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Comic Sales Plummet, No Issue Breaks 100K in August

“Plummet” is the word used to describe August’s Direct Market comic book sales in a new report from ICv2. The retailer site said on Tuesday that August’s graphic novel sales were down 21% from the previous month, with periodicals down 17%, with not a single comic book within sight of the 100,000 mark.

The top-selling comic book in August was DC Comics’ “Brightest Day” #7, with nearly 94,000 copies. “Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour” lead the graphic novel list with fewer than 8,100 copies sold, amounting to 38% of its previous month sales. However, the reign of “Scott Pilgrim” is far from over, as all six of the Oni Press installments could be found in the top 15 of August’s best-selling graphic novels.In a separately published piece, ICv2 theorizes that the increasingly common $3.99 price point is likely to blame for the decline in periodical sales, noting that 16 of the top 25 books on that list were priced at the higher point. If ICv2’s conclusion is correct, and it probably is, it makes the dubious pricing of some high-profile digital comics even more puzzling.

The good news is the emergence of evidence that new readers are buying graphic novels as a consequence of those properties’ exposure in other media. In addition to “Scott Pilgrim’s” strong presence in the graphic novel list, volume 1 of Image Comics’ “The Walking Dead”, which has been adapted into a much anticipated AMC television series, turned up in position #6.

ICv2’s figures come from Diamond Comic Distributors, which tracks only Direct Market sales — in other words, sales to speciality comic book stores. We’ll know how well graphic novels did in the mass bookstore market when BookScan numbers become available at a later date.

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