Amazing Spider-Man Newsstand Sales Trend

Slide from Newsstand Rarity Discussion & Estimates; discussion below.

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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 the statement numbers for Amazing Spider-Man as published by Marvel Comics, for the years where these statements exist.

I have charted two data series here: the blue bars are the average total sales per issue for Amazing Spider-Man for that year as reported by Marvel, and the purple bars are the returns per issue in the same reports. Any returns would only be returns of newsstand copies, because direct edition copies were sold on a non-returnable basis. For the period circled in cyan at the left, we can observe that the returns numbers exceed the sales numbers through 1982. As quoted in another slide, it was common for newsstands to sell only on the order of 30% of the comics displayed, and the rest would be returned to the publisher. Therefore we can look at the purple bars, and draw a reasonable conclusion that newsstand sales were some amount smaller than the returns.

The average returns of the later years circled in orange is a very low average number, which suggests the number of copies actually sold on newsstands would be smaller still. Marvel eventually stopped publishing these statements, but as we saw on another slide, David Gabriel indicated newsstand sales through outlets other than bookstores ended sometime circa 2010-2011, while newsstand sales to those bookstore outlets ended in 2013. For that 2013 year, as we saw on another slide, the industry-wide newsstand sales estimate for that year came in at a mere 6.8%. We also saw on another slide that when Jemas came on board in 1999, Marvel’s newsstand sales represented 14%; and a decision was made to “walk away” from the newsstand.

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