In one of the most amazing signs of manga's new strength, Tokyopop's unit market share of backlist sales to comic stores in October topped Marvel's, as reported in Diamond Comic Distributor's October Star System market share report. Tokyopop had a 14.88% unit share of Diamond's Star System (backlist) sales, compared to Marvel's 13.48%. DC was tops with 27.03%.
The cumulative total of comic store backlist shares for manga publishers was also dramatic. Using an estimate of one-half of Dark Horse backlist sales as manga, the cumulative total of manga publishers listed in Diamond's Star System unit market share report (Tokyopop, one-half of Dark Horse, Viz, ADV, and ComicsOne) for October was 30.3%, bigger than DC's.
In dollars, the manga share of backlist sales to comic stores was not as large due to the lower average cover prices of manga trade paperbacks compared to superhero books, but still accounted for 22.8% of the Star System backlist sales in October.
These share numbers are based on only one month's sales, in a month that also had some unusual aberrations in new product orders (see 'Comics and Graphic Novels Skid 16% in October'). But the fact that these numbers can be achieved in any month is a strong testament to the growing power of manga in the home territory of the American superhero comic -- the comic store.
(Note--we are aware that Viz, Tokyopop, and ADV produce anime as well as manga, and that their anime products contributed to their share numbers. But we believe that our assumption on the portion of Dark Horse share that is manga is conservative, and also note that there are manga publishers, such as Del Rey, Central Park Media, and Media Blasters, that are in the 'other' category in Diamond's reporting. Accordingly, we believe that if anything, our estimates of the total share of Diamond's backlist sales attributable to manga are, if anything, conservative.)