(UPDATE: This article was based on a number of stores reporting they had received very large overships of the title. Marvel however assures me that this wasn’t policy and I have subsequently heard from other stores that received no such overship. It may well have been a distribution error. The dollar/unit disparatity in the statistics, is solely down to the quotes discount incentives and, if anything, prove they work really really well..)
Let’s take a small section of the October chart. Places 79 to 86 sales numbers, with Red She-Hulk #58, the first of the Marvel NOW! titles at 82.
However, in terms of revenue raised, it’s at 115.
3.99 books place higher in the revenue charts than 2.99 for similar sales, naturally. But in the chart below, the $2.99 titles placing above it, Scarlet Spider at 79th place and Venom at 80th place have revenue chart positions of 94 and 95. And the $2.99 titles below it, FF, Phantom Stranger and Justice League Dark are at 96th, 90th and 99th place on the revenue chart.
There is an asterix against the Phantom Stranger listing, as it is a returnable book, so Diamond knocks it down the chart a little, usually by discounting 10% of its sales in the belief that this many may be returned to Diamond, unsold – which is why it is a higher revenue raiser than its compatriots, Diamond counts the money raised if every copy were sold, but not the unit sales.
There is, however, no asterix against Red She Hulk.
It hasn’t been made returnable, but it has drastically overshipped. Because this time Diamond counted the total copies sent out to stores, but only counted the smaller revenue received.
There was already a large discount opportunity leveled if retailers exceeded their orders for Captain Marvel #1, by 5%, 15% or 25%, but I’m told that precious few did. And so, fearing not enough comics being available (and possibly a Marvel Now launch title not being in the top 100), a large overship was agreed upon.
Which is why it’s revenue position is well outside the top 100, but it’s sales chart position is well inside. Which means that ICV2’s estimate of its sales in North America as 31,000 should actually be around 21,000…
I do think this is a little deceptive, especially as it is the sales chart position that gets headlined. And that a publisher, if they so wished, could overship a comic to ten times the sale amount and get the top spot on the chart, with the media, retailer and customer attention that such a thing attracts, without actually selling a single extra copy.
UPDATE: Referring to the update above, I still think Red She Hulk, and other titles, deserves an asterix of its own. Heavy discounting can be its own form of chart manipulation.
|79||94||21.43||SCARLET SPIDER #10||$2.99||MAR|
|82||115||20.99||RED SHE-HULK #58||$2.99||MAR|
|84||90||20.24||PHANTOM STRANGER #1 [*]||$2.99||DC|
|85||99||20.23||JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #13||$2.99||DC|