For the week of 5/16/18, Batman ruled Comixology’s digital bestseller list, but Justice League: No Justice and Avengers held on to their audience. A positive sign.
|Comixology Rank||Issue||Previous Issue Print Sales Est.||Previous Issue Diamond Rank|
|1||Batman (2016-) Issue #47||96,448||7|
|2||Justice League: No Justice (2018-) Issue #2||43,423||31|
|3||Avengers (2018-) Issue #2||52,027||17|
|4||The Mighty Thor: At The Gates Of Valhalla Issue #1||56,632||15|
|5||Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #58||Digital First|
|6||The Wicked + The Divine Issue #36||10,584||170|
|7||Superman Special (2018) Issue #1||41,927||37|
|8||X-Men Red (2018-) Issue #4||56,531||16|
|9||The Wild Storm (2017-) Issue #13||16,821||124-March|
|10||X-Men: The Wedding Special (2018) Issue #1||N/A|
|11||New Challengers (2018-) Issue #1||N/A|
|12||All-New Wolverine (2015-) Issue #35||25,088||88|
|13||Rat Queens (2017-) Issue #9||8,750||186|
|14||Captain America (2017-) Issue #702||77,776||9|
|15||Hunt For Wolverine: Claws Of A Killer (2018) Issue #1 (of 4)||138,584*||4|
|16||Green Lanterns (2016-) Issue #47||24,173||96|
|17||Star Wars: Poe Dameron (2016-) Issue #27||23,760||98|
|18||The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman (2018-) Issue #4||28,209||73|
|19||Aquaman (2016-) Issue #36||23,594||101|
|20||Daredevil (2015-) Issue #602||30,153||67|
Batman is the top digital book of the week. Whether that’s expected or not probably depends on how big a title you expected Justice League: No Justice to be. If it’s selling less than Batman, it’s probably not selling as well as Metal. Or if it is, it’s taking more than one week to rack up those kind of numbers — that’s certainly possible. That said, it’s probably not fair to expect a Justice League title to sell like the flagship Batman title. That hasn’t happened in quite a while.
How are Justice League and the relaunched Avengers selling on their second issues? Well, they’re not selling quite as well as Batman, so the upper boundary is the equivalent of… let’s call it 100K print copies. The #4 book is the epilogue to the Jane Foster Thor saga, so it creates a floor of around 56K. Except Jane Foster Thor tends to sell a little better in digital, so figure the equivalent print circulation floor is a little higher. Probably 60K-70K. Which is a good sign. Somewhere in the 60K-100K range is a big win for both publishers and those numbers aren’t easy to do. Assuming those numbers hold up and carry over to print once the variants are over. Issue #2 isn’t always definitive for long term sales, but a significant number of people held on for the second issues.
As usual, The Wicked & The Divine gets that big Image A-list digital bump. A book that sells around 10K in print, hobnobbing with books that sell 40K-50K in print? Oh, yes, it’s proportionally more popular in digital.
The Superman Special is likely over-performing, as X-Men: Red is about where you’d expect it to be, otherwise.
From here, we hit a patch that’s going to have to rely on some educated guesswork. The Wild Storm always over-performs in digital. The X-Men Wedding Special and New Challengers #1 don’t have a good frame of reference as first issues. All New Wolverine is one that tends to over-perform a little in digital and the first issue of it in April was ordered in at ~31.7K. Then we have Rat Queens which is seriously over-performing in digital. Finally we have Captain America, which if we throw out April’s larger orders for #700 and go back to March’s ~35.1K for #699, we probably have a better frame of reference. So New Challengers _probably_ debuted in digital in the print equivalent of a mid-to-high 30Ks readership. Not bad, not stellar and we’ll see where it goes with the second issue. It’s getting decent reviews.
The latest Hunt For Wolverine mini’s debut is next on the list. Yes, the April debuting one had over 100K worth of orders, but the digital audience (bereft of variants) isn’t having any of that. It’s selling the print equivalent of mid-30Ks at best, possibly high 20Ks.
From here on out, things start to look normal again. Brave and the Bold likely has a dip between issues 3 and 4, which isn’t uncommon and Daredevil may be performing a bit below April’s print orders, but prior to the anniversary issue, it was selling mid-20Ks in print and by those standards that’s about right.
Methodology and standard disclaimers:
The initial methodology is to compare the current issue on the Comixology top 20 chart (issues pulled the evening of 5/13) with the last issue we have print sales estimates for from the Comichron April chart, or in the case of The Wild Storm, the March estimates.
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.
Want to learn more about how comics publishing and digital comics work? Try Todd’s book, Economics of Digital Comics