Month after month, Diamond Comic Distributors release the monthly statistics for the North American direct market, comprised of comic book stores, bookstores with Diamond accounts, subscription boxes, online subscription services, comic book shows and more.
But what they don’t include is any sales outside North America. Specifically the 10-15% that generally goes through Diamond UK. And people forget.
Just today, Heidi MacDonald was looking at the estimated, erroneoulsy-named “actual” sales figures, “Champions #1 is listed as having sold only 328,000 copies, less than the 400K that Marvel claimed. Apparently the Gamestop variant covers did not go through the typical Diamond mechanism. However, the Loot Crate effect was.”
The Gamestop covers did go through the typical Diamond mechanism. But the British orders did not.
A very senior comic book executive told me this was originally agreed decades ago when a major publisher had comics based on a major film license that they weren’t allowed to sell outside of North America. So, as to not let the performance of the comic be prejudiced by this omission (no, not Transformers, that’s just for illustrative purposes), Diamond agreed to restrict their monthly chart to just North America.
However, the publisher in question denied any such change was made or requested, and had no idea why this was the way things were.
Diamond representatives I spoke to were also clueless.
This has, however, had a performance impact on books, such as the DC Vertigo brand, that outperformed in Britain. It didn’t affect sales directly, but it affected the perception of sales – which can then affect the actual sales when retailers look at stats charts when preparing orders.
Basically, Hellblazer sold a whole lot more than anyone figured.
As it stands, this is just the way things are done. And no one seems to really know why. Or why it shouldn’t be changed.
Missing Diamond UK off the monthly Diamond stats is, basically, the Electoral College of monthly comic book statistics.