A thread on The Engine that starts with Heidi MacDonald advertising the Beat’s analysis of DC and Marvel’s sales figures for July quickly leads to more interesting territory as discussion turns to how the figures are calculated.
Brian Wood (whose DMZ now has a free downloadable first issue at DC’s site) leads off:
I have mixed feelings about these analyses…. on one level they’re fun to read, but what about the potential damage they can cause to new series when they’re just given “wow, is THIS on the fast track to cancellation!” summary?
Warren Ellis agrees:
On the one hand, they’re free, and you get what you (or PW, at least) pay for. But, really, they’re sloppy as all fuck.
Oni Press’s Wasteland writer Antony Johnston chimes in:
The numbers themselves are also way off, which always bugs the hell out of me (and even more so than usual this month – I assume the current crop of big crossovers are skewing the ‘index’ numbers that everything else is judged by). Still, that’s ICv2′s fault, not Marc’s.
They’ve always been way off, and to their credit they tell you that upfront. I assume much like LOCAL, your Wasteland numbers were about 1500-1800 short?
More like 3k, which is why I’m wondering if the current glut of crossovers is affecting the base index.
Meanwhile, Heidi MacDonald reveals just how mysterious these numbers really are:
When I worked at DC editors were not allowed to see sales figures. That is to say my bosses would SHOW ME a piece of paper with the sales figures on it, but I wasn’t allowed to study it or to copy it down. Which of course I would try to do anyway after it was shown to me, but since I have number aphasia, it wasn’t very successful. When ever I complained about this to to my co-workers, I was told “Oh you don’t know how to play the game!” I became resentful that I had to learn how to play a game in order to get the basic information I needed to do my job, and don’t work at DC any more. Perhaps this has changed since my day.
Tom Spurgeon, as usual, puts things in perspective:
That story’s hilarious. They should put the number they show their employees on one of those 3-D dot pieces of art and make the person stare at it until they see the sales point.