Q3 Comic Book Sales Are in the Crapper

In case you haven't seen the news, ICv2 published numbers for the third quarter sales for comics, and it ain't pretty.  Total sales are down 12% on the quarter, single issues are down 14%, and graphic novel sales are down 6%.  They report that it's the "largest year over year quarterly decline we've seen since we started tracking these numbers in 2004."  Over all, the year to date is only 5% down from last year, with comic sales down 4%, and graphic novel sales down 8%.

It isn't pretty.

As we know, DC will be lowering prices in January, and Marvel will have some new $2.99 books out as well.  ICv2 suggests that it's not the pricing nearly as much as it a lack of "major hits."  As much as some people (such as myself) malign the ongoing events, they were definitely good for business.  Therefore, it wouldn't be out of line to suggest that you ready yourself for another couple of years of unending events, because that's how you stay in the black in comics today, it would seem. The highest selling book of September was Wolverine #1 (kind of a lock with that combination of words and numbers), which was the only issue over 100K in sales.

What's scary is that while these are troubling numbers for Marvel and DC, the smaller publishers are taking it in the face.  Other than Walking Dead for Image, and Parker: The Outfit from IDW, I can't think of a bit hit, must-have book from an indie publisher.  There are critical hits, yes, but no huge sellers.  Oni needs another Scott Pilgrim type book.  I've heard and seen anecdotally that a bunch of small publishers are cutting back on their releases, and the chances they take.  Just try and pitch a comic book, no matter how good it may be, that isn't easily adaptable to film.  It's ugly out there.

So what's the problem? Obviously the economy is still in a sort of intractable funk, but sales have sort of held up over all this time.  After a decade of mega-blockbuster films about Iron Man, Spider-Man, Batman, and any other property they can strip mine, it's just not putting butts in seats in terms of comics.  There are breakaway exceptions, the biggest being associated, ironically, with films that didn't do so well. Those are Scott Pilgrim and Watchmen, which sold graphic novels by the truckload.  But 3 plus years of excellent comics and 2 record breaking films don't make Invincible Iron Man a top selling book by any means.  There's certainly no trickle down effect, and the spikes from movie success are temporary.

Comics aren't just failing to create new readers. Comics aren't even maintaining the numbers they have. 

The Q4 numbers are going to be closely watched, and I think we'll see a lot of changes based on what happens over the next few months.  In the meantime, buy your comics, and cross your fingers that your favorite titles stick around, and that the market rewards excellence a bit more often.

Comments

  1. Well that’s what I’m going to be doing, buying my comics as always. But I’m also going to be doing another thing: ignoring the numbers.

    Seriously we worry so much about numbers that now (as this article puts in, so your words not mine) we need to ‘cross our fingers’ to see if our titles stick around. The past 2 (almost 3) years I’ve been on this site I have just seen titles come and go as always. People just tend to highlight a certain few because it had a cult following.

    Everyone should buy their comics and not live in fear that one day all of them are gonna get cancelled in the future. Just enjoy life and your comics. 

  2. Bat4life Bat4life says:

    The $3.99 price point is the culprit I believe in this case.

  3. vadamowens vadamowens says:

    How frustrating.  It sucks because people would buy more if they could.

  4. No, the culprit is that there are no events this time of year.

    Of course sales would be down when you don’t have the likes of Blackest Night or Siege coming out every month. So it’s not really that surprising sales would be down anyways. 

  5. s1lentslayer s1lentslayer says:

    If events are the only thing holding up the industry, what’s gonna happen when people stop buying every book for an event? What’s the plan then? If movie successes haven’t resulted in more readers, what would? It seems the social stigma of reading comics is the culprit. How do you fix that when mainstream media portrays comic book readers in such a negative light? Comics needs a "cool" person to say they read comics to bring in some new people.

  6. vadamowens vadamowens says:

    @s1lentslayer I don’t really think the ‘cool’ thing really holds up.  I think people will look at the ‘cool’ guy and say that’s cool that he reads comics, but it’s not for me.

