At the ComicsPRO Fresh Start breakfast this morning, ComicHub, the Point of Sale and Retail Information app for comics shops we've mentioned on Bleeding Cool a fair few times now, announced that it has reached an agreement in principle with The NPD Group to make ComicHub the first supplier of POS data for US comic shops in general to NPD BookScan, creating an integrated view of the actual sell-through of bound comics and graphic novels in the US for the first time.
The definitive agreement is expected to be signed by both parties on or before August 15th, for roll-out in 2020.
"Our mission is to use all of the data available to create a stronger Direct Market in the brick-and-mortar comic shops. All of our partnerships are weighed against their value to help our client stores and publishers grow," said Atom! Freeman, formerly of Valiant Entertainment and now spokesperson for ComicHub. "With the BookScan and NPD Entertainment teams, we've found an organization with those same values and access to data that will be an enormous advantage for our clients, while also giving the publishing industry at large a look into the sleeping giant of brick-and-mortar retail that is the Local Comic Shop."
"We are thrilled to be working with ComicHub on this initiative," said Kristen McLean, Executive Director of Business Development for NPD Books. "The local comic shops are one of the last areas of independent book sales that we don't yet capture in BookScan, and we think it is one of the most important, given the pop-culture cachet, creativity, and high growth we are seeing in this area of publishing."
Sales of collected comics and graphic novels have far out-performed the general book market in traditional book trade channels in the last five years, according to NPD BookScan, posting a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 12% since 2014, and almost doubling from sales of 12 million to 21 million during that time. By comparison the overall US book market grew a modest 2% during the same period. Graphic novels are up a further 7% in 2019 already.
Under this new agreement, retailers will also have access to BookScan data to help them understand what is going on in the larger marke as well as their own store.
"We think indie comic shops are perfectly positioned to take advantage of these emerging market-wide trends, so we're psyched to get them the data to do that," said NPD's McLean. "No one knows this business better than indie retailers, and once we create this view, the entire comics ecosystem—retailers, publishers, and suppliers—will be able to be more responsive. We're very excited!"
Statistics are the new rock'n'roll.