Archie Sales Figures for 2012

Continuing the tradition, but a lot later this year. That’s because, with most of the titles publishing less frequently than monthly, I had to wait for all the figures to be available. Even so, Life With Archie isn’t available yet for this year.

This is my sixth year compiling the Archie sales figures filed with the government from the Statements of Ownership, Management, and Circulation the company is required to include in their publications. These numbers appeared in issues published between January 16 and March 6, 2013; the data was filed with the government on October 18, 2012. Here are previous years for books:

Note that these figures don’t cover the videogame titles — Sonic, Mega Man — or other non-Archie-character books. That’s because I don’t read those and so don’t have access to the data. Reportedly, those books do better than these. Note also that the core Archie line is down to three periodicals — Archie, Betty & Veronica, and Kevin Keller — one magazine-format comic — Life With Archie — and six double digests — Archie, Archie & Friends, Betty & Veronica, Betty & Veronica Friends, Jughead, and World of Archie. Archie has just launched a Double Double Digest format, but that’s too early to include.

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 IssueTotal Published (Nearest)% Sold of Published
Betty & Veronica9,0959,21025,27236%
Kevin Keller7,2747,16918,06840%

Kevin Keller, which last year looked like a great success, has lost 40% of its sales bump from launch (last year = 12,327). That’s not surprising, as the curious likely got their fix from the first issue or so and may not want to follow a continuing series — especially since Kevin hasn’t been shown as actively dating or romantically interacting with other guys very much (particularly when compared to how the core cast is portrayed).

Archie is down to three comic periodicals, with Jughead cancelled last year. Only Archie appears monthly; the other two publish six issues a year. Most Archie issues went bimonthly in 2010.

Let’s chart these issues over the past six years, using average sales.

Archie comic sales chart, 2007-2012

Betty & Veronica16982119631128311319109189095
Veronica / Kevin Keller1411982307981875697317274
Archie & Friends14699938880998850
Betty & Veronica Spectacular122348891
Sabrina the Teenage Witch135347404

(Veronica became Kevin Keller in 2011, based on sales figure continuation, which is why that’s just one line. I still miss Sabrina.)

If, based on this chart and the title history, the cancellation line is around 9,000 copies sold, then Kevin Keller is likely hanging on for reasons other than sales (which is a fine strategy, if they believe in the title for outreach purposes or to give a new character time to catch on), and Betty & Veronica is in danger.

On to digests! These are all Double Digests, since singles went away in 2010.

TitleAverageNearest IssueTotal Published (Nearest)% Sold of Published
Archie & Friends38,85539,386171,88923%
Betty & Veronica47,60047,108160,48829%
Betty & Veronica Friends38,27837,176156,41024%
World of Archie39,93640,358167,59624%

On the plus side, these numbers are relatively stable, if you compare average sales to nearest issue. The titles aren’t rising or falling significantly. On the negative side, sales are down by 10,000-20,000 copies on all titles compared to last year, and they’ve gone from selling at least 36% of the print run to selling only a quarter of it. (Back in 2010, they were selling 40% of the print run.)

Here’s a chart of the double digests over the past six years, using average sales. Sadly, it’s a story of sales falling greatly over the past two years. Weird how they kind of end up in the same place, isn’t it?

Archie digest sales chart, 2007-2012

Archie Double968879758487860952367086045641
Betty & Veronica Double9697110007383032803076771947600
Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Double /
Archie & Friends Double
Jughead Double821088203571570709275565137812
Betty & Veronica Friends Double510995051238278
World of Archie Double628225785039936

Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals became Archie & Friends in 2010, which gave it a temporary sales boost. The single digests were all selling above 47,000 when they were cancelled (or where the highest-selling double digest is now), so this can’t be good.

Last (I know! would you rather I have broken all this up into multiple posts?) comes the title ranking, best- to worst-selling, based on nearest issue figures.

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

No surprises here if you’ve read this far. Some shuffling among the digests, with various place swaps, but this is generally in keeping with expectations, although Jughead’s place has kept falling over the past two years. Wild, baseless speculation: With an actual gay character in the Riverdale lineup, is his position as the one non-girl-crazy boy character less special? Or is it just that fewer kids want to read about someone who can eat all the junk they want without gaining weight?

10 Responses to “Archie Sales Figures for 2012”

  1. Anthony Says:

    While all the comic companies/Comixology are being tight-lipped about such figures, could sales of digital comics be partly to blame for the decline in sales?

    Still, seems sad to see such sizable declines from Archie. I assume their licensed comics are doing quite well, however. Wonder if an Archie TV show of some sort (live-action or animated) would help the company’s fortunes at all; seems like Archie’s basic setup would fit in perfectly with the usual Disney Channel live-action fare.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Last year, there was some discussion of the sales outlets for these titles being reduced being a factor. There’s been talk of a Sabrina cartoon or movie, but nothing definite.

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  4. James Schee Says:

    Archie digital prices, at least last time I looked, were cheaper than the comics as well.

    I’m curious to see how Life With Archie is selling, given all the various venues I’ve seen it it. Plus just the storytelling approach.

  5. Jonathan Says:

    Thanks for writing these articles and compiling these numbers! The new Sabrina animated series debuts this summer on The Hub, though it seems that Archie is collecting Tania del Rio’s run on Sabrina in lieu of launching a new on-going.

  6. Anthony Says:

    Yes, Sabrina’s become their biggest non-comic character lately (and has a new cartoon due out sometime this year), but I was thinking something with Archie, Betty, etc. as a live-action sitcom might also help their public profile. Then again, if the various DC/Marvel movies, TV shows, etc. have zero impact on the sales of their comics…

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