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The Great Comixology/Marvel 99 Cent Sale Week 3: Did Captain Marvel Sell *10x* in Digital What Retailers Ordered In Print?

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Continuing our exploration of the Comixology/Amazon 99¢ Marvel sale and how it matches up with the DM’s orders.

You know the basic drill: we keep a watch on the Comixology charts each week, usually Sunday night.  After last month’s estimates comes out, we have the ability to go back and compare those ranks with actual print sales and get a rough picture of what’s selling in digital and what’s proportionally more popular in digital than it is in print.  And we’re going to take a stab at triangulating those 99¢ Marvel sales.

The common wisdom is that DC and Marvel sell roughly 10-15% of their print circulation in digital.  Most of that seems to come in the first week of sales, so I’m comfortable using 10% of the print circulation of the new issues on either side of these 99¢ digital tpb sale items as boundary markers.  The extra caveat is that is isn’t immediately clear how big these sales are on the Amazon/Kindle platform, so the total digital sales numbers might be a little low or they might be a lot bigger.  Take this as a cocktail napkin estimate on the sales, because you’ll see some of the sales gaps between issues are bigger than others, but there’s a basis for what should be a consistent comparison and, regardless, the discounted tpbs are selling neck in neck with the top 20 releases of the week.

So here’s the third week of this massive sale, the week of 3/28/18, data collected on 4/1/18.

First we’ll go for the full list with the discounted titles filled in.

1 Doomsday Clock (2017-) Issue #4 149,581 2
2 Saga Issue #50 45,546 26
3 Dark Nights: Metal (2017-) Issue #6 187,583 1
4 Captain Marvel: Carol Danvers – The Ms. Marvel Years Vol. 1 816* 99
5 Detective Comics (2016-) Issue #977 50,556 21
6 Wolverine Epic Collection: Blood Debt 823* 98
7 X-Men Gold Vol. 0 : Homecoming 904* 79
8 New Mutants: Demon Bear 1156* 51
9 X-Men Gold Vol. 4: The Negative Zone War 1937* 21
10 The Terrifics (2018-) Issue #2 34,525 43
11 Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #51 Digital First
12 The Flash (2016-) Issue #43 45,616 25
13 Avengers (2016-) Issue #686 44,596 28
14 Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps (2016-) Issue #41 28,291 68
15 Invincible Iron Man (2016-) Issue #598 31,717 50
16 Wonder Woman (2016-) Issue #43 35,043 41
17 Thor vs. Hulk: Champions of the Universe 1316* 42
18 Hulk: Visionaries – Peter David Vol. 5
19 Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2016-) Issue #18 29,742 59
20 X-Men Blue (2017-) Issue #24 32,045 48

Great googly moogly! How many copies did a rebranded reprint of the 2006 Ms. Marvel series sell?  On the upper boundary… that’s a tough one.  Metal got a bigger print order, but Doomsday Clock outsold it in digital (with Saga in between them, books selling 3x+ what Saga sells in print).  Maybe it’s 15,000?  14,000?  The lower boundary from Detective is the more predictable 5K.  So, boundaries of 5K – 15K?  That’s quite a range isn’t it?

Here’s the thing. Captain Marvel: Carol Danvers – The Ms. Marvel Years Vol. 1 was not anticipated to be a big seller in the DM.  816 copies is the initial DM orders estimate.  If 5000 copies were downloaded, that’s already over 6x the initial print orders.  If this sold 8K-9K copies like it seems like Spider-Men II probably did, then it could have had over 10x the number of initial DM print orders.  Any way you look at it, this one is a surprise with an above average multiplier for the digital sale.  Who knew?  Maybe Amazon had a formula that predicted a pent up demand?

Next we have a block of collected editions between Detective and The Terrifics.  This is a bit of a wildcard, as The Terrifics were only ordered in print at 34.5K, but are above The Flash and Injustice on the Comixology chart.  This strongly suggests The Terrifics is over-performing in digital and DC may have a minor hit on the hands whose second issue might have been under-ordered.  There’s always adjustment the first few issues.  This means we should probably use The Flash‘s number for the lower boundary and Wolverine through X-Men Gold, V. 3 were probably all selling in the 4600-5000 download range.

Wolverine was the lowest ordered in print of that group with a roughly 5.5x – 6x multiplier on the initial DM print orders.  X-Men GoldV. 3 was the highest ordered in print of that group with a multipler of roughly 2.4x – 2.6 on the initial DM print orders.

Further down the chart, Thor vs. Hulk: Champions of the Universe  and that week’s digital reissue of Peter David’s Hulk run (seems like that’s been dropping weekly) are bounded by Wonder Woman and a possibly slightly over-performing Doctor Aphra, so we’ll call the range a likely 3000 – 3500 downloads.  That would be a roughly 2.3x – 2.7x multipler on Thor Vs. Hulk over initial DM print orders.

And we’re seeing what seems to be a baseline of 2x-4x multipliers on print with occasional dramatic spikes on some titles.  Sales work.

Now for the chart of this week’s “new” issues without the sale books.

Comixology Rank Issue Previous Issue Print Sales Est. Previous Issue Diamond Rank
1 Doomsday Clock (2017-) Issue #4 149,581 2
2 Saga Issue #50 45,546 26
3 Dark Nights: Metal (2017-) Issue #6 187,583 1
4 Detective Comics (2016-) Issue #977 50,556 21
5 The Terrifics (2018-) Issue #2 34,525 43
6 Injustice 2 (2017-) Issue #51 Digital First
7 The Flash (2016-) Issue #43 45,616 25
8 Avengers (2016-) Issue #686 44,596 28
9 Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps (2016-) Issue #41 28,291 68
10 Invincible Iron Man (2016-) Issue #598 31,717 50
11 Wonder Woman (2016-) Issue #43 35,043 41
12 Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2016-) Issue #18 29,742 59
13 X-Men Blue (2017-) Issue #24 32,045 48
14 Teen Titans (2016-) Issue #18 27,289 73
15 Jessica Jones (2016-) Issue #18 17,553 122
16 Black Panther (2016-) Issue #171 24,304 90
17 Daredevil (2015-) Issue #600 67,100 12
18 Trinity (2016-) Issue #20 22,690 96
19 Champions (2016-) Issue #18 17,840 119
20 Old Man Logan (2016-) Issue #37 33,110 47

We’ve already talked about the top of the chart, but it’s worth noticing the likely Bendis Bump on Iron Man, which has been going on for pretty much all of the Bendis titles as his DC debut nears.  Down at #15Jessica Jones is showing up higher, too.

Daredevil is way down relative to print, but figure there are some variant cover incentives involved with an anniversary issue there.

Champions is likely slightly up, as YA titles often are, but Old Man Logan sure seems lower on the digital chart than it is on the print chart.

Come back after lunch and we’ll try to make sense of what’s going on with all these Comixology/Amazon sales.

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

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