The Comics Are All Right: A Cover Price What If?
In last week’s “The Comics Are All Right” I explored that the reason for the recent nervousness in the comic industry and stores could easily be explained by the drop in “weighted cover price” for the top 300 comics.
For those that haven’t read last week’s column, as reported so far Comichron:
- All Unit Sales For Diamond Comics increased by 1 million
- Unit Sales for Diamond Comics Top 300 Comics increased by 180,000
- Unit Sales for Diamond Comics Not 300 increased by 820,000
So, more comics were sold. HOWEVER:
- Dollar sales for all Diamond’s comics decreased by $6 million
- Dollars sales for Diamond’s top 300 decreased by $8.9 million
- Combined dollar sales for Diamond’s top 300 comics and trade paperbacks decreased by $5.22 million
While more units were sold, less money was coming in. WHY?
The weighted average price for Diamond’s top 300 comics decreased by 11 cents.
If we assume shops aren’t sitting on a ton of excess comics that aren’t being sold (and judging by monthly reporting of the estimated number of comics ordered, that’s not the case), the yes the problem shops are facing is that the top 300 comics aren’t bringing in the dollars that they were in 2015. Yes, it really is that simple.
In 2015 the weighted average price for a top 300 comics was $3.96 a 17 cent increase from 2014, while the top 300 comics average price was $3.85 in 2016 which is an 11 cent decrease.
I’m a big fan of Marvel’s comic series What If? and decided with this knowledge to play a little “what if” of my own.
“What If? 2015 Saw the Same Average Weighted Cover Price as 2014?” and the sequel “What If? 2016 Saw the Same Average Weighted Cover Price as 2015?”
Here’s the stats:
As you can see, there’s a big difference. If 2015’s average price was the same as 2014’s there’d still have been an expansion in dollars sales, though not as much as there was in reality ($15 million less to be precise).
2016 is a totally different world. Instead of being a $8.9 million decrease from the previous year, we actually see dollars in increase by $15.871 million if cover prices remained the same (a $24.771 million swing).
We don’t know how many shops there are in the US, but here’s the possible gains.
Instead of a loss, stores gained a significant amount of money in this scenario. Now, there is a flaw in this thinking in that most likely the units sold would not have been the same, they’d have likely decreased. But in this scenario, we’re keeping it as if everything else remained unchanged.
While 11 cents might not seem like a lot, you can see how much of a difference that can make. Cover prices do matter, and they matter… A LOT!