Marvel Phasing out Retail Comic Distribution to Focus on Digital


Marvel is endeavoring to focus almost exclusively on digital distribution to maximize revenue. In the past few months the company has pulled their comics from bookstores all over the world. You would be hard-pressed to find anything but the odd graphic novel in your favorite bookstore, such as Barnes and Noble.

Marvel is finding that they are selling more comics online, than they are in the retail environment. Comixology is their main partner in the digital sphere and they have dedicated reading apps on every major platform. They have sold over 125,000,000 comics since 2009, most of them from Marvel.

Selling digitally obviously has its merits. Marvel does not have to worry about printing as many comics anymore and having them shipped back to the supplier if they don’t sell. This is more or less how bookstores handle books, magazines, newspapers and comics. If they don’t sell before they become irrelevant they get cash back from the supplier from the inventory that is unsold. Comic shops on the other hand, are normally stuck with whatever inventory they purchase. If single issues go unsold, they go right into the bargain bins.

Marvel has trained their audience to buy digitally. Whether you have an iPad, Android, Windows or a myriad of others, you can buy comics in the comfort of your own home and get them the second the clock hits midnight on comic book Wednesdays. The process is simplified and digital comics don’t take up as much room as the physical thing.

Bookstores in the US and Canada are still carrying graphic novels by Marvel. This is primarily due to the fact they are being sourced by Hachette, instead of Diamond Comic Distributors. Diamond is still the ones who are selling individual comics and graphic novels to comic shops, but for how long?

What are Marvels plans for the future? The company is trying to be less reliant on Comixology and develop their own digital infrastructure. They have been hiring developers, designers and coders to make their own comic selling app. They hope to incorporate Marvel Unlimited, Marvel AR, Marvel Events and their new comic store into a singular experience. They basically realize that digital is their future and they don’t want to have all of their eggs in one basket with Comixology.

Michael Kozlowski (5138 Posts)

Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about electronic readers and technology for the last four years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the Huffington Post, CNET and more. Michael frequently travels to international events such as IFA, Computex, CES, Book Expo and a myriad of others. If you have any questions about any of his articles, please send an email to

  • Jace

    This article is complete nonsense. It has been known for QUITE some time that Marvel and DC are no longer going to distribute books through retailers. The headache of returns being the primary reason for this. The direct market is stronger than ever though and guess what? THEY SELL PAPER BOOKS!!!!!

  • Michael Kozlowski

    You are wrong. Comic Book Stores are closing in record numbers in the US. Marvel is focusing on a pure digital strategy now

  • JordanPlosky

    So, is this a new story? Or the story from a few months back? Where did you get your sources? None of the comic trade websites are reporting this… Would love to know more. Not being confrontational, but have to question.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    Ok lets look at it. Diamond is Marvels main distributor to stores. Diamond recently abandoned their entire digital infrastructure due to the lack of demand from the stores and Marvel not buying into it. Bookstores found Diamond impossible to deal with and switched their sourcing to Hachette. Diamond now has lost a tremendous amount of revanue and their sourcing directly to stores is seeing dimmished returns. This is mainly because people are buying digital. Comixology is the largest digital comic selling company. Marvel wants to have more control over distribution and make better margins. Marvel is working on their own comic reselling app and will phase out comixology. More comic book stores closed in 2012-2013 than any previous year, which follows the bookstore trend of second hand and chains closing. comic book shops don’t sell digital, and have not ofset the revanue loses.

  • JordanPlosky

    Hi Michael,
    Thanks for your reply. As you say, I have been “looking at it”. Digital comics is my business. And these claims that you have made do not have a source, nor anyone substantiating said claims, other than yourself. Unless you would like to share those sources, and put this conundrum to bed?
    We are all aware of Marvel ending their distribution into BOOK stores (different than comic stores for anyone else reading this). Diamond Digital failing had nothing to do with Marvel. There are articles by reputable comic news sites with step by step reasons that led to the downfall of Diamond Digital. None of those reasons had to do with Marvel.
    As a comic friend pointed out to me, digital makes up about 10% of the marketplace. Why would Marvel just toss away the other 90% of profit that they are making from print sales? Or are you merely speculating that in anywhere from 5-20 years that this will be the case?
    I would really like to know aside from yourself, where this information is coming from. It would certainly help you make your claim stand up. Thanks.

