The Great August Graphic Novel Collapse
The August 2010 sales estimates for graphic novels have come out over at ICV2, and the sales sure looked like they tanked. Take out the second month of Scott Pilgrim sales, the beneficiary of a film version being release and you’ve got an even more seriously sad looking top 20 sales column.
Over at Bleeding Cool, Rich Johnston suggests that the sales levels are fairly normal if you figure no “big ticket” books were released, especially compared with July’s debut of the new and final Scott Pilgrim volume, along with a new volume of Walking Dead and some Blackest Night releases. I asked Rich what he considered a big ticket item and thought 3,000 units was a reasonable number for that. There were a handful of titles fitting that description (Cinderella, Unwritten, Dark Tower), but certainly no blockbuster along the lines of a Walking Dead release.
In the interest of seeing how far the market has fallen, I pulled two set of numbers from the ICV2 graphic novel rankings from August 2009 through August 2010. Before the sales rankings for graphic novels were expanded to 300, the 100th bestselling graphic novel tended to hover around 1,000 copies, so I took the ranking of the comic selling ,1000 copies (or closest to it without going under) to check for the tail end of new releases or top of the backlist.
|Month||Sales Rank||Book||Sales Est.|
|August 09||115||STEPHEN COLBERTS TEK JANSEN HC||1,013|
|September 09||129||ABSOLUTE PROMETHEA HC VOL 01||1,004|
|October 09||98||SOUL EATER TP VOL 01||1,025|
|November 09||100||ALIEN LEGION OMNIBUS TP VOL 01||1,012|
|December 09||97||GUARDIANS OF GALAXY PREM HC VOL 03 WAR OF KINGS BK 02||1,014|
|January 10||79||CLEANERS TP VOL 01 ABSENT BODIES||1,013|
|February 10||89||AVENGERS KORVAC SAGA PREM HC||1,006|
|March 10||109||ROBIN ARCHIVES HC VOL 02||1,004|
|April 10||106||SCOTT PILGRIM GN VOL 03 INFINITE SADNESS||1,001|
|May 10||117||ARCHIE AMERICANA SER TP VOL 10 BEST OF 70S BOOK 2||1,006|
|June 10||137||X-BABIES TP STARS REBORN GN||1,004|
|July 10||99||AVENGERS SEARCH FOR SHE-HULK PREM HC||1,020|
|August 10||81||FABLES TP VOL 01 LEGENDS IN EXILE||1,016|
What we find, is that the sales level for a 1000-copy book is very nearly at its highest ranking in the last year, barely beat by January’s ranking of 79. This ought to be a good indicator that books were slow up and down the line. Were there really 18 more “big ticket books” in July, pushing the 1000-level down to 99? Actually, if you count 3,000 as the definition, you had 21 of them. Of course, down at the 1,000 level, you still have 6 volumes of Scott Pilgrim, 1 volume each of Blackest Night and Walking Dead that were “big ticket” in July. The so that’s 13 big tickets missing for an 18 drop. Call it a contributing factor.
Click below for the chart of books selling 2500 copies: