Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

With Great Power, Comes Meh Comic Sales

This article was originally published on our parent site for the book publishing industry, Publishing Trends

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Superhero movies – and to an extent TV shows – are one of the biggest trends in entertainment of recent years.  But success on the screen doesn’t guarantee comic book sales. To better analyze the correlation, I took a look at the trade paperback sales of two comic books for two of the most popular superhero films in 2016 so far: Deadpool and Captain America: Civil War, both of which happened to be Marvel titles.  In addition, I reviewed what some industry professionals have said on the subject.

The Deadpool movie grossed over $132 million during its opening weekend and over $778 million in theaters worldwide since its release in mid-February 2016. Deadpool Volume 1: Dead Presidents (trade paperback collection of issues 1-6, ISBN 9780785166801) has sold 32,269 copies since its release date of June 11, 2013. Deadpool Volume 8: All Good Things (the trade paperback collection of issues 41-44, ISBN 9780785192442) was published closest to the movie’s theater release and sold 5,772 copies since coming out on June 1, 2015.

I took a look at their sales on Nielsen Bookscan before and after the movie’s release, by looking at their sales during its first week available, the week after the trailer premiered in September, during the film’s first week in theaters, and when the movie was released on DVD. With Vol. 1, I saw a slight upward tick in sales during the week of the movie’s release in theaters, but the number was nowhere near its initial sales week. With Vol. 8, the sales’ rise and fall seem to reflect the movie’s prevalence in media at the time.

Comics Chart FINAL

 

Why don’t more movie fans decide to pick up the comic? A big part of the problem, according to Ian Warren on Comic Book Daily, is the vast universes don’t always match up. For example, “the movie Iron Man cherry-picked the most fun, glamorous, dynamic elements of the 60s-80s,” Warren said. So when fans tried to shift from the movie franchise to the comic, they found a completely different Iron Man from the Robert Downey Jr. version.

This isn’t a problem limited to the films, but extends to cartoons as well, where storylines and characters from the comic books don’t always match up with the ones that make people fall in love with the universe on the screen.

On top of this, Warren feels “DC and Marvel don’t make it easy for new readers. Their broad sweeping storylines can be daunting to a new reader for sure.” And even more annoyingly for new readers, “the writers champion existing readers by making stories about incidents from years ago without any thought about trying to garner a new audience.”

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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 6/20-6/24

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Travel book publisher Fodor’s will be purchased by Internet Brands.

The aftermath of Brexit promises to have serious trade implications in Britain.

Consumers across ereading platforms received credits to their accounts per Apple‘s antitrust ruling in the Supreme Court.

Thomas Dunne Books is being revamped into a smaller imprint at St. Martin’s.

After another quarter of losses, Barnes & Noble plans to build more physical “concept stores.

Bonus: We’re hiring! Join the Trendsetter squad.

Internview: Say Hello to Margo!

We are excited to welcome Margo Fitzpatrick to the fold of Market Partners International, Publishing Trends, and Publishing Trendsetter this summer as our intern! She comes to us from University of Chicago, and you can read more about her on our about page.

What aspects of Publishing Trends and MPI interest you most as you enter the internship?13329428_10156970701085075_87468033237163231_o

Publishing Trends and MPI are attractive to me for their dedication to the ever-changing nature of the industry.  As a work-community, MPI is comprised of seasoned professionals who are knowledgeable about the industry’s evolution.  Working as an intern in this environment will facilitate my interactions with such professionals from whom I can’t wait to learn!

As a relative newbie to the industry, Publishing Trends interests me as an active source for information concerning the business’s evolution.  Without access to such informational tools, getting up-to-date news concerning the industry would be considerably more challenging.  MPI’s other book-business website Publishing Trendsetter also is especially helpful for me, because it offers beginners resources that I have already found incredibly helpful, such as “A Beginner’s Guide to Industry Newsletters.”

What “skill-sets” or areas of your knowledge would you most like to broaden with this internship?