  • John Nelson

    This is a BS article, hacked out so the writer could collect his $35 fee. Next.

  • Jerry

    I’d even go one further Jordan. Take a look at Ebay and tell me if
    print is dead, and they’re going to digital. People are hungry for
    physical comics, thanks to television and movies. Collectors are still
    the main consumers of comic books, and there is no value, perceived or
    real, in digital comics. Without collectors buying the comics that they
    do, the medium will most likely die. There are far fewer numbers of
    people that just “read” comics than there are those that collect and
    read. I don’t have any “numbers” to back that up, other than the
    numbers in dollars that are being paid for comics online. Comics that
    came out a month ago are fetching three and four time cover price just
    as soon as a movie or tv deal is announced.

    Trust us Michael, print comics aren’t going the way of the dodo anytime soon.

  • Ilpalazzo

    Comic shops are going the way of video rental shops. Art is even being replaced as completely digital, and movies are almost completely digital. Phase out actors, artists, just outsource it and underpay another company in Singapore.

  • Ryan

    You are not a journalist.

  • Mikael

    Wow. So many unproven, unauthenticated statements of generalizations and incorrect facts.

    “You would be hard-pressed to find anything but the odd graphic novel in your favorite bookstore, such as Barnes and Noble.”

    Marvel has only pulled their single issues. There are plenty of trades and hardcover collections to be found at stores. Current and popular ones. This statement is wrong.

    “They have sold over 125,000,000 comics since 2009, most of them from Marvel.”

    No proof. Gross over-exaggeration. Most of them Marvel? Wrong again. A rough estimate of just the Top 300 comics sold in 2013 puts it at 85 million. And that’s just through Diamond and that’s just the Top 300 each month. That’s not including subscriptions or other avenues. Here’s the proof:

    “Marvel has trained their audience to buy digitally.”

    How? I own mobile devices. I have to purchase comics from ANY publisher. No examples, no research.

    “Bookstores in the US and Canada are still carrying graphic novels by Marvel. This is primarily due to the fact they are being sourced by Hachette, instead of Diamond Comic Distributors. Diamond is still the ones who are selling individual comics and graphic novels to comic shops, but for how long?”

    I thought you said there were only odd-graphic novels in bookstores in your first paragraph? Contradictory. And no, book stores still purchase through Diamond as well as other avenues.

    Sheesh. What a horrible “article”.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    North American
    Dollar Sales for Diamond’s Comics, Trade
    Paperbacks, and Magazines for 2013

    $517.66 million

    (up 9.04%

    Digital Comics $145 million in 2013
    75 million in 2012. That is larger growth then print comics.

    in 90s, numbers like 8,000 comic shops sold comics
    2,638 comic shops in 2013

    summary: digital is growing fasting then print. comic shops continue to close year on year.

  • Tom Lovell

    Comic books stores closed in droves back in the late 90s due to over-saturation of product. The comic book companies need to think about what they’re doing because by going digital, they’ll be putting a lot of people out of work. Marvel may be owned by The Mouse, but they need to rethink what they’re doing.

  • Danny Donovan

    This is not true. Speaking for someone who works in the comics industry, and has managed a book store, the Marvel/DC trades are not ONLY from Diamond. Diamond has exclusive distribution rights for comic shops. However places like ingram, IPD, Ubiquity, etc do offer Marvel trades to book stores and a selection of comics, (much like Archie, although due to all-ages sensibilities of large distributors like Ingram, they tend to only want to solicit the Marvel Ages books, and things that skew to a younger demo.)

  • Michael Kozlowski

    graphic novels are the only things found in Barnes and Noble, Books-a-million because they are distributed by Hachette. Marvel is simply not selling selling issue comics anymore to bookstores at all, only dedicated comic shops. and one link does not mean proof.

