achilles wrote:Sales, while they may be better than just prior to Flashpoint, aren't all the great by the standards of the past twenty years. And anyone can inflate sales number simply by offering more product, so how much of the increase if any overall over immediate pre-Flashpoint is due to simply offering more titles? Or more Bat titles?
This is a good point. Preliminary numbers for August
have DC with 33% unit share from 83 titles (or an average of 0.39% share per title) and Marvel with a 36% unit share on 67 titles (or an average of 0.54% share per title). Thus, although DC sold almost as much total volume as Marvel, they sold way less per book. Put another way, if DC had sold the same number of titles as Marvel in August (67), their market share would have been 27%.. almost 10 points lower than Marvel's.
Another point is that Diamond does not track sales to customers. No one has any way to track that. What Diamond tracks is sales to comic shops, who then "resell" the issues to us. That's why the stats are titled "Estimated Comics Sold to North American Comics Shops" not "to North American consumers." Once the c-shop buys 20 copies of Superman Unchained #2, whether customers take them home or whether they end up boxed in the back-issue bin is unknown. So what we really know is orders, not sales to customers. As a great example, my c-shop still has huge piles of Superman Unchained sitting around... at least 15 or 20 copies of each issue. These are over-orders. The c-shop cannot return them, so they have to eat them if no one buys them. But Diamond records these as "sales" because they were bought by the c-shop (for a lot less than cover price of course). Diamond and DC have made their money, so from a dollar perspective for that month, they don't care. But if it keeps up, the c-shop will start ordering less and less issues.
This means that for huge "event" or "special" titles, we really don't know how many are selling to customers. We know that huge masses of JLA 1 with all the stupid variant covers were bought by the shops. I saw piles of them, again, in my comic shop. But they were there week after week, with the pile only going down a little bit at a time. So how many actually sold, and how many are now in the bargain bin, we just don't know. Events are short-lived, so it's impossible to know if the sales actually went to readers, or if they just were the shops speculating and trying to get 'ahead of the curve.' Its only long-standing series that can provide trends, although even here, the trends will necessarily lag behind by several months.