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Orders for comic books have hit a twenty year high

Propelled by DC’s Rebirth series, distributor Diamond Comics has shipped 10.26 million copies to comic book stores in North America this past August, according to industry analyst John Jackson Miller.

According to Miller, the figures for August were largely driven by DC Comics, which sold nine out of the ten bestselling issues, with Harley Quinn #1 as the top seller. He noted that there could be some extenuating circumstances that inflate these numbers a bit: this is the first time that Diamond, the largest comic book distributor in the world, has released monthly figures (prior figures have been estimates), and there were five weeks in which comics were shipped last month, rather than the usual four last year. While these figures also don’t include direct sales figures, they do indicate that the comic book business is healthy.

10.26 million units is a significant figure, because the last time stores ordered in that volume was December 1996. In the following years, the industry faced some significant troubles, with its total market share dropping to $255 million in sales in 2000. Since then, it has dramatically rebounded, with an estimated $940 million in sales last year.

Vulture points to the huge number of comic book adaptations in theaters as a likely reason for the dramatic growth in sales in recent years, while the Washington Post notes that ease of access for consumers is another contributing factor: internet sales through retailers such as ComiXology have grown in recent years, while the number of dedicated comic book shops have risen in recent years. Given the number of comic book adaptations planned for the next decade, the comic book industry will likely continue to receive a residual benefit.

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