Nightwing (2016-) Issue #42 26,951 75
15 X-Men Gold (2017-) Issue #25 35,008 42
16 Spider-Man (2016-) Issue #239 24,911 83
17 Astonishing X-Men (2017-) Issue #10 31,577 51
18 All-New Wolverine (2015-) Issue #33 27,586 72
19 Runaways (2017-) Issue #8 13,108 148
20 Green Lanterns (2016-) Issue #44 24,780 85

The top of the chart is what we often see.  Walking Dead selling a little proportionally better in digital, taking the top slot away from Batman.  Superman and Justice League charting a bit higher in digital than they do in print, followed by Injustice.  Then things start to get interesting.

The Wicked & The Divine is sitting around comics that sell 4x-5x it’s print circulation.  We’ve commented about how the Image A-list selling a higher percentage of their print circulation, but W&D may be the A-list title that takes this to the biggest extreme.

It’s sitting above Star Wars on the chart, and Star Wars usually sits in a place in the chart where you’re not sure if it under-performs a little in digital  or Superman and Justice League really over-perform?  If you wanted to put a number on W&D, it’s not an easy thing because of that over/under question with the titles around it.  But you’d probably guess at something in the vicinity of 5K downloads.  on a ~12K circulation comic.  So where we normally expect the digital sales to be ~10-15% of print, W&D appears to be more like 40%.  And perhaps they have a drastically higher UK print sales total, which wouldn’t be accounted for on the Diamond charts and evens out the digital percentage… but however you get there, it’s performing pretty darn well relative to the US print circulation.

And from here on down, the chart gets interesting.  Amazing Spider-Man has blown up on the print side and a lot of it seems to involve speculative buying around the debut of the Red Goblin.  In digital, Amazing is showing up more or less where you’d expect it to from before this story arc started.  Which lends some credence to the suggestion print sales are being speculator-driven, though my impression is that it’s selling through for retailers, so no damage done.

It’s a little hard to put a number on Sex Criminal downloads, but it’s probably sitting around books that sold 2.5x-3x what it did in print.

Deathstroke is way up, but it’s also starting an explicitly Batman arc, so the print edition may well be way up, too.

Around here, much as with Star Wars, we have a patch where we wonder how much is a few books over-performing in digital vs. the possibility X-Men Gold is under-performing.  Either way, Marvel Two-In-One and Nightwing are likely over-performing at least a little.

Likewise, Spider-Man is likely benefiting from the Bendis Bump as the last few issues of his various Marvel titles have gotten a bit more attention.

Finally, Runaways is charting with books selling roughly double the amount of print comics.  A young adult title with a TV show performing better in digital?  Not a shock here.

And then there’s the list with the Marvel 99 cent sale books in it:

1 The Walking Dead Issue #178 74,828 11
2 Batman (2016-) Issue #44 91,649 8
3 Thanos: The Infinity Siblings
4 X-Men: Grand Design
5 Batman: White Knight (2017-) Issue #7 75,396 10
6 X-Men: Legionquest
7 Star Wars Vol. 7: The Ashes of Jedha
8 Superman (2016-) Issue #44 42,291 32
9 Justice League (2016-) Issue #42 43,675 31
10 Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #52 Digital First
11 The Wicked + The Divine Issue #35 11,960 159
12 Star Wars (2015-) Issue #46 52,408 17
13 Amazing Spider-Man (2015-) Issue #798 128,189 3
14 Avengers (2016-) Issue #687 44,596 28
15 Hulk: Visionaries – Peter David Vol. 6
16 Sex Criminals Issue #23 14,179* 141*-Feb
17 Deathstroke (2016-) Issue #30 17,677 120
18 Marvel Two-In-One (2017-) Issue #5 29,021 63
19 Star Wars: A New Hope – The 40th Anniversary
20 Avengers: Mighty Origins

So… Thanos: The Infinity Siblings and X-Men: Grand Design?  It seems reasonable, based on the books around them, to estimate those sales in the 7K-9K download area.  Might be a little higher, might be a little lower, but most likely somewhere in that neighborhood.

Legionquest and the Star Wars digital tpb?  Probably the upper limit is around 7500 downloads.  The lower limit… might be 5K, might be 4200.  More likely around 5K.

The rest of the sale books fall in an area of the chart that likely has a lot of over-performing books, so we have to guess a bit more for the area.  Likely a range along the order of 3K-4400 downloads each?

There’s a very real question of how differently these downloads behave on the Amazon/Kindle side of the fence and how that effects the overall totals, but that’s how they fit into the big picture relative to Comixology.

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

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