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Comixology Sales Charts: The Terrifics Looks Like a Hit and Captain Marvel Tops a Big Marvel Sale (Week of 3/28/18)

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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 4/1) with the last issue we have print sales estimates for from the Comichron February chart, except for Doomsday Clock and Metal  which both last shipped in January.

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 two weeks, the chart had a large number of Marvel $0.99 discounted digital trade paperback collections on it.  This is starting to seem like a regular thing, but I suppose we should wait and see if there’s another batch of this week’s new digital tpb collections this Wednesday.   We’ll start with the chart of just the new single issues and then look at the chart with the sale items in it.

Comixology Rank Issue Previous Issue Print Sales Est. Previous Issue Diamond Rank
1 Doomsday Clock (2017-) Issue #4 157,714 1-Jan
2 Saga Issue #50 38,734 37
3 Dark Nights: Metal (2017-) Issue #6 149,076 2-Jan
4 Detective Comics (2016-) Issue #977 51,856 14
5 The Terrifics (2018-) Issue #2 45,493 20
6 Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #51 Digital First
7 The Flash (2016-) Issue #43 46,040 19
8 Avengers (2016-) Issue #686 39,486 32
9 Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps (2016-) Issue #41 28,340 69
10 Invincible Iron Man (2016-) Issue #598 30,242 61
11 Wonder Woman (2016-) Issue #43 35,572 46
12 Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2016-) Issue #18 30,398 60
13 X-Men Blue (2017-) Issue #24 35,062 49
14 Teen Titans (2016-) Issue #18 27,828 71
15 Jessica Jones (2016-) Issue #18 17,306 123
16 Black Panther (2016-) Issue #171 28,143 70
17 Daredevil (2015-) Issue #600 24,771 90
18 Trinity (2016-) Issue #20 23,503 95
19 Champions (2016-) Issue #18 18,570 117
20 Old Man Logan (2016-) Issue #37 37,227 41

Doomsday Clock, Saga and Metal are the top 3 books.  This isn’t a complete surprise, although Saga is really performing well to be sitting in between books that are probably selling around 150K print copies each.  Just how well, we need to wait and see the actual March estimates.  That’s the fiftieth issue of Saga, and anniversary numbers like that sometimes sell higher.  Still Saga‘s got a strong digital following, period.

The Terrifics brought back most of their digital audience for the second issue.  The first, you may recall, was ahead of that week’s issue of Detective.  This one is in between Detective and Flash.  You probably want to wait for the third issue to be sure, but this is smelling like a sustainable hit, relative to what kind of sales constitute a hit these days.  Possibly performing a little more strongly in digital, but it’s early enough that isn’t 100% clear.

Avengers continues to look like it’s probably performing like a ~40K seller.  It’s a little hard to peg weeklies a month later, but it doesn’t seem to be wavering on the digital chart.

From here on down, there are questions.  They start with the question of whether the #20 book on Comixology (Old Man Logan) is really under-performing in digital or everything above it is drastically over-performing.

Hal Jordan continues to be up, possibly due to the Zod storyline.  Invincible Iron Man looks to be performing a bit stronger, but that may well be the Bendis farewell tour in effect.  He certainly seems to have gotten a digital bump on his way out the door.  Doctor Aphra appears to be up.  Wonder Woman and X-Men Blue would seem to be about where you’d expect in relation to each other.  Teen Titans might or might not be up a little, depending on what’s going on with Old Man Logan.  That Bendis bounce is more pronounced with Jessica Jones.  Black Panther could be up or it could be right about where you’d expect it.  Ditto, Daredevil and Trinity, but Champions is likely over-performing a little in digital.

Outside of Saga, the things that look drastically higher in digital are the Bendis titles and Hal Jordan.

And then there’s the actual top 20 including the 99-cent sale.

1 Doomsday Clock (2017-) Issue #4
2 Saga Issue #50
3 Dark Nights: Metal (2017-) Issue #6
4 Captain Marvel: Carol Danvers – The Ms. Marvel Years Vol. 1
5 Detective Comics (2016-) Issue #977
6 Wolverine Epic Collection: Blood Debt
7 X-Men Gold Vol. 0 : Homecoming
8 New Mutants: Demon Bear
9 X-Men Gold Vol. 4: The Negative Zone War
10 The Terrifics (2018-) Issue #2
11 Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #51
12 The Flash (2016-) Issue #43
13 Avengers (2016-) Issue #686
14 Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps (2016-) Issue #41
15 Invincible Iron Man (2016-) Issue #598
16 Wonder Woman (2016-) Issue #43
17 Thor vs. Hulk: Champions of the Universe
18 Hulk: Visionaries – Peter David Vol. 5
19 Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2016-) Issue #18
20 X-Men Blue (2017-) Issue #24

So, that Captain/Ms. Marvel reprint collection?  It’s the 2006 Ms. Marvel comic.  Based on what it’s sandwiched between, it’s probably selling somewhere between 5K-15K digital copies.  Yes, there’s likely that much of a sales gap between Detective and Metal.  But do you really think that book was ordered anywhere near those levels in print by DM retailers?  I’m real curious to see what the March estimates say.

The next block of books, in between Detective and The Terrifics, are likely selling somewhere between 4500 – 5000 digital copies.  Interesting that the current X-Men Gold volume is the lowest seller of that initial group.  And that’s not really taking any Amazon/Kindle sales into account.

There’s a question of what’s found money and what’s cannibalization, but there’s no denying that 99 cent fire sale is moving a lot of digital tpb collections.

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

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi Todd,

    I just read your book, Economics of Digital Comics, 2014, and reading this column makes a lot more sense, now. Will you be releasing a new version any time soon?

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