  • LetsTalkComics

    As someone who has worked inside the industry – you’re looking at the numbers in all the wrong ways. Just because the numbers arent what they were in the 90’s doesnt mean at all the industry is on death’s door. It’s actually the healthiest it’s been in a while.

    To say ANY publisher is solely focused on digital is a pure example of fear mongering for clicks. Is digital growing? Of course, but its not growing at the expense of print.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    it may be healthy now, but there is less and less stores every year, so the customers switch from the one closest to them to one further away. Comic shops are going the way of the bookstore. They have no plans for digital, and no way to capitalize on digital. the more comics go digital and customers have incentive to goto digital the retail ecosystem will suffer. Look at what marvel is doing at South by southwest. giving 150k away in free amazon vouchers for people to buy digital. Marvel has control over digital distribution but dont have the clout to offer this sort of campaign in the retail sphere.

  • Noto

    New technology always grows faster than existing technology. A few years ago there was no market for digital and now there is. That’s simple growth. Comic issue sales in the direct market are not decreasing at all. Certainly Marvel isn’t, who month after month has the highest percentage of market share. The whole industry is using digital to gain new and lapsed readers. It’s only helping the direct market.

  • LetsTalkComics

    Marvel isnt giving away the vouchers, ComiXology is. Call Marvel up – they’ll tell you what they’re doing to help their partners in the direct market 😉

  • Toasty

    The 125m comics was supposed to be through comixology, not Diamond. This does seem like an insanely high figure, but is for 4 years of sales and could include Marvel’s complete back catalog (at the very least I believe they have the complete Amazing Spider-Man and Uncanny X-men runs in digital format).

  • Toasty

    The direct market doesn’t do returns, or are you talking about them abandoning regular book stores?

  • Jay Bardyla

    Actually, there are not fewer comic shops, there are more than last year and increasing. Comic and trade sales have been growing constantly for the past 8 years. You need to do some actual research before you spout numbers and theories. Marvel has ZERO plans for cutting out print and going straight digital, especially since the majority of digital readers will not pay SRP for digital comics.

  • Jeff Lepage

    What you are saying is that they are making roughly $517 million for physical books/comics etc, while digital is $145 million. So what you are saying is that Marvel is going to throw away $517 million???? It doesn’t matter what the growth level is, NO ONE is going to throw away $517 million.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    The premise of the article is them “phasing it out” Marvel is investing in long-term digital, not relying on stores for the future.

  • KrisXX

    LOL!!! Print is far from dead. Quite a few new shops have opened in my area. Marvel will NEVER phase out print. Why was this rumor, that started a few years ago, even written about???? LOL!!!!!!!

  • DarklingMagick

    This does not seem very likely. I just bought the entire 2013 Marvel Now Morbius The Living Vampire compilation graphic novel, which was published in paperback in January. That’s just two months ago. And there’s no sign of a digital option for it. If they’re really switching to all digital you would think one of the first things to be available would be the latest Marvel NOW compilation graphic novel.

  • DarklingMagick

    Me thinks thou doth protest too much. You’re being very defensive of your claims. I recall this being said about physical books not long ago and yet, surprise, surprise, we still have them.

  • Yolanda M. Aquino

    if they are switching to digital they need to get their shit together I have had so much trouble redeeming the digital codes they include with some of the physical comics. Mainly them not showing up in my digital library and with no one on hand apparently to answer questions or fix the problem my bug tickets just sit there until eventually I am forced to have one missing from my digital library or repurchase it all over again (which I refuse to do)

  • David D.

    The best way to not enable click bait nonsense like this is to not engage. The person who wrote this clearly has little interest in the facts or knowledge many are bringing to this discussion. Better to skip it and spend your time discussing elsewhere.

  • Tommy Bonderenka

    The author of this article is a fucking idiot.

  • David Keith

    Marvel Unlimited web site is so difficult to use, I find myself spending more time trying to find the title and issue I’m after than the actual time it takes to read it. Cancelled that service after 2 months of trying it.

