Continuing our look at how the Comixology weekly sales in January compare with the Diamond estimates for print sales, here are Comixology’s Top 20 comics for the week of January 31th (measured on 2/4) compared with the January sales estimates for print.

Standard disclaimers apply: it’s not 100% clear what time period Comixology’s top sellers list covers, but it changes over weekly and reflects the new releases.  It’s not exactly the same as monthly sales, but it’s the measurement we have available to us.  One of the things that’s important to look at is whether the digital audience has slightly different buying habits than the print (Direct Market) audience.  When Comixology launched, the sales ranks were thought to be largely the same and many publishers have said that digital sales are 10-15% of print.  But is that still the case?

Comixology Rank Issue Previous Issue Print Sales Est. Previous Issue Diamond Rank
1 Dark Nights: Metal #5 149,076 2
2 The Flash Annual #1 44,946 27
3 Detective Comics Annual #1 44,882 28
4 Injustice 2 #43 Digital First Digital First
5 Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #5 46,689 23
6 Avengers #678 37,403 42
7 Invincible Iron Man #596 29,540 66
8 JLA/Doom Patrol Special #1 25,090 91
9 Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #16 30,365 63
10 Jean Grey #11 22,815 98
11 Jessica Jones #16 17,658 122
12 All-New Wolverine #30 24,933 92
13 Defenders #9 21,648 103
14 The Silencer #1 30,131 65
15 Old Man Logan #34 34,138 53
16 Deathstroke Annual #1 16,342 129
17 Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Digital First Digital First
18 Doomsday Clock 157,714 1
19 Astro City #50 9,179 186
20 Outcast #33 13,192 143

The most interesting thing about this week’s chart is a pair of high level holdovers from the previous week’s Top 20 chart.  At #17 this week is Critical Role, which was #2 the previous week.  At #18 is Doomsday Clock, which was #1 the previous week.  We don’t see consecutive top 20 appearances each week.  Part of that is probably the weekly buying habits of single issue readers and part of it is probably how Comixology’s promotes each week’s new releases.  Last week’s doesn’t get the same visibility.  Which is not to say an issue doesn’t sell past its week of initial release, but there does seem to be a big drop off.  For these two issues to hit the top 20 in consecutive weeks shows considerable reader interest.

Metal is the top seller?  No surprise there.

The annuals for Flash and Detective might be a little higher than expected or they might not.

The Young Animal event, launching with JLA/Doom Patrol Special appears to be up a little over it’s print position.

Invincible Iron Man might be over-performing a little in digital or it might be that Doctor Aphra is down a little in digital.  The print editions are less than 200 copies apart in orders and this is the sort of “two titles switching places in the sales order” thing that’s been said from the beginning of publishers discussing digital sales.

Once we get below Doctor Aphra, the chart starts to look like the aftermath of a game of 52 pickup.  The print numbers are so all over the place, it’s hard to get a sense of what’s over-performing vs. under-performing.  Two Bendis titles, Jessica Jones and Defenders are probably over-performing a little as Bendis starts to wind down his time at Marvel.  The Silencer and Old Man Logan are probably doing a little worse in digital.  Astro City most likely is having a bit of bump.

The lack of titles clustered near similar print numbers makes it difficult to get a clear sense for what the levels are.  Which is also to say, this week’s audience tastes may have deviated a bit more from the print sales distribution than other weeks.

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


  1. It’s impossible to say for sure without hard numbers but these lists seem to initially confirm both assumptions about online sales.

    1. It does reach outside the existing Direct Market audience. For example, Bendis-fans from 15 years ago who don’t read comics in general any more but still follow him.

    2. Digital sales are still a fraction of what happens in meat world. A “Deathstroke” annual coming in at #16? The only way something like that happens if if overall sales levels are so low that freak events like that can happen.


  2. Todd, what you refer to as “52 card pick up” might make a bit more sense once you start factoring in multiple covers of print issues which have NOTHING to do with # of readers…

  3. This has been really interesting, though if we could get actual numbers from both we would get a better idea on things overall & their health. It is encouraging to see such a huge variance on a number of titles. Also curious how Image’s direct from the publisher subscription service affects their numbers. That seems like a lot of effort on their part but any revenue stream for a publisher helps them, but how does it affect brick & motor? Will Diamond’s new order system help retailers (and what took so long?)? Does selling out on the racks forcing additional printings benefit the digital (safe guess yes, but how much)?

  4. Well that answers my previous question about whether an issue would repeat in a later week. Doomsday Clock and Critical Role seem to be on the list at a rank indicative of second week sale numbers – not cumulative sales total. Like Tim above, I suspect when a comic starts selling out in stores, digital sales probably get a boost. I know I have done that in certain cases when I couldn’t find a hit story on the shelf.

  5. Interesting as ever Todd.

    I tend to agree with Mike on size of market. The more I think about it the less I believe the 10-15% is accurate reflection of new comics. Take Dark Nights: Metal #5. Estimated sales of 149,076. So between 14,908 and 22,362 digital. As of today just 68 ratings. Meaning for every 219-328 people who bought the issue, only 1 person bothered rating it at the end. I just don’t believe such a small proportion of COMIC READERS would bother to rate; it comes up at the end of reading an issue!

    (I think Critical Role #4, with 496 ratings has the most ratings of that list).

    10-15% if accurate, must be referring to total sales which may be more akin to graphic novel sales in that there is a much longer tail and the backlist more important. I’m sure I’ve read on Comichron in the past that only about 50% of sales are books in top 300. I suspect Comixology sales are a big influence on the total.

    Just a thought: I wonder if Comixology lists by units or revenue. Until writing this post I hadn’t considered it anything but units, but do we know that?

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