So How Did Titan's Doctor Who Comics Sell Over 100,000 Each?

During San Diego Comic Con, Bleeding Cool ran the news that Titan Comics had received over 100,000 pre-orders each for the first issues of their new Doctor Who series. The publisher announced the news at the Retailer Lunch presentation, held by Diamond Comic Distributors…

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They then tweeted the news.

Yesterday, Diamond released sales statistics that have The Eleventh Doctor #1 tagged at 34.80 and The Tenth Doctor #1 tagged with 33.65, against 100.00 for Batman #33.

We can estimate around 100,000 sales for Batman #33, maybe a bit more, though subsequent statistics will clarify that. So we can estimate in North America through the direct market and Diamond, that the Doctor Who books will have sold maybe around 40,000 copies each.

The question is… did they then sell 60,000 outside of North America, say in the UK? Or was there another seller outside of Diamond's figures that pushed up the increased sales. And if so, what was it? A Nerd Box/Loot Crate/Geek Box deal or something else?

BBC America were selling, and then in the last moments giving away copies at the Show… but 60,000?

I asked Titan, and they told me:

We printed and shipped circa 70K firm sale copies for each title – these included our incentive covers and retailer-exclusive variant covers, some of which were not counted in the iCV2 numbers. The full spread of covers is viewable here.

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Our total print run was significantly higher than 100K on each title. The balance of the print run above the 70K firm sale was for sale on the US newsstand and other retail channels, numbers not counted in the ICV2 data.

Both first issues have now completely sold out at distributor level. A second printing of both issues arrive in stores September 10th with two second printing covers by Alice X Zhang – see attached.

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With this great news, we are hoping that in due course our sold copies will be in excess of 100K!

BTW In actual fact our UK sales were a fraction of your estimate – the vast majority having sold in the US!

There are some definitively interesting things here – newsstand sales are returnable, so while they may count towards the print run, it's difficult to add them to sales, but also they are generally small numbers and dismissable.

But with much smaller numbers for the UK, that leaves a massive amount of each issue, say 50,000, tied up in "other retail channels." I asked about this, and noted that retailer variant issues still went through Diamond and would be counted in the data. I was told:

We're currently under a confidentiality agreement on that score, as I'm sure you understand. Look for more news in just a couple of weeks! As for the other retailer exclusives, according to Diamond, they were only counted if they were billed in the same Previews month as the main and standard variant covers, which meant a lot of the later covers that went up to the print date were not counted in that billable period.

This suggests to me that we are dealing with a geek subscription service, like Loot Crate, Nerd Block or Geek Box who have ordered in bulk. With Diamond exclusive partners, like Marvel with Amazing Spider-Man #1 and Rocket Raccoon #1, they have gone through Diamond, but Titan is not Diamond exclusive.

Not long till we find out where they all went! And congratulations on two six figure Doctors!

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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