1986 Attempt To Save The Newsstand

Slide from Newsstand Rarity Discussion & Estimates; discussion below.

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1986-attempt-save-newsstand

This slide is part of my post entitled
Newsstand Rarity Discussion & Estimates where I have collected quotes and graphics related to the discussion of relative newsstand rarity over the years, compared to direct edition copies. In this slide, I am discussing a quote about the state of Marvel’s newsstand sales in 1986:

“I felt that we needed the newsstand market. That, if we became completely dependent on the Direct Market, we’d wind up in the same position as when we’d been entirely dependent on the newsstand market. Up the creek without a paddle. Screwed. Helpless. At their mercy. I spoke with Marvel’s newsstand sales manager, Denise Bové. Denise was in charge of our dealings with Curtis. Like me, she felt the pendulum had swung too far. So did our Curtis account people. We came up with a number of support-the-newsstand-distribution ideas. I suggested, for instance, doing a newsstand exclusive. Why not? You know the Direct Market shops would go to their local ID’s and buy copies anyway. It would be a big hit for the ID’s, and maybe the retailers they served. And great PR in that market. Maybe get them interested in comics again. A little. That would have been in 1986. At that point, I was engaged in daily battles with the President and the other owners of Marvel.”

— Jim Shooter, Comic Book Distribution Part III

What is particularly interesting to me about this quote, is that it reveals how by 1986 the pendulum had swung so far in the direction of direct edition sales (away from newsstand sales) that Shooter was trying to support the newsstand channel and engaging in daily battles. I find this quote particularly notable in the context of 1980’s newsstand sales estimates given by Rozanski (quoted in another slide), where his 1985 and 1986 estimates drawing from two different articles were 50% newsstand, down from 94% newsstand in 1979. That pendulum sure took quite a swing, considering that direct edition sales only began in that 1979 year.

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