  • ivanbrandon

    US movies have shown more growth in China than in the US. That doesn’t mean they’re going to start phasing out theaters in the US.

    Corporations deal with multiple revenue streams. The entire premise of your reasoning is flawed.

  • koffin creep

    This will not last long it’s gonna kill the fact of true collecting. How are we so post to have rare or hard to find comics when they will be digital? Let alone how will they have velveiw? Marvel is gonna start out with a bang but will still lose because the collector wants the phical book not the download on his iPod.

  • Mark Rose

    Gee Marvel’s print business must be really hurting if they aren’t putting their stuff in Barnes and Noble, because you see TONS of those around these days….

  • JordanPlosky

    Michael, that one link is from one of the most reputable sources in the industry, and still one more link than you have provided to substantiate any of your claims.

  • Van Davis

    “Art” is “Art” whether digital or physical.

    You cannot phase out the artist, simply because the work transfers to digital. I personally work in both, as do many other illustrators.

    Don’t be an idiot.

  • Jake Blues

    Who is your source at Marvel who told you they are phasing out of print Michael? You don’t quote anyone so I guess its just your opinion. Also printed comics, trades and magazines in 2013 tallied up to a $500 million dollar industry. Up $100 million since 2012. I find it hard to believe that Marvel is going to just go cold turkey and quit print with being so solidly in the black.

  • Carr D’Angelo

    Diamond reported at the ComicsPRO meeting last week that sales continue to grow and the number of new accounts/stores is up.

  • Christian Valenzuela

    Lol. Jake’s heartbroken. 500 million is definitely a lot to throw away, if thats true, but you should remember that comics are basically what Disney makes the least profit on vs licensing and movies, which is where they make the real cash. So considering stopping comics would just be less headache to deal with for them, as well as out of the 500 mill worth of purchases, you can bet a good number of them would begrudgingly start buying digital, so they would still make a good number, I would be one of them. Sorry Jake, you’re gonna have to let it go.

  • Mikael

    Hi Toasty! Yup – I knew where the number came from. I was using that number he claims in the article, sold since 2009, compared to the number of units sold just through Diamond in just one year, 2013. Meaning, in just one year, the Top 300 comics sold through Diamond totaled up to 85mil. 125mil in Comixology in 4 years is a good number, but it’s nowhere close to what Local Comic Shops sell. Not to mention that’s only the Top 300 comics in a year. Diamond sells way more than that. Plus – there are other avenues not through Diamond that publishers sell to: subscriptions, overseas, etc. So the number he used isn’t anything to start going Digital only. Also – Comixology doesn’t carry all of Marvel’s back catalog. They do that on their own digital playform.

  • Mikael

    Jordan – thanks. I was just going to write that as well when I saw Michael’s reply. lol. Not to mention, the numbers used on that site are from Diamond itself! The “author” is still contradicting his opening statement of “You would be hard-pressed to find anything but the odd graphic novel in your favorite bookstore, such as Barnes and Noble.” by then saying “graphic novels are the only things found”. So which is it, Michael? The “odd graphic novel” or “graphic novels are the only things”. Cause those are two different things.

  • ichant

    “Diamond is still the ones who are selling individual comics and graphic novels to comic shops, but for how long?” We don’t know, because the writer didn’t bother to speak to Diamond, or anyone at small indy comic shops, where ordering policies differ vastly from those at bookstores like B&N. Which have never been much of a factor in the comic sales ecosystem, by the way. What a total joke. Do some reporting, man.

  • guy


  • Mikael

    Another point – so what if physical stores are closing en masse (which they aren’t). The past decade has seen an increase in online mail order comic sites – or physical stores opening up mail order sections on their websites. These online stores are even more of value to the Direct Market because customers order in advance – they preorder their books, meaning it’s a better way to account for sales than the casual customer that just browses off the racks. One of Diamond’s biggest accounts is a mail order business. Stores may or may not be closing, but there are plenty of other ways that are taking up the slack.

