Archie Sales Figures for 2011

Recently out, here are the Archie Comics sales figures based on the Statements of Ownership, Management, and Circulation the company is required to file in their publications. These numbers appeared in issues published between January 18 and February 15, 2012; the data was filed with the government on October 11, 2001.

(For comparison, I’ve done the same things for books published in 2010, published in 2009, published in 2008, and published in 2007.)

Before I get to the sales figures, though, I noticed a few changes in the Archie publication line while assembling these. The first is that the titles Archie & Friends, Betty, and Veronica are no longer published. (Veronica became Kevin Keller, while Betty‘s demise was rumored over a year ago.) Archie now publishes only five periodical series, and only one is monthly. That’s the flagship Archie. The magazine-format Life With Archie offers 10 issues a year, while Jughead, Betty & Veronica, and Kevin Keller come out bi-monthly, six times a year.

(Subscriptions, by the way, save you over a dollar an issue. You pay less than $2 a copy instead of the $2.99 cover price.)

I also noticed, while flipping through the issues to find these statements, that in the latest issues, there is not a single outside advertisement. All the ads are for Archie collections, subscriptions, and their digital products. That’s a piece of revenue that they’re missing out on.

So, on to the numbers. For the single issues, these are the Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation figures that Archie files with the government. The first number is the Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months; the second is No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date.

TitleAverageNearest Issue
Life With Archie37,16527,314
Betty & Veronica10,91811,511
Kevin Keller9,73112,327

The Kevin Keller figures are likely using Veronica‘s sales history; the last few issues of that title ran as a Kevin Keller miniseries. Compared to last year’s figures, those numbers are better than I expected. Then, most of the periodicals sold a bit over 8,000; now, they’ve culled the low sellers, except for Jughead, to get the books over 10,000. Either Jughead will disappear soon; be revamped; or he’s someone in power’s favorite character.

However, half of the titles are showing a decline from the average to the most recent issue, with the Kevin Keller sales leap indicating interest in the company’s gay character. The recent controversy over the gay wedding in Life With Archie #16 provided a much-needed bump to counteract its falling sales figures, with the issue selling out and back issues going for inflated prices. (My favorite statement on that whole situation is Ty Templeton’s comic strip — love his caricature of Jon Goldwater.)

Looking at the Total Published (Average, 12 months) and Total Published (Nearest Issue), we see the same problem as last year.

TitleAverageNearest Issue% Sold of Published (Nearest Issue)
Life With Archie155,088109,29325%
Betty & Veronica24,78227,28142%
Kevin Keller23,49929,79041%

As expected, with newsstand publishing, about 60% of the issues printed are unsold, with Life With Archie, with the widest distribution, having the worst ratio. This is expected but costs the company money.

Let’s look at digests. Last year they eliminated the single digests, so these are all double digests, which cost $3.99.

TitleAverageNearest Issue
Betty & Veronica67,71963,316
World of Archie57,85052,997
Archie & Friends57,18853,502
Betty & Veronica Friends50,51248,925

As expected, the digests outsell the issues by about five to one. But last year, the top-selling digest, Archie Double Digest, was selling 85-95,000 copies an issue. This year, it’s declined greatly. Betty & Veronica Double Digest was selling 72-80,000 copies an issue and has a similar reduction. And they’re having to print 150,000 copies apiece to get these sales, with almost 2/3 of the print run going unsold.

TitleAverageNearest Issue% Sold of Published (Nearest Issue)
Betty & Veronica178,895150,60842%
World of Archie153,560141,69537%
Archie & Friends147,633141,06138%
Betty & Veronica Friends131,285129,29038%

Last, here’s the title ranking, best- to worst-selling, based on nearest issue figures.

  1. Betty & Veronica Double Digest
  2. Archie Double Digest
  3. Archie & Friends Double Digest
  4. World of Archie Double Digest
  5. Jughead Double Digest
  6. Betty & Veronica Friends Double Digest
  7. Life With Archie
  8. Archie
  9. Kevin Keller
  10. Betty & Veronica
  11. Jughead

Compared to last year, the two top spots switched, but that’s likely a statistical fluke, since the year’s average sales show Archie Double Digest on top. Also last year, Life With Archie outsold the lowest-selling digest; this year, it’s twenty thousand below that mark. I suspect its appeal wore off quickly among the casual newsstand reader, as they lost the celebrity tie-in articles and the storyline became more convoluted and harder to follow. The declining magazine-format sales may explain why Veronica & Betty, a second magazine announced a year-and-a-half ago, has never appeared.

13 Responses to “Archie Sales Figures for 2011”

  1. jdh417 Says:

    Archie is about 1% of the Direct market for February, and we presume, any other month.

    The other venue to look at would be digital, but I have no idea where those numbers would be.

  2. Johanna Says:

    No digital figures are available, since the digital distributors don’t release them.

  3. Anthony Says:

    Any possible guesses how well digital sales are doing, though?

    Though you didn’t list them, I assume the Sonic comics are doing well as usual?

  4. Johanna Says:

    At a ballpark guess, the digital are doing about 8-10% of the print sales. But that’s overall, for the superhero books, and individual titles might have very different ratios.

    I don’t read the Sonic and Megaman books, so I didn’t gather those figures, but they typically do better than the Archie family of periodicals, yes.

  5. Jim Kosmicki Says:

    One point on the digests, and this might be a local thing only, but they are not as widespread as they used to be. They used to be in the little wire racks at the checkout stands at every department and grocery store in the area. Now, if they are there at all, it’s usually in only one or two of the checkstands, instead of most of them. Since those are paid placements, that would indicate that Archie is making the determination to lower the amount of slots themselves.

  6. Johanna Says:

    I’ve noticed them as harder to find, too, especially since Borders shut down (where I used to get them locally). I wonder if stores are asking more for rack placements, with more magazines wanting into that space.

  7. LAST WEEK on the ‘net | Ty Templeton's ART LAND!! Says:

    […] Archie Sales Figures for 2011 from Comics Worth Reading […]

  8. Mike Nielsen Says:

    I also noticed that what grocery stores do carry the digests, They seem to only carry certain ones. One store seems to only have the Jughead Double Digest. Another seems to have the Archie Double Digest and the Jughead Double Digest, but none of the others.

    Luckily Barnes & Nobles still carries all the digests so I can pick them up there.

  9. Mark Moore Says:

    According to this thread, Jughead has been canceled:

  10. Is Jughead Cancelled? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

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