  7. CAM CAM says:

    Speaking from personal experience, I’m certainly contributing to this decline.  Partly due to finances, and also a kind of malaise I’ve cut my purchases by 3/4 or so.

    I think it was Josh in one of the podcasts who said something along the lines of "I say I’m waiting for the trade, then never get around to buying it"  That happens with me fairly often as well.

    The thing about it is, I still read a fair amount, but I’ve streamlined to the books that I REALLY like, and the ones I feel deserve my support.  I’ll pass on Uncanny X-Men, or Amazing Spider-Man because I feel like they’ll be around in some form without my money supporting.  Irredeemable or Magnus: Robot Fighter (w00t!) I’ll actually shell out for. 

    I guess the point of this article is that, my perception is incorrect, I need to support EVERYTHING, but I just can’t afford it :sniff:.

  8. el355 says:

    I feel like that there should be a better way to leverage comic book movie sales into pushing single issues or trades.  It doesn’t surprise me that sales of S.P. or the Watchmen went through the roof.  You can find those books on Amazon, Boarder and ect.  I get the drop in price for both Marvel and DC, but I feel that is due to help stop the bleeding in sales.  If you are collector now and debating about dropping a book or getting out of comics, then that extra savings in a incentive for you to say in and continue to support a medium that you love.  But if you are outside of the industry and looking in, then you are dealing with a whole new scenario.  In a perfect world (where money is no issues of course!); why can’t Disney do a promotion with the Thor or Avengers movie?  Anyone who sees the movie in the first day or weekend gets a reprinted issue #1 of Thor: The Mighty Avenger.  You can also hand out fliers or sumthin’ of local comic book shops where you can continue reading about Thor and other heroes.  I realize that is a “pie-in-the-sky” solution, but people need to think more out of the box if they want increase comic book sales.  There is something wrong if Iron Man 2 grosses over $600 million dollars worldwide and that does not translate into a noticeable bump (and can sustain) its sales.

  9. SirCox SirCox says:

    A price increase during a time when lots of people are out of work = bad sales. It’s really that simple. I had to stop with half my pull list since I got laid off.

  10. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    I’ve seen all those things done around movies. It didn’t work.

  11. PymSlap PymSlap (@alaska_nebraska) says:

    No events? What about Shadowland, Return of Bruce Wayne, and Thanos Imperative?

     

  12. vadamowens vadamowens says:

    @pymslap I think you know what they mean.

  13. QuayLewd QuayLewd says:

    I’ve cut way back, but it’s more to do with my personal stack problem. I went on a buying orgy the last 3-5 years, spurred on, to no small degree, by iFanboy and other online communities and podcasts. I sloooowwly realized the need to downshift because of that finite resource: my time.

    Have others experienced this? Is there a slow deflation of the comics bubble that resulted from the "new golden age" of the past several years.

  14. diebenny diebenny says:

    I’ma gonna call those "mini-events."  Also, i think Takio and books like that are a good step forward.  Give it to the kids.  They’ll be more likely to come back when they’re older.  I read comics as a kid, saw a Spider-Man movie as an adult and got curious.  Now i’m on this website.

  15. nmoline says:

    I haven’t "purchased" a comic book since Blackest Night #3.  I am awaiting $.99 digital comic books and I will be back to purchasing in a heart beat. 

  16. diebenny diebenny says:

    @QuayLewd:  You may be on to something.  When i first started reading, many of my friends joined in too.  We had a huge group hitting shops every Wednesday, and many times more, for trades and what not.  Around Secret Invasion THEY ALL STOPPED BUYING COMICS.  I’m the only one left, forced to communicate with internet people if I want to talk to anyone about comics.

  17. harwellpkg harwellpkg says:

    Simple economics are the problem!

    To high an average price point + way to many titles + not enough disposable income = low sales.

     

  18. ericmci ericmci says:

    It is a very simple formula- people with less money can’t afford more books when the price increase outpaces- said money.

    Especially when people believe- and rightly so- as has been proven that increase was unjust.  They get pissed off.

    Yeah there’s more to it- but if anyone thinks that people aren’t picking up books they would normally buy then adding up all the 3.99 price tags in there head and putting them back onthe shelf – you’re crazy.