  • Jake Blues

    Just got word from an Editor at Marvel – this article is complete bullshit – like I suspected.

  • John Jackson Miller

    As Heidi MacDonald points out over at ComicsBeat, there are a number of flaws in the article’s basic understanding of the comics industry. The print comics industry earned more than $700 million in 2012 — you can see how it breaks down by category here — — and sales in comics shops are the largest portion of that — and were up again in 2013.

    What Marvel has withdrawn from is the returnable comics market — the magazine shelves, NOT the book shelves, at Barnes & Noble — and as my link illustrates, that’s a very small sliver of the market for print comics.

    As to the number of comics shops, Carr D’Angelo is correct — the figure is up. The “record numbers closing” is a headline that would have been true in 1994, the actual year when record numbers closed. I was there, editing the industry’s trade magazine, at the time — and historical information from then to now can be found on my Comichron site.

    The print comics industry is in relatively better shape than it’s been in a long time; two major channels, graphic novels and digital, have added hundreds of millions of dollars annually in business that didn’t exist at the turn of the century — all without substantially harming sales of the regular comic books. I invite readers to study the data and see for themselves.

  • Dennis L Barger Jr

    think about those numbers on a sliding scale, they sold roughly 650,000 comics in 2009, 2 million in 2010, 5.5 million in 2011, 17.5 million in 2012 and probably around 50 million comics in 2013. Impossible to know for sure because for some reason no one is saying what the numbers actually are. but if the 125 million from 2009 – 2013 is true, these numbers I have listed above are pretty solid on their growth curve. needless to say the big 1 isn’t going to kiss off cash in hand from print retailers for a small cut of 150,000,000 maximum in sales.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    Bookstores are only stocking graphic novels only, for now. The abandoned single issue comics within the last few months.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    Likely they are, maybe it has something to do with the six variant covers for each comic that comes out? gimmicks like this are the last ditch attempts to make modern comics collectible again, but fail.

  • JordanPlosky

    John, Thanks for chiming in, and for Comichron. Big fan of your site! I think the author of this story needs to familiarize himself with it.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    Its every bookstore, all over the world. Barnes and Noble, Books-a-million, indigo, wh smith, whitcoulis, Thalia, etc.

  • Jake Blues

    Thank you for some much welcomed Reality, John.

  • Mark Rose

    Yeah, I realize that. But those bookstores are disappearing FAST. not growing like the comic book direct market stores are. The individual issue sales from bookstores is such a small drop in the bucket compared to what they sell in comic book stores and online. They’re just pulling the plug on something that was pretty much useless. The digital market isn’t replacing the print business, it’s helping it grow. Digital is the new “spinner rack”.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    Collecting is more or less dead now.

  • Steve

    So I guess the money I’ve been making off of the comics I’ve been selling on ebay is just a figment of my imagination? Funny; somehow I’ve managed to pay my bills while unemployed (and no longer receiving unemployment assistance). Amazing how DJ’s have digital turntables to emulate vinyl, but still buy vinyl…which apparently has been dead for quite some time now. And no one buys dvd’s anymore either…which is why, even though it’s available on Netflix, “The Wonder Years” will finally be coming out on dvd later this year!

  • Steve
  • JordanPlosky
  • LadyAmethyst

    All of that is mere here-say. Citation is desperately required for any of this to be honestly & realistically discussed. Also, please note the links posted in the comments about how more retail comic stores opened than closed in 2013…I somehow doubt that was solely due to action figures & gaming nights.

  • Del Coro

    “Marvel is endeavoring to focus almost exclusively on digital distribution to maximize revenue.”


    ” In the past few months the company has pulled their comics from bookstores all over the world.”


    “You would be hard-pressed to find anything but the odd graphic novel in your favorite bookstore, such as Barnes and Noble.”


    “They have sold over 125,000,000 comics since 2009, most of them from Marvel.”


    And that’s the first two paragraphs.

