Archie Sales Figures for 2013

I’m two months late — this information is usually available in March — because I’ve quit reading Archie titles as often. Then again, some titles are delayed so much that one of the statements of ownership was just published two weeks ago (although that issue had the “now on sale” notice for titles dated .

This is my seventh 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 February 26 and April 23, 2014. Here are previous years for comparison:

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 the core Riverdale line.

According to the online subscription store, Archie Comics currently publishes six double digests and two comic titles. However, there are a number of caveats to that, as I note below.

The comic line offers Archie (published monthly) and Betty & Veronica (published six times a year). Last year, there was a third, Kevin Keller, but that apparently ended with #12, published in January. (Update: KK is just incredibly delayed, see comments.) Afterlife With Archie is a direct market-only title, so it won’t have one of the Statements (which relate to mailing permits), although comic store sales are estimated about 24,000 for issue #3. That’s darn good for the company — no wonder they’re planning a movie based on the zombie concept.

Other periodicals include the magazine-format Life With Archie, which is ending with issue #37. Issue #34 is the last one released; it came out in February. (By my guess, if there are circulation numbers, they’ll be in #35; if so, I’ll update when that issue is available.) I didn’t realize that the larger-sized Super Special line is considered a series as well. It’s released quarterly and cover-priced at $9.99, which gives it a great cost/price ratio, since it’s all reprint.

That leaves us with two comics. 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 & Veronica8,6809,82522,63143%
Kevin Keller5,5326,07515,53039%

About the best thing I can say about these numbers is that they’re selling more of what they’re printing, slightly, which is a good thing. Last year, Archie sold from 12-15,000, while B&V was about the same. I have long suspected that they’re still publishing Betty & Veronica for historical or brand reasons, since these are the numbers that got the Jughead and Betty titles cancelled.

Archie says it publishes six digests, like last year, but I don’t believe them, because Betty & Veronica Friends last released an issue in October with #236. (Update: I missed an entry — there was a #237 in December. None in 2014, though.) It’s still on the subscription site, though — I wonder what happens if you order it?

Archie & Friends became Archie’s Funhouse, and Jughead became Jughead and Archie as of last week. The trend is apparently to use the lead character’s name as much as possible. He’s now in the title of four of the five digests, and the only other one is Betty & Veronica. All are still “Double Digests”, although they rotate the “Double Double Digest” format through them as a way of temporarily raising the page count and price. Double Digests are $3.99, while Double Double Digests are $5.99. All publish 11 times a year, according to the company.

TitleAverageNearest IssueTotal Published (Nearest)% Sold of Published
Archie’s Funhouse34,16536,722132,69828%
Betty & Veronica40,94645,064139,17932%
World of Archie34,03139,579137,46529%
B&V Friends33,55334,407129,34827%

The Jughead number may be misleading, since that was a Double Double Digest to mark the 200th issue, and also the last issue before the relaunch with a new title. As with the issues, the percentage sold numbers are up, which suggests better judgment of demand. Otherwise, sales are slightly down compared to last year, but not substantially so. Although when I first started doing this, the two best-selling digests regularly cracked 100,000 copies sold, so I guess it’s a matter of perspective. That was six years ago, though.

Overall, this appears to be a status quo year, one holding relatively steady. I’d like to see more periodical comics from the company, personally, but I couldn’t demonstrate that the sales are there to support such an expansion.

Update: The Life With Archie figures are available in issue #35, but weirdly, the 15c (total paid distribution) numbers are both 0. Must be a typo. Total distribution numbers are 8,717 (average) and 8,656 (nearest issue) with about 160 free distribution to subtract.

10 Responses to “Archie Sales Figures for 2013”

  1. Anthony Says:

    Yeah, seems like the digest sales have dropped from years ago (when they’d match the top-selling DC/Marvel books).

    Kevin Keller is actually being cancelled this July with issue #15.

    Betty & Veronica Friends (usually titled as “B&V Friends”) is also still being sold.

    They’ve also as of last month changed the digests’ names from “Double Digest” to “Comics Digest”, while “Double Double Digests” will be “Jumbo Comics Digests” (since the old single digests have been ditched years ago, doesn’t make sense to keep calling them “double digests” I guess).

  2. Anthony Says:

    Forgot: Kevin Keller #13 has circulation numbers… from my copy, assuming you’re looking under “15c: total paid distribution” (and 15a for total published number), the listings were:

    Average No. Copies of Each Issue During Previous 12 mos: 5,532

    No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 6,075

    Total published: 15,530

    Can see why it might’ve been axed, if it’s the lowest selling “floppy” title…

  3. Johanna Says:

    If Kevin Keller #15 is coming out in July, I guess that means we should expect to see #13 in May and #14 in June? I see that #13 was released digitally in March; what an odd strategy. That explains your numbers, and thanks very much for sharing those. The #15 solicit is in the current Previews, but with no note that it’s the last issue. Do you mind telling me what your source is?

    Similarly, I’m curious about your statement that B&V Friends is still being sold, given that there hasn’t been an issue this year. Thanks for notifying of the planned name change. I agree, makes sense.

  4. Anthony Says:

    I bought Kevin Keller #13 in late March digitally (from Google Play’s store). #14 is scheduled to be out this month. The circulation numbers are printed in #13; they only announced a week or so that “Kevin Keller” is being cancelled:

    As for B&V Friends Digest, issue #238 is on sale (went on sale late April), while #239 is scheduled for June (but not solicited for July). Odd shipping schedule, if not cancelled… or just “off” months?

  5. Johanna Says:

    I see someone at the forum says Kevin Keller #13 is now due out in print May 14. I’m curious to read it now. B&V Friends #238 isn’t shown on the Diamond shipping lists I’ve reviewed, so maybe that’s also shipping next week? Thank you for the additional information.

    Archie’s had a problem lately with comics being delayed, based on how a comic that came out (say) last week having the “on sale now” promotional text indicating it should have been out in March. I’m not sure what’s going on there.

  6. Johanna Says:

    Now that B&V Friends has shipped, I’ve added those figures to the chart above, along with Kevin Keller #13 and information on Life With Archie #35.

  7. What Is Going on With Archie’s Shipping Dates? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] were each a week late. Sonic Universe was two weeks late. This issue of Kevin Keller, according to one of my readers, was available digitally in *March*, two months ago. It was promoted in print as being on sale on […]

  8. Anthony's Archie Comics picks for August 2014 | Anthony's Notes Says:

    […] digests and trade paperbacks this month. I guess Archie needs the circulation boost, per recent sales figures showing that even the digests don’t sell as well as they once did. The digests are now […]

  9. Aaron Says:

    Interesting article. Being a fan of newsstand distribution for comics, my heart bleeds when I see these numbers getting smaller and smaller. Anyhow, Archie is still the main comic book publisher distributing newsstand (even if it seems they dropped from supermarkets such as Vons).

    I would love to read a future article about newsstand distributed comics: which publisher still uses this distribution channel, does it still make sense, where to buy newsstand comics, etc.

  10. Johanna Says:

    I would read that article too! I’m not the right person to write it, though, because I don’t know where you’d find any of that information.




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