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The Long Tail Wags the Comics Dog in Feb.

Decline More Pronounced in Top 300

Published: 03/08/2011 01:16am
ICv2’s year-over-year analysis of the Top 300 comics for February shipped by Diamond Comic Distributors shows a much steeper decline than the overall numbers released by Diamond last week.  Even with 2011’s higher cover prices, sales of the Top 300 comics were down 3.77% from the same month in 2011, while sales of graphic novels were up less than 1%.  Diamond’s numbers, which include all comics and graphic novels (not just the Top 300) have comics’ dollars down just 1.7% and dollar sales of graphic novels up 6.92%. 
 
The difference between Diamond’s numbers and the ICv2’s calculation of the Top 300 indicates that there were considerable sales of comics below the Top 300 cutoff  in both the periodical (2860 copies) and graphic novels (295 copies). 
 
Sales of those “long tail” titles below the Top 300 masked a weakness at the top of the list.  Unit numbers at the top of both the periodical and graphic novel lists were some of the lowest since ICv2 has been tracking comic sales.  The effect of the low sales numbers was overcome on the graphic novel side by the high cover prices of a number of the most popular titles including the #1 book, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne ($29.99).  Eleven of the top 25 graphic novels had cover prices of $20 or more, which certainly helped.
 
Part of the “long tail” effect could have been the result of reorders on January titles, which retailers ordered very tightly.  The continuing decline in comic sales has made retailers extremely conservative in their ordering policies, which could explain a rise in reorder sales, most of which, unless they involve a reprint like Fantastic Four #587, tend to be small since most publishers are not printing a lot of extras either.
 
For an overview and analysis of comic sales in February, see "Top Tier Titles Weak in February."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during February, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--February 2011."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during February, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--February 2011."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during January, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--January 2011."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during January, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--January 2011."


For an overview and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in January, see "'Fantastic Four' #587 Dominates January Sales."  For an analysis of the dollar trends in January, see "Lack of Big Titles Hurts."

For our index to our reports on the top comic and graphic novel preorders for January 2000 through February 2011, see "ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 300 GNs Index."
 
 
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