Comics Sales to Comics Shops,
Graphs tabulating comic books and graphic novels bought by comics shops in North America in recent years
Diamond Comic Distributors, the sales agent for most North American comics publishers serving the comics shop "direct market," reports monthly market shares for its sales of comic books, trade paperbacks, and magazines Using those ratios and publisher information detailing the exact amounts Diamond sold, Comichron projects below the overall sales for recent months:
Estimated Overall Sales of Comic Books, Trade Paperbacks, and Magazines from Diamond Comic Distributors to Comics Shops in North America
As the calculation includes non-comics magazines, the true figure is slightly lower each month. Figures on this page are for recent months; click to see figures across the entire data set.
The above figures include several important components. Much of the comics industry's sales come from comic books in periodical form.
Diamond reports indexed unit sales for the comic books it sells to retailers. While it does not make the actual sales figures public, each month publishers provide analysts with issue counts ordered by those distributors, thus unlocking the entire sales chart. The chart below depicts that analysis across recent months:
Comic Books Ordered by Comics Shops in North America (in units)
The overall unit total is represented by the white line; the component portions represented by the top four publishers appear below. A dashed regression line indicates the general trend across the entire period.
The tabulations are not complete for each month in a couple of ways. Diamond only announces sales of its Top 300 comic books each month; while this accounts for the vast majority of new comic books, it also sells smaller numbers of other comics (including reorders of comics shipped in earlier months).
Diamond is also not the only distributor of comic books, although it ships the vast majority. Small reorder distributors such as Cold Cut and FM International have participated in the market — and Diamond's sales do not account for the comics sold returnably through the newsstand market. Again, though, the above figures account for most of the comic book units moving through the system.
By multiplying the number of units sold with the price of each individual comic book, we arrive at the dollars represented by the top-seller lists:
Comic Books Ordered by Comics Shops in North America (in dollars)
As this calculation is derived from the unit reports, it requires the same caveats.
Diamond also publishes indexed orders for its trade paperbacks — graphic novels and bound reprint collections of comic books. The dollar amounts represented by those sales appear here:
Trade Paperbacks Ordered by Comics Shops in North America (in dollars)
The dollars represented by trade paperbacks not on the list — that is, below 300th place — are now larger than the amount on the list; such is the size of the expanding backlist library. But the chart still provides a useful look into how the most popular trade paperbacks have fared over time.
Comichron does not provide a unit count chart for trades, as trades vary widely in price and overall dollars are more representative of the market's health.
Adding the Top 300 dollars lists seen above and the Top Trade Paperbacks yields the final grouping:
Top-Selling Comic Books and Trade Paperbacks Ordered by Comics Shops in North America (in dollars)
The difference between this grouping and the Overall chart at the top is the millions of dollars represented by the comics below 300th place, the trade paperbacks below 300th place, and magazines sold by Diamond.
These graphics are updated semiannually. For charts depicting the numbers to the beginning of the data set, click here.