Through this internship, I would like to expand upon my knowledge of trends in book publishing.  Because this internship will allow me to do much research, I hope to acquire a more comprehensive understanding of how the publishing industry evolves and how it currently exists.  Working on Publishing Trends and Publishing Trendsetter, sources of intelligence, should aid me in this goal.  Overall, I would like to emerge from my internship able to speak intelligently with other professionals about current trends in the industry.

What kind of value do you think might be unique to a non-traditional book-business internship (as opposed to other more traditional internships with a publisher or agent)?

Working as an intern for a non-traditional book-business holds value in its capacity for broad teaching.  This internship promises to teach many facets of the publishing industry, providing a more “macro view” of the industry than perhaps could be gained from a more traditional book-based internship.  As a relative newcomer to the industry, I believe a more “macro”-focused internship is very valuable, as it will allow me to discover what aspects of the industry I am most interested in.

You’ve had other publishing internships as well, what makes you so drawn to publishing as a field?

When asked in childhood what I wanted to “do” as an adult, I would answer that I wanted to get paid to read books.  How people laughed!  But once I learned of the publishing industry, I rephrased my answer and began telling people that this was the business for me.  In addition to the perks of being employed to read (and write, another dear past-time of mine), those working in the publishing industry are guaranteed to be interested in ever-continuing their education.  After graduation from school, learning does not stop for those entering the publishing work force.  I want to surround myself with other people who are as passionate as I am about literature and its innovation, and publishing is a career path that allows for this excitement towards literary achievement.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 6/13-6/17

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

In the first change at Perseus since Hachette’s acquisition, Seal Press is now an imprint of Da Capo Press.

UK bookstore Waterstones has announced that if Brexit goes through, then jobs will be cut.

Texas-based retailer Hastings Entertainment filed for bankruptcy this week. 

The decision for former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura’s defamation case against the late American Sniper author Chris Kyle was reversed in the court of appeals.

Amazon plans to open a third bricks-and-mortar bookstore; this time in Portland.

BonusThe Community Bookstore cat Tiny the Usurper went missing this week, but is back home now.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 6/6-6/10

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

LitHub launched a new service called “Book Marks” likened to a Rotten Tomatoes for books to mixed reviews.

Andy Cohen will be getting his own imprint at Henry Holt.

BookCon will be expanding to have an additional event as a part of New York ComicCon as well as after BEA.

Comic book sales are flourishing in both print and digital.

Amazon is suing sellers who solicit fake reviews.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/30-6/3

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Five Australian publishing associations are protesting a government open market proposal to allow the import of US and UK books without restrictions.

Ellora’s Cave is suing the owner of the Dear Author website for defamation.

Purity by Jonathan Franzen is being developed into a TV show, starring Daniel Craig.

Author David Mitchell has submitted a manuscript for the Future Library project, meaning it won’t be released to the public until 2114.

There is a Kickstarter to open a second bookstore in Queens.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/23-5/27

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Comixology launched a comics subscription service this week.

Audiobooks had a huge boost in sales in 2015.

Macmillan is considering leaving the iconic Flatiron Building.

Author Sheldon P. Blau, MD is suing Simon & Schuster over what he believes are incorrect royalty statements.

UK book retailer Waterstone’s is closing their ebook store.

Five Years Strong! Looking Back at Trendsetter

We can hardly believe it ourselves, but on May 20th, Publishing Trendsetter celebrated its 5th year. While Jen and I have not been here from the start, I can safely say that we’re very proud of all that Trendsetter has accomplished, and what it will continue to achieve. We want to take a moment to thank all of our past interns and contributors from across the globe. Trendsetter coverage has taken many forms throughout these 5 years, but we believe that it’s all useful to our readers. Today, we look back to see what each Trendsetter editor – of past and present – treasures most about working on this site.

