Robot 6

Comics sales may have hit 20-year high of $715 million

walking dead compendium1Taking into account the Bookscan figures supplied last week by CBR columnist Brian Hibbs, numbers-cruncher John Jackson Miller estimates that print sales in North America of comic books and graphic novels reached $715 million in 2012, a high not seen since 1993 or 1994.

Miller breaks down his math, so there’s no great mystery as to how he arrived at that number: Bookscan tracks about 75 percent of bookstore sales. Add to that the rest of the book market, direct market sales of periodicals and graphic novels, and newsstand estimates, and voila. He acknowledges it’s a little rough, and doesn’t take into account graphic novel sales to libraries (or, clearly, the digital and U.K. markets); there’s also the big caveat, the rate of inflation that would put those 1993-1994 sales at about $1.1 billion in 2012.

Stills, it provides a fascinating snapshot of the state of the North American comics market last year, which grew by about $35 million from 2011.

Jackson also singles out another interesting number: “For what I think may be the first time in years, the Direct Market’s graphic novel dollar orders exceeded the value of the Bookscan orders (but not the entire mass market). I attribute it at least in part to the huge traffic in Walking Dead trades: comics shops ordered at least 74,000 copies of the first volume in 2012, versus 38,000 copies through Bookscan’s retailers. That’s a big difference.”

His analysis is well worth reading, providing a solid companion piece to Hibbs’ lengthy Bookscan article.



Great to see comics doing so well. Comics are better that T.V, the movies, or that stupid internet stuff on youtube.

It’s better than all that!

I think The Walking Dead is really helping the comics industry, especially with the TV show drawing people into reading the comics. I’m really glad to see comics doing so well. It can be a really niche hobby, so I’m glad the industry is getting better.

I agree, comics should do well and I think varying genre’s and graphic novels (both original and tpbs) being in bookstores are helping and should continue to do so.

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