  • Shannon O’Leary

    Yeah, what @Del Coro said. Where are the sources? The premise of this post is based on a 3 month old announcement and a bunch of conjecture out of thin air from the writer. It simply does not reflect the reality of the big picture of comics retail print sales to focus solely on B&N, Marvel and periodicals.

  • TheDon

    Maybe to you. Try telling that to the hundreds of thousands of collectors going into comic shops, rummaging flea markets & yard sales, and going to conventions.

  • Michael Kozlowski
  • Paul Little

    Heh. Okay.

  • A Floyd

    I will never “buy” digital comics or graphic novels. They will never go up in value. You can’t lend them out to friends. You can’t sell them to anyone else when you’re done having it. With physical paper books, I don’t need batteries to read them. If a book gets wet, I can still read the book. Also I don’t lose my entire collection if someone were to steal one of my books, nor can someone remove it from my possession without my permission just because they lose the rights to the material. And New Book Smell cannot be duplicated by plastic. I also have my priorities straight – If I had the money to buy something like an Android tablet, I’d use it to buy several printed books instead and get much more out of them.

  • A Floyd

    I have no need for blurryray and when something comes out in a blurryray / DVD combo pack and no DVD only release, I won’t buy it. The price is just artificially inflated just by putting the blurryray in there.

  • John Jackson Miller

    I think we’ve covered that. Single-copy newsstand distribution from Marvel ended. It’s also less than 10% of all single-copy sales of comic books, a comparative drop in the bucket. That does not equate to some seismic shift — just the elimination of the single least profitable method of distributing comics for publishers. Newsstand magazine publishers would love to have a non-returnable alternative like we have in the Direct Market.

    But that is a far cry from saying print is being abandoned — and as for the unlikelihood of finding more than the odd graphic novel in the bookstore, I don’t know what to make of that. Bookscan reported more than 10 million graphic novels sold in mainstream bookstores and their online outlets this past year, for more than $175 million: (

    I would wager there aren’t many bookstores left in North America that don’t have dedicated graphic novel sections. It’s too big a business to ignore. Mainstream bookstores are better at selling graphic novels than comic books, and Marvel adapted its offerings to that. That’s the story there, and not much more.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    The Story is the elimination of single issue comics. They are healthy now, primarily due to stores ordering 3-5 copies of the same issue for all the “variant” covers. I know personally of many stores that sell the rare variant at a higher cost to make ends meet. Selling comics in comic shops is a no-brainer, they can’t return the comics they buy. Its a good business model. I can’t get into details right now, but i find it interesting just as Diamond digital stops giving coupons and codes to bookstores is about the same time marvel is developing their own app. Likely, we will see Marvel reaching out to stores directly to help them sell digital copies and give them commission. Once this happens, its the true beginning of the end.

  • Bob O

    Did u just site your own “articles” as sources for your faulty data and bad assumptions? SMH

  • Michael Kozlowski

    Only to illustrate all of our other breaking stories came true shortly thereafter.

  • Shannon O’Leary

    He did. @michaelkozlowski:disqus simply does not understand the direct market to comics retailers. Also, there’s no mention of Image or DC – the two other publishers that dominate the periodicals market. Just a wild leap in logic that Marvel not selling periodicals at B&N means that print is dead.

    That assumption was proven wildly untrue almost two years ago. It is common knowledge for anyone willing to read through the numerous mind-numbing sales charts out there (some of which @JohnJacksonMiller:disqus helpfully cited) to see that print sales are up across all formats.

  • Shannon O’Leary

    There is no story as far as the elimination of single issue comics goes. That’s an assumption that turned out to be untrue from about four years ago. You must be talking to collectible stores who’s mix of stock is over 70% Marvel and DC. Most comics retailers that are doing well aren’t selling more periodicals due to variant covers – stores that focus on collectibles are a very small portion of the market. Most people who study these things would venture to say that sales of The Walking Dead alone have held up the periodical market in the past few years.

  • John Jackson Miller

    But most of the growth in single-issue sales has come not at the top of the charts — where you see most of the exclusives — but on the lower tier titles, which tend not to have them. The 300th place comic book now sells four to five times what it did ten or twelve years ago — which is a reflection of a much larger number of offerings carving out niche audiences. The “bench” is deeper. There are many articles on Comichron to this effect.

