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March 05 2010

Buffy S8 still the best selling "indie" comic! ComicsBeat.com, Heidi MacDonald's new site, discusses Buffy comics sales figures. While the sales have been declining consistently since the beginning, the title is still selling some impressive numbers; around 47,000 copies sold in January. 25th overall is very impressive!

Angel comics are also doing well enough to be in the top 100 with just over 20,000 copies sold in Jan.

I think you looked at the wrong date. Just over 47,000 copies in January.
Thanks Kaan, you're right! Editing the post now...

88,474 in Jan 08
69,980 in Jan 09
47,013 in Jan 10
Three years ago every comic book in the top 10 was pushing over 90-100,000 copies. Times have really changed. Now you can go top ten with only 65,000 copies.
I also wonder if more readers are now deciding to wait for trades.
I would guess that the recession has hit the comic industry just like everything else.

Does anyone know what the numbers are for the TPB sales?
They still chart well from what I recall. Be interesting to see the sales of the TBPs for the bookshop chains, I think that's where the long term market lies.
It's hilarious that even the initial sales of the comic would have gotten it cancelled very quickly fifteen years ago.
I've always purchased the compilations. I borrow a friend's copy of the individuals to catch up.
They still chart well from what I recall. Be interesting to see the sales of the TBPs for the bookshop chains, I think that's where the long term market lies.

Reports of bookstore numbers are unreliable and incomplete (but then, so are comic shop numbers), but according to Brian Hibbs's look at the Bookscan numbers for graphic novels sold in 2009:

"And to wrap up the Top 20, it is v4 of "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer: Season 8" with 15k copies. All five volumes make the Top 750"

The Serenity collections (both hard and softcover) and Angel: After the Fall are also mentioned as listed, there's an Excel file with the whole list.
Niels beat me to the punch. I was just pulling up those links and refreshed the page before starting my post.

Here's the numbers breakdown from 2008 and 2009:

2008
Buffy Season 8 Vol. 1 - 19,011
Buffy Season 8 Vol. 2 - 18,252
Buffy Season 8 Vol. 3 - 8,337

2009
Buffy Season 8 Vol. 4 - 14,693
Buffy Season 8 Vol. 3 - 12,419
Buffy Season 8 Vol. 1 - 10,067
Buffy Season 8 Vol. 2 - 9,394

However, as Niels mentioned, this data is incomplete, as it only shows approximately 65% of bookstores, doesn't include library sales, book clubs, school sales, indie bookstores and mass market retailers like Wal-Mart to name a few.

Still you can see above, that the first 3 volumes continued to sell quite well into 2009. However, volume 4 still sold less in 2009 than volume 1 did in 2008, but I'm not sure what point of the year they came out, as that would effect the sales. Also not only is this a incomplete picture of bookstore sales, it's missing comic book stores, which also makes up a large chunk of sales.
Indie is such an asinine term in music and sorta weird in light of comics. So before Disney bought it, were Marvel titles considered indie even though it's one of the "big two"? Plus as the non-DC/Marvel stuff goes I thought that Dark Horse is pretty up there in terms of being the third biggest. (I dunno, or would Vertigo be it's own categorization as an imprint even if it's owned by DC?)

Go Buffy and Dark Horse though! I'm curious how the sales decline from the start compares to the TV broadcast ratings...
I believe comics as a whole is a dying industry, with Video games etc taking a big chuck out of what would have been their core readership.

There will be ups and down, twists and turns, but I still think it is on a slow decline overall.

TV is also suffering, but not as badly as comics I don't think, but don't quote me on it. *g*

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2010-03-06 11:57 ]
I think the cost and the half hearted effort to get newcomers (especially women) and young people to buy comics play a major part too.
Oh I think young men are catered for, I just don't think women are. Not by the mainstream anyway. It's a very 'blokie' environment all round.
Indie is used here simply because aside from Marvel and DC, there aren't publishers in the direct market to warrant a separate article. The ownership of the companies doesn't factor into it.

Oh I think young men are catered for, I just don't think women are. Not by the mainstream anyway. It's a very 'blokie' environment all round.

On the other hand, I know more women who buy comics with any regularity than men. Mostly stuff like Fables and TV/movie licences, but not exclusively.
But over all it seems more men buy comics then women.
Oh I think young men are catered for, I just don't think women are.


I think men in their late 20s to mid 40s are catered for quite well. But I don't think American comic books are very accessible to anyone under 18. Which may partly explain why manga is so popular with that demographic.
The comics industry, like most others goes through a lot of ups and downs, though I do feel as if it's probably more important than ever before to bring in new readers. Video games co-exist alongside comics and have always had a large area of overlap in my experience. A large part of the comic reading crowd is 20-25 single males in the tech sector with disposable income to blow on gadgets, video games and comics (this is 90% of readership for superhero comics according to demographic info from one of the major comic publishers - indie readership has a lot more female presence, unsurprisingly). I've been hearing for twenty years that consoles were replacing PC gaming any day now and it's never happened. Likewise I've been reading comics since the early 80's and hearing every few years how screwed the industry is and it seems to come out the other side every time. It goes through expansions and contractions like anything.
zeitgeist, your post made me laugh because I can clearly remember many, many instances when people were proclaiming the end was nigh. And there certainly have been ups and downs but that doesn't bother me. What concerns me is the mostly-flat and overall downward trend.
Except comic sales are dropping to incredibly low levels, and, really, Marvel and DC are making money from there merchandising and movies more than anything.
stormwreath has pretty graphs, based on ICv2 data (US comic store sales distributed by Diamond).

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