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 showing a compilation of the average per-issue sales numbers and returns numbers for Amazing Spider-Man, from statements published by Marvel (note that not every year has a statement actually available, and eventually Marvel stopped publishing these). Because only newsstand sales were returnable (versus direct edition sales which were non-returnable), the returns column reflects only newsstand copies being returned.
In 1978 there were more returns than sales; in 1979 distinguishable “direct edition” comics began to be sold; in 1980 the first “direct market exclusive” was introduced; 1982 is the last year where returns outnumber sales; by 1985 there are published estimates out there that direct edition sales overtook newsstand sales (as quoted in other slides). Looking at that 1985 returns number for Amazing Spider-Man, in relation to the sales number, the level of returns was about half that of sales; down from return numbers exceeding sales numbers back in 1982 and prior. In the context of the quote from another slide about how newsstand sales were 14% when Jemas came on board in 1999, and that Marvel made a decision to “walk away” from the newsstand, for that 1999 year we have returns down to 77,951 copies, which would plummet to 17,210 copies for 2001. I present a bar chart of these figures in the next slide.