A year and a half ago, I attended an investor conference where Marvel (prior to its acquisition by Disney) presented, and the speaker was John Turitzin, EVP & General Counsel. His presentation was relatively standard fare (for those of us who have been to this type of dog and pony show before), but then someone brought up the issue of recent price increases from $2.99 to $3.99. Turitzin responded (care of Robot 6):
“We’re always testing our pricing on our comic books to see to the extent to which it is inelastic, and we can increase our profit in that business,” Turitzin said. He added that different books have different price points, noting the most popular titles saw a price increase, while the lower-selling monthlies, as well as the comics aimed at kids, did not. “We’re just looking to maximize our profits for that business while not alienating our own fan base by making them feel that they’re gouged, which I hope you don’t feel,” he told the fan.
“Our goal is to maximize our revenue, and if we’re not maximizing revenue then our pricing is wrong, and we have to take a look at that … so you can hope we see that attrition, and our prices come down.”
- All 32-page (standard) comics to $2.99 from $3.99
- Majority of 40-page comics will move to 32-page format and lower price to $2.99
- Story content from 22 pages to 20 pages (meaning two more pages of ads)
- Oversized, specials and annuals will still be priced higher
- NEW books will be priced at $2.99 instead of $3.99 beginning in January
- Both companies also alluded to reductions in their overall lines, as well, but didn’t elaborate
This is something [the fans] are asking for, and we want them to show us that it does mean something. Because really, the conventional wisdom up till this point have been that the fans will pay whatever it takes to buy their favorite comics, and I think there's a certain amount of cynicism in that. And I think it ultimately leads to the destruction of our business because you can't just keep asking people to buy more and more expensive books, especially in a down economy like we're experiencing.
Jason is a mutant with the ability to squeeze 36 hours into every 24-hour day, which is why he was able to convince his wife he had time to join the iFanboy team on top of running his business, raising his three sons, and most importantly, co-hosting the 11 O'Clock Comics podcast with his buddies Vince B, Chris Neseman and David Price. If you are one of the twelve people on Earth who want to read about comics, the stock market and football in rapid fire succession, you can follow him on Twitter.