• It comes as no surprise that Amazing Spider-Man #583, with its President Obama covers and five printing, topped Diamond's sales list for January.
In what's typically a slow month, charts-watcher John Jackson Miller estimates the issue sold somewhere in "the mid-300,000s" in specialty stores alone. (That translates to a little more than $1 million, quite a stimulus package for the direct market.) Blogger Corey Henson speculates that copies sold through other channels -- supermarkets, pharmacies, toy stores -- could push the total even higher, past the 400,000 mark.
Comics aren't the only periodicals benefiting from the Obama bump. FishbowlNY reports that Ebony magazine's "commemorative issue" sold more than 400,000 copies, "much higher than its usual amount."
• Publishers Weekly reports that bookstore sales dropped 4.7 percent in December to $2.05 billion. They're off 0.5 percent for the year.
• Strangeways writer Matt Maxwell questions the perception of Watchmen as a gateway comic that will bring more readers to the medium, and more money to the industry: "Using Watchmen as a gateway book seems to me to be a recipe for heartbreak. What do you point people at afterwards? Watchmen is accessible, wonderfully so, because it doesn't lean on years of backstory. It's a self-contained work with meaty characters and a beginning, middle and an end."
• Stephen Schleicher considers what steps need to be taken by publishers, creators and retailers to make a successful transition to digital comics.