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Big Numbers: Brian’s Tilting… on the 2011 Bookscan Numbers at CBR

Jeff Lester

Hey, everyone.  Since Brian is off doing what Brian does best–pestering comic book publishers for hard data–(and let’s face it, that isn’t very pretty), he asked me to give all y’all a link to his latest Tilting at Windmills over at CBR.  It’s his annual review of the Bookscan numbers which I think makes it even more of a look-see than usual.

This is the ninth time Hibbs has sat down and crunched numbers of the Bookscan report (the sixth time he’s looked at *all* the numbers for the year) and, as always, the results are fascinating, terrifying, and stultifying all at once.  This year’s report runs approximately 15,000 words which is…pretty god-damned daunting, so my brain always breaks when I start thinking about what went into writing it, separate and apart from all the sorting, adding, and comparison-making.

I know in the past Bri has taken some heat from any number of crazy judgments he made in the past and I think this column may be one his least biased Bookscan reviews ever.  He does present an unending stream of interesting trivia–if you ever wanted to know approximately how many copies of Walking Dead were sold through Bookscan dealers last year (a fuckton) or how many books Geoff John placed in the Top 750 titles, this is the column for you–and asks some pretty challenging questions without presuming to know the answers.  Like Hibbs, I always find myself hoping someone takes him up on his challenge to sort the data themselves and see what conclusions they can draw.

And, as always, feel free to leave comments and questions here if you don’t want to do it over there.

6 Responses to “ Big Numbers: Brian’s Tilting… on the 2011 Bookscan Numbers at CBR ”

  1. The results for Daytripper *are* surprising! And awesome! I don’t remember the series getting much press or word of mouth in any way, happened upon the collection recently, and was extremely impressed.

  2. Interesting reading as always.

    One correction: Big Nate: From the Top, the #2 item on the list, is a collection of the Big Nate comic strip. It is not a prose + drawings item like Wimpy Kid or Dork Diaries; it is all comics, no prose.

    (There is also Big Nate series that has prose + drawings, so the confusion is understandable, but this isn’t it.)

  3. Thank you for that note – I’ve not seen the actual work, and only got from Google that it was a mix…


  4. I’m a stats geek so I really enjoy these columns every year. They represent a *ton* of work!

    I really enjoyed how the format of Manga/DC/Marvel/Indie has been abandoned and now it’s just everything in order. I don’t know if that change was this year or last year or what, but yay all the same.

    My biggest takeaway this year is we *really* need to find a way to better engage the kids market. I honestly believe retailers are handcuffed on this one by years of bad kids comics and mainstream comics too graphic/boring/shoddy to engage families. I mean, yes, there are books like Bone, Amulet, etc, but we need a *lot* more of that stuff.

  5. Just some quick notes:
    1. You calculated stats for Bandai in case they make it into the top 750 again; they won’t, because the Japanese strategic business unit decided to basically shutter Bandai Entertainment here in the US (it’ll still exist technically to license out properties to other companies and to keep reprinting anime and manga they have until the current licenses expire, but they won’t be licensing or releasing anything else from now on). Full story at http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/feature/bandai_downsizing_ken_iyadomi_interview

    2. I’m struck by the fact that Fruits Basket volume 3 makes the top 750 (albeit down at number 743). This is a series whose publisher shut down less than halfway through the year. The volume in question was first released 5 years before that, and had since been recollected into a 2-in-1 omnibus; even so, it sold almost as many units (and more dollars) than Naruto 34 (at 739 on the list), and more units and dollars than Claymore 18 (another Viz title, and the most current volume of the series for most of 2011 I believe). I guess I just wouldn’t expect a title from a defunct publisher to have that kind of longevity.

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