Variety ran an interesting short article this week saying that digital sales of Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns shot up after Zack Snyder said the Batman character in his followup to Man of Steel will be inspired by Miller’s take on the Caped Crusader.
In fact, DC Comics says that digital sales of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns were up 161% in July over June’s numbers, setting a record for sales of a full-priced digital graphic novel. Print sales were also up by a similar margin, according to BookScan.
The problem is that because neither publishers nor distributors release sales numbers for digital comics, we have no idea what that means. If ten copies sold in June and 16 copies sold in July, that would account for the increase—but that’s not a lot of books. On the other hand, if 10,000 sold in June and 16,100 sold in July, that would be something to crow about.
It is true that Batman: The Dark Knight Returns made some of our digital best-seller lists in the second half of July. On July 21, the last day of Comic-Con, it was in the #2 spot on both the Kindle and iBooks lists. On July 28, it was at #6 on the Kindle list. It wasn’t on any of the best-seller lists in the first two weeks of July, not surprisingly as the announcement hadn’t been made yet, so that 161% increase all came in the last two weeks of the month. The best-seller lists are revised hourly so the ones I publish weekly are just a snapshot, but it gives an idea of how the book was doing relative to other digital comics.