    I can’t stop anyone’s doomsaying if it’s what they want to do, but I would submit the observation of Will Eisner that comics have nearly died three times in the last 75 years, and come back each time. This is a resilient medium and there remains a sizable audience willing to pay for printed comics. I encourage you to dig into the numbers — they’re all there for the studying.

  • Shannon O’Leary

    Your focus is so narrow. Marvel is not the only game in periodical town, bro.

  • Shannon O’Leary

    Yeah, that is not a big story… most independent bookstores haven’t bought single issues for years…

  • John Jackson Miller

    Let me also caution — because I am guessing the $145 million number was sourced from my site here — — that I write there that it is likely NOT the dollar amount. As the post says, it’s what sales would be if the number of paid downloads (which was itself a bit of a hypothetical) sold for full print price, which most digital comics don’t. There is no single reliable way for the general public to figure out what total digital sales really are.

    Digital is, of course, growing, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t grow further. The real news isn’t the fact that it’s outpacing growth in print, but that that it’s not causing print to decline. In fact, we might attribute some of the print increase to the fact that digital’s around to let people sample.

    I would also note that that the 2013 shop count figure is not much different from what it was in 2000, and in the late 1980s. The number of comics shops peaked in 1993 because of easy credit offered by the dozen distributors at the time — and while it caused sales figures to skyrocket, it was no more indicative of health than any other bubble market. I’ll take 2,638 stable shops over the Gone in a Year stores of those days any time.

  • Michael Kozlowski

    If you think my data is way off, your welcome to do a guest post and set the record straight in terms of financial date, since you seem to be a superstar in that regard.

  • DaleG

    He has no source.

    “Collecting is dead” really ? where’s your evidence ?
    “They have sold over 125,000,000 comics since 2009, most of them from Marvel.” source ?

    Bookstores are not their main distribution channel, that is Diamond and since everything is pre-ordered Marvel can simply print to order, NO RETURNS.

    So no sources, and this whole website is written by one person. Pretty fancy soapbox you have here.

  • princeofhollis

    Thats the way Diamond does it now .. what I can’t figure out from this article is are they going to keep doing it.

  • KnoxB

    What you fail to realize @michaelkozlowski:disqus is that Barnes and Nobel’s are disappearing at an alarming rate. So why would Marvel want to put their products in a store that is on its way out of business.

  • jeremie lederman

    “Barnes and Nobel’s are disappearing at an alarming rate”


  • Maddog

    Not true. Some barns and noble stores (not all) have single issues in the magazine section. Only mainstream like Batman, Avengers, X-Men.

  • Francisco Bello

    if comics go full digital they can kiss me goodbye

  • Knight-Errant

    To be honest with you, I despise variant covers like Newman despises Keith Hernandez. I don’t, however, think the revival of the gimmick is the first sign of the floppies’ apocalypse. The sky isn’t falling.

  • Knight-Errant

    I think the main confusion here is your timeline. In the next 5-10 (I think closer to 10) years there will probably be a huge push toward straight digital. I don’t think its close enough to make a big bugaboo about right now.

  • Knight-Errant

    I will say collecting lives on (a lot of comic book OCD-ers out there), but the notion of being able to generate a good investment is dwindling. You can make money on the value of older stuff, but the current stuff is overly produced at times. When is the last time you heard about this rare issue in the last 5 years? There have been countless times I’ve missed several current issues and after 6 months found them for $1 conventions or comic book shops.

    The toy market is the same way. Look how stores basically give away movie related figured & merchandise after 6-12 months.

  • jaganar

    preach floyd preach .

  • Chris Jocker

    They should at least do print to order.There are people who still prefer print and they shouldn’t just ignore that.This is a very DC move guys.Don’t be lame.

  • trev

    WHAT DATA!!!! You show nothing.
    Sorry just doing some research and came across this load of manure you call an article.