    They are sticking to the must haves- the freedom to splurge on a new book or a title that you liked ok- but not great- was severley hampered.

  19. el355 says:

    Maybe it is just me, but when I think of decrease sales – It is because of the comic community are buying less comics and a lack of new people to buy comic.  An event will solve for one side of that equation. 

     

    But to diebenny point, I remember having a group of 5-8 friends in college that would go to the comic book store together.  Now, it is hard for me to make it into a store either weekly or monthly, thus the reason I buy my books monthly through an online store.  (and then listen to the podcasts 4 weeks after the fact HA!)

     

  20. Simmons Simmons says:

    @QuayLewd and @diebenny I would have to agree. There are definitely a handful of trades I bought directly from an iFanboy influence. I jumped on numerous titles and really enjoyed everything, but over the last year and a half I have slowed down am only reading the titles I feel are real unique. 

    This contraction, while negative, I feel does not really show any threat to the industry. 

    @QuayLewd, awesome name

    @diebenny, awesome pic m/

  21. Qpeeples Qpeeples says:

    The idea that Comic Book Movies will create Comic Book Readers is fundamentally flawed and should be abandoned.  Here’s why: They demand completely different things from the audience.  The movie is a passive experiene that only lasts two hours and then I’m done.  I don’t need to seek out a special venue for it, track multiple storylines, wait when it isn’t delivered when promised, etc. (all of which are common in Comic Book Reading).  So, can we set that theory aside as ridiculous once and for all?

    The drop in sales for comics, I believe, is rooted in all the previous comments here – the 15 minute reading experience is too expensive for the entertainment delivered, the current creative climate is stale, (except for a few exceptions), and the delivery system is changing – digital, bookstores, etc.  My pull list has collapsed over the past six months as Blackest Night malaise drifted into Brightest Day boredom, vampires invaded the Heroic Age and nothing compelling happened at Image (on time).  I have found great things in the corners, but they have been minor pleasures.  We’re in a plateau time and the sales figures reflect that.

  22. ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

    I do think this is going to teach the big 2 they can’t take a break from events.  That might not really be the root cause, but I bet we’ll see more of it before we see less.  That’s a value-neutral judgment — there can be good events or awesome ones — but I have to say I’ve noticed that I’m buying fewer comics each week, without making a conscious decision to do so, and that’s probably got something to with it. 

    I don’t know if numbers are available or not, but I wonder how much of this is due to stores closing from the bad economy?  The industry might be able to withstand a recession for a while as stores try to weather out decreased individual sales, but when entire stores close, you’ll have customers who either can’t or don’t seek out a substitute supplier.  

  23. QuayLewd QuayLewd says:

    @Simmons, after further reflection, we probably shouldn’t not give TOO much credit to iFanboy. There are just SO MANY titles and publishers and reprints and multi-format offerings and AMAZING creators. Supply goes up, demand falls (for all the reasons cited above), and SHAZAM! the pressures emerge to lower prices and supply.

  24. Harper Harper says:

    Over the last few months my pull list has gone down to 6 then 5 then 4 titles that I’m buying in issues, while I’m buying over 15 titles in trades. However I’m buying much fewer trades than I had expected to. For some reason the trades just aren’t coming out.

  25. Neb Neb says:

    I’m not an economics professor, but I believe there may have just been a delayed reaction to the economic environment within comics.  The force of the economic downfall may just be now hitting our sector of the entertainment market.

    I’m sure price increase had something to do with it, but at the same time, it doesn’t seem the publishers really cut back on what they’re printing.  They’re still putting out the same number of books to an audience that has less loose cash to spend.  Marvel, who seems to put out 800 books a month, could cut some of their overhead by not producing 20 Shadowland tie-ins.  DC could lose some of the fat with the insane number of Batman books coming out. 

    Does that solution hurt creators?  Yes, it does unfortunately cut back on their potential revenue, but it’s also a business.  I’m probably wrong with my theory, and I’m sure Wood will swoop in and enlighten us all on what’s going on.  Until then, this is my theory.

