This may be the last I comment on Countdown for a while, mainly because Brian Hibbs, owner of Comix Experience in San Francisco and author of the best column on comic retailing, "Tilting at Windmills," has written a column that reflects my feelings on the series, and he has the evidence to back up his claims.
One thing I didn't comment on in my earlier posts is Countdown's returnability in the first three months and how that might affect the sales outlook. Here's what Hibbs has to say on that:
"Now, this is semi-anecdotal – by the June sales chart, Countdown in its second month is still (just barely) a Top 25 book – but I know that I, at least, have been taking advantage of the returnability offer on the first 12 issues. Basically, the deal was 'order what you did of 52, and you can send back unsold copies at a later date'.
"That deal worked really well for 52 – I brought in more copies than my fiscally conservative instincts would have suggested, and that paid off, not just for those first three months, but for the entire year that followed. We returned under 15% of our orders, orders that were largely based off of Infinite Crisis’ huge sales. 52 was, for the entire year, very nearly the best-selling DC comic for us – only a few issues of Justice League of America beat it – a remarkably consistent and strong sales pattern for the year.
"Countdown? Well, we’re only at the 10th week, as of this writing, but no, not nearly as strong and profitable. At this point in time, I expect to be returning more than a third of my initial orders on the first three months to DC. Owie."
Those are some pretty startling numbers.
And over here, Phil has started a contest to predict Countdown's final numbers. Winner gets an Amazon gift card. Go enter!