That said, I have to wonder at Heidi MacDonald’s just-linked post, where she attempts to beat me over the head with the fact that 300 landed at #18 on Publishers Weekly’s hardcover bestsellers list. And you can use this to measure against the sales of a paperback… how, exactly?
(Don’t get me wrong: It’s rare to see Heavily Networked Heidi taking a bold stance on anything, even if it’s only on the extent to which I suck. It’s a nice start, and I’d hate to discourage such behavior. Who knows? Perhaps one day, she’ll voice an opinion that might make one of her friends, industry colleagues or possible gossip sources frown a bit! One can only guess at the sort of interesting things she’d write after that happy day has dawned…)
I would be more impressed with Dirk’s salvo if he didn’t have 300’s ranking on the PW list wrong — it was #12 NOT #18 — and this week it’s #11.
I of all people know how many mistakes and typos you can make while late night blogging, but unless Dirk is one of those Monty Python types who automatically adds 6 to every number he says, his fighting technique this time out is pretty weak, and such sloppy reporting brings back my questions over his agenda. And this:
And you can use this to measure against the sales of a paperback… how, exactly?
was my EXACT point. While Bookscan is the most accurate gauge we have access to, it is not infallible. In fact, when it spits out results Dirk didn’t like, he was saying just the opposite
The dubious: Over at The Engine, Hibbs goes on to make claims that his presented figures simply cannot support. “Conclusion: for the most part, ‘art comix’ sell just as bad in the general bookstore market, as they do in the DM.” Don’t you believe it. Never mind that the portion of the bookstore market most likely to back non-genre works — independent bookstores — is the one most underrepresented by BookScan’s numbers. Likewise never mind the absence of Canada’s largest bookstore chain, Chapters (a significant market for Drawn & Quarterly, I’m led to believe), let alone the library market sum in toto. The real signifier that this claim is unsupportable comes from the simple fact that the bottom item on the list in question sold 4784 copies.
Never mind that independent bookstores are known in the actual publishing community as a weak source of sales for GNs. The facts go against Dirk’s Bold Stance, so they must be wrong!
The New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists were, until the advent of Bookscan, considered the bible of book sales. Both use different methods to arrive at their goals, and both are assumed to be a mix of magical juju and actual sales reporting. Are they as accurate? Not really. But they do represent publishing industry thinking, and any graphic novel landing on either of them is something to be noted and analyzed.
Both have different charts for hardcover and paperback sales. Now why is this? I suppose it’s because mass market paperbacks are generally racked separately. When trade paperbacks came along, they got their own sales charts. I’m sure much of the reason is so more publishers could have more bestsellers, but it’s also to differentiate them by price point, retail outlets and so on.
All of which is to say that Dark Horse was perfectly justified LAST WEEK in crowing over the fact that they had a bestselller. And Viz and Dark Horse should both go out there and talk about their bestselling books to book buyers and bookstore owners, librarians and even readers. I’m all for a critical reading of press releases (and we do it here on a regular basis) but you’d better get your facts straight or else it’s an agenda.
As for the last part of Dirk’s riposte, we’re always smiling on the outside and crying on the inside here at SBM. I *wish* all I got was frowns.