  26. Its price plus quality for me. I’m sick of being burned on average to subpar 3.99 books, so i only buy a very small amount of titles a month. I drop things fast if i’m not enjoying it. Everything else i trade wait and i usually forget about most of those. I have a laundry list of trades i really really want, that i just haven’t gotten to yet or can’t fit in my monthly budget. My unread stack/shelf is big so now i’m just reading what i have. 

    My LCS guy was telling me how Marvel puts out close to 200 titles a month that he could stock. He only gets a small fraction of things that people have asked for on pull list or that he knows will sell, and even then he’s stuck with stock for months. Too much supply, not enough demand.

  27. MattKelly MattKelly says:

    @Neb – you are on the nose.  I work for a direct marketing company that specializes in a certain demographic (very different and yet similar to comics fans), and the economic downturn is just now hitting us.  Sure, we felt it before, but now its slapping us hard.

     That said, sales will hopefully improve when our nation as a whole gets out of this basement.  This is not the first time this industry has seen hard times.  Nor will it be the last.  And there may yet be another renaissance around the corner.

     What DOES complicate the issue are these two factors (which my own company is currently wrestling with): first, the rising cost (and diminishing use) of paper.  Second, the multiple platform aspect of digital distribution.  These are two huge issues that aren’t going to go away.  The industry as it was for the last 20 years will certainly change.  I won’t speculate on how we’ll get our comics, but regardless I don’t think sequential image storytelling will become a dying art form.  It shouldn’t, as long as we don’t forget about the kids- the growth, nurturing and education of the next generation of comics readers is more important now than ever!

  28. Nordh Nordh says:

    I think every place that sells magazines should also offer some comic books. I want to see some big titles at the register as I’m checking out or have stopped for gas on my road trip. This has worked well in Europe, people who don’t read comics on a regular basis will provide revenue if it’s easily accessible to them.

  29. ericmci ericmci says:

    I honestly wish .cbr downloads were more popular

    Naptser and the like were the only reason the music industry ever changed their distribution methods.

    Marvel needs to stop dicking around and put together a model that refelctes a lower production costs  pricepoint for digital

    put out more current titles availabel for dl and make them printable/saveable whatever b/c you bought them

    And focus on a mix of high quality trades and some core titles for the LCS maybe even through in some tryout out books on cheaper paper.

    It cut costs- it puts the right copy in the right hands and it increases chances of purchase.

  30. TomO TomO says:

    We need a good $3.99/22 page event book to come out and put this to the test to see if it’s the pricing or the event-lessness that’s to blame.

    It’s all about price for me, and my current slate of two Marvel books (down from probably 20 or so two years ago) is a direct reflection of their pricing policies.

    On the flip side, my DC purchasing habit is going to be increasing come January.  Too late to help the fourth quarter, but I’m going to be supporting the company with better pricing policies come the new year.

  31. I cut back on about 30% of usual pulls in the last half year, but almost all of them were crappy titles I’ve been buying too long already in hope they’d be getting as good as they used to at some point.

    I’m not stock piling money, not saving for a new car or anything, I just wanted to punish crappy ongoing comics.

    All while I’m always available for "rewarding excellence. Put out more new awesome series like Captain Britain/Agents of Atlas/Madame Xanadu and I’ll be in buying more comics again! Make more ongoing titles as crappy as Green Arrow, Wolverine Origins and even Batman and I’ll be dropping MORE titles!

     

    Big events? Not happy… but make’em awesome and I’ll be buying them tie-ins, it’s as easy as that.

  32. It’s a price thing for me. I just don’t want to spend $4 on a single issue that I’ll read once and more than likey never look at again. Moreover, it takes, what, minutes to read a comic? In terms of costs+time, it’s a damn expensive form of media to consume for how much time you spend enjoying it.

    At any rate, I’m perfectly fine with buying trades because it’s more affordable, easier to archive on a shelf and I like having at least an idea of how good the run has been before I spend on it. Also, I’m HUGE on things like behind the scenes and special features, and trades are full of those.

