Saturday, February 18, 2012
Latest sales figures of UK comics
Above: A preview of next week's Kid Cops from The Dandy No.3572, on sale Wednesday 22nd February.
The ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) figures have just been released for publications from July to December 2011. As you may recall, the previous figures (Jan - June 2011) delivered quite a shock in regards to The Dandy, which was apparently down from 15,012 from its 2010 figures to 7,448.
There were fears that this would decrease even more, particularly as some shops no longer stock it (readers can't buy it if they can't find it) but there's some good news in that the sales seem to have stabilized. The latest figures are 7,489. A tiny increase but better than a decrease.
The issues with cover mounted toys sold above average, including the bumper Christmas issue. As distribution was better on those issues that must be taken into consideration. Getting the comic noticed is half the battle, and as some shops stuff the comics in the shelves upside down, back to front, or out of reach of children, the fact that sales have stabilized is some sort of achievement.
It's not cause to be complacent though. As production and distribution costs rise, comics still need to increase sales to survive.
The Dandy's stablemate The Beano saw a rise from 37,145 to 38,333 but its monthly version, BeanoMax saw a fall from 24,438 to 22,094. (Hopefully the fresh new cover design instigated this month will improve its fortunes.) Meanwhile, Egmont's Toxic climbed from 40,503 to 41,521. Viz fell from 67,851 to 64,233 but still remains the top selling UK comic featuring originated material (excluding nursery magazines).
You can see the full details of all the UK comics (well, the ones that submit their data) over at John Freeman's Down the Tubes site here. It's a rewarding and well researched website and shows how sales have fallen considerably on all titles over the past five years with several titles losing half their readers over that time.
The information is visibly at odds with the notion voiced elsewhere by a couple of relentless critics who always single out The Dandy and assert that declining sales of that comic are mainly due to readers disliking the modern artwork. As sales of all comics, magazines, and newspapers have plunged over the years there are obviously other factors at play apart from content that should be considered. Therefore it's a pity that "content" is regularly pinpointed by one or two spiteful people posting snide and sometimes personally insulting comments on their blogs to try and demoralize the editors, writers, artists and readers who are actively doing something to keep comics alive.
The Down The Tubes site also carries information on sales figures of comics in the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, it was standard for an individual comic to sell a quarter of a million or even half a million copies a week! Of course that was an era before video games, computers, mobile phones, weekend adventure holidays or hanging around fast food burger bars posed a distraction from reading matter. However, the very fact that there are still several thousand kids in the UK who do still read comics is something to be pleased about.