I have noticed an interesting manifestation that’s taken place over the past couple years at Floating World. It appears that the majority of our sales are good quality books that I really like. This was the plan all along, to sell books that are worth reading more than once. It’s a mixed blessing when certain mainstream comics get a lot of media coverage but the books are actually pretty bad. So all you’ve done is show a bunch of potential new customers the worst of what comics can offer. It’s good for my health that the majority of my day isn’t serving the lowest common denominator to shrinking audiences. Portland readers (and readers who visit Portland) have really good taste.
I’ve been looking forward to putting this 2011 bestseller list, mainly out of curiosity. It’s been a strange year for print and comics. The new Kindle has a miniature incinerator which seems a bit aggressive. Yet our sales were up from last year. The business is still growing. I’ve noticed that customers are buying less monthly comics, but trade and graphic novel sales remain strong. Sales are also great for deluxe hardcovers and expensive omnibus collections. People will invest in quality.
But first let’s look at quantity. Which books brought in the most foot traffic?
Best selling DC title (by quantity): ACTION COMICS #1
Best selling Marvel title (by quantity): FEAR ITSELF #1
Best selling titles published by everyone else (by quantity): DIAMOND #6, LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN III CENTURY #2, NONPLAYER #1, LOSE #3, I WANT YOU #2, THB COMICS FROM MARS #2, CRICKETS #3, OPTIC NERVE #12, BOYS CLUB #4, A FIELD GUIDE TO THE ALIENS OF STAR TREK TNG, THICKNESS #2, WITCH DOCTOR #1, BUFFY SEASON 9 #1, HELLBOY THE FURY #2, MADMAN NEW GIANT SIZE SUPER GINCHY SPECIAL, GANGSTA RAP POSSE #2
Ok now the list of bestsellers by dollar amount. I multiplied the quantity sold by the retail price, and these are the books that made the most paper in 2011.
1. INCAL CLASSIC COLLECTION HC (Humanoids)
2. HABIBI (Pantheon)
3. MADMAN ATOMICA HC (Image)
4. ANYA’S GHOST (First Second)
5. EMITOWN (Image)
6. BIG QUESTIONS (D&Q)
7. IVY HC (Oni)
8. DAYTRIPPER (DC/Vertigo)
9. METABARONS SLIPCASE (Humanoids)
10. EYES OF THE CAT HC (Humanoids)
11. LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN III CENTURY #2 (Top Shelf)
12. WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM (Image)
13. PAYING FOR IT (D&Q)
14. ORC STAIN VOL. 1 (Image)
15. FINDER LIBRARY VOL. 1 (Dark Horse)
16. TEKKON KINKREET (Viz)
17. DIAMOND #6 (Floating World)
18. FABLES VOL. 15 (DC/Vertigo)
19. CRICKETS #3 (Self published/Fantagraphics)
20. SUPERGODS HC (Spiegel & Grau)
21. ACTION COMICS #1 (DC)
22. WE 3 DELUXE HC (DC/Vertigo)
23. CASANOVA VOL. 2 (Marvel/Icon)
24. CAPACITY (Secret Acres)
25. BATWOMAN ELEGY TP (DC)
Interesting observations about 2011’s list:
Three books by Jodorowsky, two of those are collaborations with Moebius. I think Humanoids had a good year.
Four out of the top five books made by Portland creators (pretty sure Allred was living in Portland at the time).
Not very many superheroes on the list. No Marvel books unless you include their creator owned imprint, Icon. Image had the most publications on the list.
I thought Alan Moore had left the comics industry? He’s still selling lots of them.
Omnibuses. Collect your single issues in a trade. Then collect your trades in an omnibus. Next publishers will offer something called a “Shelf”.
Capacity and Tekkon Kinkreet have made the list three years in a row. Hey Viz: NUMBER FIVE
We made the list with Diamond 6. I look forward to even more publishing in 2012.
Self publishing! Emitown, Big Questions, Ivy, Finder and Capacity all started as self published books that later got picked up by bigger publishers for distribution. Diamond 6 and Crickets #3 were straight up self published.
Seven titles on the list were more than $30. Only two were saddle stitched. One was unbound.
2012 predictions: Nobrow is working out their US distribution with Perseus. Once the books are readily available they are going to blow up even bigger. Humanoids brings a Moebius book back into print, it quickly goes out of print again. There will be more Brandon Graham comics in the world. Hopefully some new books by Julia Gfrörer and Theo Ellsworth. Michael DeForge, Lisa Hanawalt, Matt Furie, and Benjamin Marra continue their streak of awesome. I’m looking forward to McSweeney’s new children’s book imprint, McMullens, with new books illustrated by Matt Furie, Hanawalt, Jordan Crane, Jack Teagle. Koyama Press and Ryan Sands will deliver more excellent work. Jonny Negron and Uno Moralez are next. Battling Boy?