    What I mean to say is that I’m not anti-single issues or anything, I just have to REALLY love a title to buy it, now and even then, I still feel a twinge of guilt for spending on them (poor college student). It’s just not worth it to be dropping $4 a title on a pile of sub-par books. What’s more, I don’t even want to spend $4 a title on "pretty good" books.

  33. el355 says:

    I still feel there is a “smarter” way to leverage box office sales into comic sales.  If Hollywood can milk sales from a movie then the industry can somehow benefit from the movie.  But from the reading more perspective from the community, I will say that my statement is won’t work because the economy trumps everything.  The government says that unemployment is slightly under 10%, but real unemployment is 15-17% (or even more in some areas).  1 out of every 9 people is living at poverty.  I won’t even get into how many people could be underemployed.  A parent may not want to spend $3/$4 on an issues or $15 on a trade for their kid.  I feel the economic argument may hold water.  The people who continue to collect comics could be buying only the books that they really enjoy and cutting out the 2/3 star book that they use to buy when thing were buying over 3 years ago. 

  34. @QuayLewd @Simmons  @diebenny

    I completely agree! The internet reviews and online trade buying made it so simple to find a good jumping on point!
    Some 2 years ago I read the one or other great-awesome-cheering review and instantly bought 3-4 trades to get in and catch up.
    It was just during the last 1 1/2 years, I more and more realized, how crappy those titles have gotten /been-are at some times.

    We really are onto something, aren’t we?

  35. Jetstorm Jetstorm says:

    I belive we are seeing the end of the Event Era. In past are now the years when people in their colector madness bought every book with the current event banter. We aren’t being fool anymore, so sale just drop. And i’m fine with it. The big two should find a new way to take the money from our pockets!

  36. Spoons Spoons says:

    "largest year over year quarterly decline we’ve seen since we started tracking these numbers in 2004."

     I find your lack of data points disturbing.

  37. fnord fnord says:

    Burn, comics industry, burn.

    Reboot, come back stronger. 

  38. Smasher says:

    Interesting that ICv2 didn’t provide links to these Q3 stats.
    Not saying what they’re reporting is false but c’mon people, show your work. 

  39. AmirCat AmirCat says:

    Historically less emphasis on all-ages books will do that do you!

  40. AmirCat AmirCat says:

    * "to you" I mean.

  41. dkpwv says:

    Comic book sales and popularity have always waxed and waned. The biggest problem comics face is the availability of competing forms of entertainment. I have loved reading, enjoying and collecting comics since the early seventies and will never change. My son on the other hand collects superhero action figures, watches all the superhero cartoons and movies and plays Heroclix. Actually buying and reading a comic is another matter. That is the major issue to me. Not pricing or lack of events. It comes down to interest and I feel that comics are going the way of the newspaper; they will be around but in other media, not floppies.

  42. Hate to bitch about the 3.99 price point but that stops me from trying too much new stuff and it has to scare off new comers

  43. Wow!

    My LCS’ sales are up…

  44. azrael1213 azrael1213 says:

    Is it really a price or interest issue? Would be be fair to say it’s a quality issue? I mean, if the publishers can ensure quality in all of their popular series, wouldn’t that bring people back into buying them? People just want to have the best bang for their buck. I’m not going to shell out 3.99 if it’s not worth it imo. If they can cut back on the number of titles and invest more in market research and figure out how to appeal to a wider audience, rather than spending money on titles just to have bigger numbers, I think that that’d be a good approach. Quality over quantity.

     And as for the lesser known titles, I feel like most of their readership aren’t the average person who walks into a comic book shop. It’s mostly people who are already into comics and who frequent comic book discussion groups/sites that will discover then follow and support them.

  45. popaklaw popaklaw says:

    The economy hit my stack hard, killed it in fact.  No trades either.  Luckily, the library system in MD is carries a good amount of trades and hardcovers.  Working on Invincible collection 2, 3rd trade of Fables, Asterios, Amazing Spiderman trades are usually available the week they come out, and I am getting my first walking dead trade this week.

    I used to be a $50 a week habit. The library is my sequential art methadone clinic.

  46. @dkpwv I think that’s a huge part of it. I mean, I’m only 21 but even I know that the average young person is fine consuming their media, but they want it spoon-fed. 

