Archie Sales Figures for 2012

Archie Comics logo

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.

Archie Comics logo

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.

Title Average Nearest Issue Total Published (Nearest) % Sold of Published
Archie 15,292 12,462 32,229 39%
Betty & Veronica 9,095 9,210 25,272 36%
Kevin Keller 7,274 7,169 18,068 40%

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

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Archie 27498 13259 11493 14413 15466 15292
Betty & Veronica 16982 11963 11283 11319 10918 9095
Veronica / Kevin Keller 14119 8230 7981 8756 9731 7274
Jughead 13645 10718 7823 8585 7869
Archie & Friends 14699 9388 8099 8850
Betty 12731 8864 8314 8952
Betty & Veronica Spectacular 12234 8891
Sabrina the Teenage Witch 13534 7404

(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.

Title Average Nearest Issue Total Published (Nearest) % Sold of Published
Archie 45,641 47,851 169,754 28%
Archie & Friends 38,855 39,386 171,889 23%
Betty & Veronica 47,600 47,108 160,488 29%
Betty & Veronica Friends 38,278 37,176 156,410 24%
Jughead 37,812 36,924 168,359 22%
World of Archie 39,936 40,358 167,596 24%

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

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Archie Double 96887 97584 87860 95236 70860 45641
Betty & Veronica Double 96971 100073 83032 80307 67719 47600
Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals Double /
Archie & Friends Double
85587 74430 69277 70806 57188 38855
Jughead Double 82108 82035 71570 70927 55651 37812
Betty & Veronica Friends Double 51099 50512 38278
World of Archie Double 62822 57850 39936

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?

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