Elisabeth Watson, founder emeritus:

What I remember most fondly from my wonderful years working for Trendsetter is actually that first week after we launched in 2011, from roughly Friday, May 20th to Friday May 27th. This week, (as was our intention), also coincided with BEA 2011, my first BEA ever. I’d been working pretty feverishly on building the website, recruiting bloggers, queuing content, interviewing interns, etc. for the previous 4 months and was was quite nervous about our launch on May 20th. But what I remember most keenly about that week is loading up with Trendsetter logo stickers, press releases, and my newly minted business cards, getting on the crosstown bus to go to Javits, and feeling so energized and empowered. What starting and steering Trendsetter did for me was push me to talk to more people and ask more questions and have more conversations at that first BEA than I would ever have otherwise done.

In that first week at BEA I had the opportunity to meet my peers from out of state who had signed up to blog for Trendsetter (several of whom remain good friends!). I felt empowered to start conversations with more senior professionals; I attended a range of panels and listened in a more focused and engaged way than I might have done otherwise. That first week was so formative in making me the kind of publishing professional I am today, and so much of that is due to the way Publishing Trendsetter compelled me to engage with a wider community of people than I would otherwise have dared to do. I only hope Trendsetter has served as a conversation starter for many, many others in as powerful a way as it did for me, both in that first week and ever since!

 

Kimberly Lew, former editor:

I got to write about a few things that were close to my heart for Trendsetter, from talking about booksellers to explaining how theatre publishers are going digital. Of all the things I’ve worked on, however, my favorite article I wrote (and the series it was connected to) was writing about second jobs in publishing, a.k.a. what to do when you want to move beyond entry level. It took me over 6 years to break into a publishing house position, but sometimes you fight so hard for one thing that it’s hard to figure out what to do once you get it. I liked that the people we surveyed and talked to for this article let us know that there’s always room for growth and exploration and that beginning a career does not mean counting out other opportunities and paths.

 

Samantha Howard, current editor:

I have more than one favorite Trendsetter memory so I’ll keep them short enough so that it looks like one Trendsetter memory. I’m cheating, but who’s going to stop me?

  1. When I first started here I was bursting with all kinds of impossible ideas, one of them being interviewing Jane Friedman about how to market yourself in the publishing job market. She actually accepted and it was one of the first interviews I had on the site, and it’s all still relevant today!
  2. I convinced Kim that making a listicle of the end of the year listicles was a good idea, and no one has suggested I should stop so I keep doing it each year.
  3. The long tail of Trendsetter always makes me proud.  We always have folks coming to the site and commenting on how a piece from a few years ago about the publishing scene in Boston was really helpful to them. Even if I had absolutely nothing to do with the piece, it makes me proud to be a part of a site dedicated to helping young people find the right opportunities for themselves in publishing.

Jennifer Donovan, current editor:

The amazing thing about writing for Trendsetter is that it lets me explore everything I’ve ever wanted to know about books and publishing and then I get to turn that information into articles to share with all of our readers. My favorite article that I’ve worked on so far is probably The Beginner’s Guide to Publishers Beyond the Big 5: Adult Fiction Publishers You Might Not Know. This was the first article that Sam let me go full Chart Queen on and I had a lot of fun researching and learning all about the smaller presses. Beyond the fun that I had working on it, I feel like this article is useful to anyone in need of a quick guide on where to start looking for their first job in publishing “beyond the big 5.”

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/16-5/20

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Goodreads launched Goodreads Deals, which will send you ebook deals based on your to-read list, favorite authors, and favorite genres.

W.W. Norton won’t reissue an unauthorized biography of Donald Trump for fear of being sued over some of the allegations in the book.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang won this year’s Man Booker International Prize.

Lena Dunham released a surprise collection of personal stories taken from her journals between 2005-2006.

Women won every prose award at this year’s Nebula Awards, which are voted on by members of the Science Fiction Writers of America.

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 5/9-5/13

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

OverDrive announced plans to start digital book clubs, pairing up with public libraries to start the programs.

Milkweed Editions is opening an indie bookstore in downtown Minneapolis.

Onebook, Audible’s audiobook sharing program, is now available to all of its customers.

PEN America sent a letter signed by 120 writers to the Egyptian president urging him to release author and journalist Ahmed Naji.

BookExpo America’s move to Chicago meant a slightly smaller show floor this year.