    I also kind of feel like it’s a case of the snake eating itself. Sure there’s some all-age books, but that aside, comics are written for its core audience because that’s who buys them. Even if I WANTED to pick up a comic as a new reader, I’d feel lost in crossovers, events, clones, deaths, rebirths, etc. Single issues don’t really invite anyone outside of the clubhouse to dive in.

  47. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    @zachary – Maybe with X-Men, but we talk about comics every single week you can read from a cold stop. There is no shortage of good, reader friendly comics. None. There is a shortage of people willing to pay for them.

  48. azrael1213 azrael1213 says:

    @zacharybinks, @josh – I definitely agree with the fact that should a reader pick up a comic book issue, then there are definitely places where they can jump on and use resources online such as the various wiki’s to help fill in the gaps. However,  there’s definitely a stigma/fear to new readers to the comic-book medium that they don’t know where to start. It’s tough to just have someone willing to dive headfirst into the sea of comics, despite how friendly the waters actually are.

    I guess that’s why I’m more inclined to lean towards trades and one-shot comics? Do you think that the only solution to draw in a new readership by "relaunching" popular series every few years such as the Ultimate universe, and marketing THAT as the starting point?

  49. Price doesn’t matter, I think people spend a certain amount per month say $50 on comics. If prices go down great, that means you can get more with your $50. The question is what would it take to get you to spend $75, or $80 a month. I think that is a personal choice, something that is beyond DC or Marvel – it is the reality of the consumer and how much they can afford to spend based on their own personal income. Sure I would love to read more books a month, but my budget is $50, and I can’t afford more, even if they drop prices, the spending money of the consumer does not change… unless I get a pay raise, which isn’t going to happen.

  50.  @josh-to be fair, you guys probabally know A LOT more about characters/universes/events/storylines/titles etc than the average fan because of what you do for a living. You guys prob have NO IDEA how much information you’ve assimilated over the years about all this stuff….even things you’ve never read. Jumping in cold for you guys has to be easier than for other people.

    I’ve tried jumping in cold several times on various things that have been recommended. I’ve been lost. I’ve had better luck with trades than single issues. Not everyone is Jedi level like you guys are. 

  51. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    I really don’t. I don’t remember what I read last week. Really.

  52. Marvel Comics, winning the battle but losing the war.

     

    the Tiki 

  53. Some folksjust don’t like jumping in cold.

    I don’t.

  54. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    So don’t.

  55. @josh–i’d believe you when you say that. I can be that way with some things.

    but still, don’t underestimate the power of the subconscious. Brain’s are filling cabinets full of stuff we’ve experienced and heard. its like a Sports fan suddenly dropping a random stat during a game at you. 

  56. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    My point was still that there are dozens of comics that don’t require any real committment.

  57. @josh–i hear ya. I know that Jonah Hex is that way as well as many others. Some require more background knowledge than some let on. 

  58. froggulper says:

    "There is no shortage of good, reader friendly comics. None. There is a shortage of people willing to pay for them." – Josh

    "I really don’t. I don’t remember what I read last week. Really." – Josh

    Don’t you sense the disconnect here? You say there’s a ton of great comics out there, yet you don’t really remember any of them. And you blame people for not wanting to buy more disposable entertainment that isn’t really going to make much of an impression on them?

    This isn’t an iFanboy-centric problem (although if I had a dime for every time you guys said something like "I totally forgot what happened last issue", then I’d be able to afford a few more comics a week). This is a problem with the reading environment created by comics as they are now: They don’t make much of a lasting impression on readers. Maybe that’s partially the readers’ faults. Maybe we’re all a bit more distracted these days. But even if that’s the case, then comics are simply proving themselves incapable of remaining a worthwhile medium.

    That’s a harsh statement. And I personally LOVE quite a few comics these days. But overall, I can definitely see this happening. It’s evident. Sure, you get tons of people who are WOWed by the BIG comic release of the week…never to think about them ever again. And after a while, they realize (subconsciously, even) that this pursuit simply doensn’t make logical or financial sense.

    What’s the point of buying $50 worth of Grant Morrison Batman comics if, from month to month, you never remember any of what’s going on anyway? You may as well not even buy the series in the first place. What’s the point in spending $200 in Bendis Ultimate Spidey stories over the last few years if, in the end, the whole thing is a blur to you?

    This isn’t the case for me, but I definitely think it’s a factor in a lot of people’s decision to read fewer comics. We can hype ourselves up every week, thinking that the latest hot titles are truly great examples of comics and art in general. But if the next day we don’t even remember what the heck happened in them, then either we as a society have problems concentrating and remembering things (I do think this is a factor) AND/OR the comics simply aren’t good enough to make a lasting impression on us. 

  59. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    Those 2 statements aren’t connected. At all.

  60. Jesse1125 Jesse1125 says:

    @Josh I bet you can remember! Titles like Chew, Scalped, SweetTooth and other books you pick up religiously have a lasting effect.It interests me when you give your review about these because of your enjoyment of them.

    I think harwellpkg’s equation hit the nail on the head. As a fanboy it turns me off to see x number of #1 issues coming out weekly as an attempt to get people to expand their pull lists.

  61. ericwilder ericwilder says:

    I’m not trying to purchase fewer books, but it is seems like those titles that I have had pulled stopped shipping over the last few months. I just redid the list. Once I lock it in, only for the rare indie gem or the rave review do I ever stray from it.

  62. Chris Neseman ChrisNeseman says:

    I think it’s a lot of the points already discussed, and the combination of everything.

    Slow Economy
    Price Increase (it gave people looking for a way out the perfect excuse)
    Lack of MAJOR events and Event Burn-Out at the same time (how’s that for a paradox)

    And as a marketer, I think most comics companies including DC and Marvel do a terrible job of marketing their product both inside and outside of established readers. Case in point, if you are going to put a house ad in all of your books, DON’T make it an ad for Batman or Spider-Man.

    Another factor is that brick and mortar retail is in the shitter. People are becoming internet consumers more and more. Unless you’re a customer at a place like DCBS, single issue comics aren’t really attractive to buy online.

  63. Clobbertron Clobbertron says:

    "Comics aren’t just failing to create new readers. Comics aren’t even maintaining the numbers they have" That says it all right there. I’ve been jerked around by the publishers on prices so I bought less. My LCS has dropped the discount from 15 to 10 and to 0 percent also. With no incentive to shop locally I moved to online, saving money and buying less in the process.

  64. AMuldowney AMuldowney says:
  65. IroncladMerc says:

    It’s the fact that the big 2 keep putting out more and more books, and people are getting tired of having to buy 20 titles to get the full story. Look at the obscenity that DC is perpetrating with the Return of Bruce Wayne. 8 one shots? really? That’s ridiculous. And they are going to put out even more Batman books after this? This is why sales are down, too many titles and not enough readers can buy them all.

  66. marshak75 marshak75 says:

    I haven’t bought them lately because I have other monetary commitments and a newborn.  ‘Nuff said.  I’m certainly not avoiding them because there aren’t any events.  If anything, I’m GLAD there are no events right now.  I just want to read good stories.  I am kind of bummed about missing Brightest Day and Generation Lost.

  67. This only covers diamond’s sales to the direct market right?

    So that still leaves digital sales and sales to book stores.
    And apparently Marvel was really happy with its digital sales from what I heard.
    So… this may just be the death march for print periodicals before the glorious digital revolution happens.

  68. angelicfey says:

    @ironcladmerc The Return of Bruce Wayne ‘one shots’ are really just single issues of their respective character’s titles in one shot drag. So not a big issue, at least from where I’m sitting. I’m reading Batgirl and Birds of Prey right now; and since I know Bruce Wayne is the ‘brand owner’ for Bat related characters it makes sense for him to check in with everyone and for that to be a big deal.

  69. angelicfey says:

    A major issue that I see is created by readily available manga. When you have both manga and DC/Marvel issues side by side; the math becomes very simple. $6-$8 for around forty pages of content vs. $8-10 dollars for 150 to 200+ pages of content.  One major thing I don’t understand is why Marvel doesn’t try doing more trades the way they did with their pseudo-manga line (Tsunami I believe?). High quality but standard paper at $10 dollars for six issues worth of content.  Keep the glossy paper for hardcover trades for the hard core collectors. Focus on getting them into Fred Meyer/WalMart/Target/etc book shelves.  Both Marvel and DC have quite a few series’ that would be picked up by large numbers of people if sold in this manner.

  70. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    You know manga sales are way down in the US too, right?

  71. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:
  72. newway12 says:

    yes manga sales are down but it still sells better then comics right now. I think that the decline in sales is all about pricing and the state of the economy. Comics should be cheap  

  73. Jesse1125 Jesse1125 says:

    The line of this thread " Look at the obscenity that DC is perpetrating with the Return of Bruce Wayne" thank you Ironcladmerc

  74. Clobbertron Clobbertron says:

    Does anyone see it going to trades with ads in book stores?

  75. brassai2003 brassai2003 says:

    For me, I think part of it has to do with the lateness of some of the books i like. Though I’ve been on the Morrison bandwagon since Batman and son I pretty much forgot what was going on in RofBW because of the lateness. Dropped. Flash Rebirth. Dropped. Time Masters (great premise if you like Batman, but it’s shifted gears). Dropped. Those late books kill enthusasim for the story. Say what you will about Blackest Night and even BD, but I’m INTO it because it’s on time every month. And when you ask an editor at a con about it, you get some snarky ass answer like it’s an inside joke. They need to rethink the way they treat their customers who drive the business. 

    I also agree with someone above that there’s TOO many bats flying about. I mean, beyond Morrisson’s ego, is there REALLY a market for Knight and Squire and Batman Inc.  I didn’t get into Batman because he was like Tony Stark. I got into batman because he’s….BATMAN.

  76. @angelicfy–DC dropped their Manga imprint because it was not profitable. The most expensive variable in printing is paper, so the higher page count with lower price margins and no A-list licenses is a recipe for failure. 

    the glossy paper used in comics is the same as cheap magazines and junk mail. It costs less than newsprint and its easier to print on. Uncoated papers tend to be higher quality and cost more. 

    I do agree that Comics should be sold in Wallmart, Target, Best Buy etc. I suspect the fact that Diamond has the "no return policy" on product that "expires" weekly is enough to keep them away. Stores like Hastings have a big enough challenge getting new comics on the shelves by the weekend let alone on Wednesdays. 

  77. angelicfey says:

    @wallythegreenmonster

    Ah, so thats why Marvel hasn’t tried digest style again. Of course that would seem to make charging even $3 per issued highly over-priced.  As for DC’s manga line; it wasn’t profitable because they never managed to run anything readers cared about. I can’t remember a single title they had that looked greatly interesting. And from what I understand; it also failed because they didn’t do a good job of promoting the line. Similar to one of the main reasons the MINX graphic novel line floundered.

    The ‘no returns’ thing has got to be a major issue. I’d forgotten about that bit. But even if/when DC and Marvel get their stuff into these new venues they’re still going to be have to find a way to keep prices competitive with other distractions. Nearly every store like this has a huge wrack of Naruto/Yugioh/Magic/X new collectible card game. If I’m a twelve year old kid looking for the most bang for my entertainment buck; $3-4 per pack of cards that I can play with every day or trade to my card playing friends is going to look like a much better value. Gah. $3-4 for a pack of Magic cards. I remember when they were $2 dollars. I feel old.

  78. @angelicfy—-from what i understand, Manga is all about licensed titles, and thats its own world. DC’s imprint couldn’t get any A-List titles…i believe the quote was something to the effect of "we have no Naruto" so they were getting all the 2nd and 3rd tier stuff. Plus they started that imprint cause they felt they needed to, not because anyone over there cared about manga y’know?

    Toys R Us sells some comics…they put it in the superhero aisle, but i’d rather have an action figure than a comic if i were a kid…they cost the same.  

  79. Clobbertron Clobbertron says:

    Why doesn’t iFanboy have a forum?

  80. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    Working on it.