The webcomics blog about webcomics

Following Up

Firstly, following up on the list of webcomicky types to attend NYCC, I missed some. From the comment thread:

You could also add 3 of the 4 Webcomic Alliance members will also be present, Booth P5 & P6.

As well, one may find Jim Zub & Edwin Huang at booth T6; I’m sure Z-man hears plenty about how awesome Skullkickers is, so maybe somebody asks him about Makeshift Miracle? Fleen regrets the oversight, and invites further corrections on people we may have missed.

Does this count as a second followup, or a followup squared? Back in April, Mia Wiesner (of the University of Applied Sciences in Liepzig) wrote to ask for your opinions and attitudes towards digital comics. In June, she shared her preliminary results with us, and yesterday she updated us with final numbers. Let’s get statistical! Or, since there’s a lot of info here, let’s get summarized!

Wiesner received 572 valid responses, of which 98.6% were existing comics readers. Genres cited by the respondents as “favorites” included Action/Adventure (62.2%), Humor/Comedy (60.1%), and Science Fiction (62.6%), with strong showings from Fantasy (50.3%) and Superhero (48.9%), and Autobiography (33.9%); no other genre (Adaptation of Classics/Literary, Adult, Crime/Mystery, Educational, Historical, Horror, Kids/Disney, Romance, Other) exceeded 23.4%. 73% of the respondents reported spending $20/month or less on comics, print and digital; 86% would or have read digital comics.

However, less than half of those that would (41.9%) have bought digital comics; counting those that are willing to do so in the future bring the total up to 73.4%, leaving 26.6% that either will not read digital comics, or will not buy them. Those that have bought digital mostly got them from comiXology (33.3%) or direct from publishers (31.7%); no other channel (Amazon, creator website,, Panelfly, iTunes, iVerse, Playstation Store, WOWIO, “Other”) had more than a 19% penetration.

Reasons to buy digital comics included unavailability of print editions (46.3%), portability (43.9%), shelf space (41.5%), and affordability (39.0%). The least common reason cited (other than “other”) was a tie at 14.6% for printing/downloading allowed and special features. Those that make “motion comics”, take note.

Here’s the important bit, the one that DC, Marvel, and the rest are shooting themselves in the foot over: What percentage of the cover price would you be willing to pay for a digital comic? The choices were at 20% increments, any guesses?

  • Up to 20% of cover: 35.8%
  • Up to 40% of cover: 24.2%
  • Up to 60% of cover: 29.1%
  • Up to 80% of cover: 8.5%
  • Up to 100% of cover: 2.4%

Let’s emphasize that: only 10.4% of the readers who are willing to buy digital in the first place will pay more than 60% of cover price, and fully 60% will only go as far as 40% of cover price. The publishers that are pricing comics the same as their print copies are fighting for the purchasing budget of one reader out of forty. Oh, and monthly budgets for digital comics for those that buy them? 53.8% haven’t spent more than $5/month.

Final statistic for you: the largest single age cohort in the responses (34.2%) is 22 – 30 years old, who are both young enough to be completely immersed in technology, old enough to have some disposable income, and have decades of comic buying in front of them. They want digital, they have reasons to buy them, but they ain’t going to spend as much for non-physical artifacts as they would for actual things they can hold — and the two least appealing things about digital comics for them are not actually owning the comic (51.0%) and DRM (44.1%).

These are the people you have to sell to, and they’ve just told you what they’re willing to pay and under what circumstances. Do with it as you will.

Fleen thanks Ms Wiesner for sharing her numbers.

I think if you look at the number of iPads out there right now in the hands of comics lovers compared to the size of the print comics market, you’re looking at a lot greater ratio than 1 in 40. It might be more like 1 in 1000.

I’m here from Howard Tayler’s G+, where he posted a link to this.

I like numbers (no, really). So, a friend of mine helped me find sales data for comics which a friend of mine who’s really into the business side of comics says is probably vastly inflated from DC New 52, but hey some numbers are better then no numbers, right?

Ok, so: According to these, the average readership of a comic in the top 300 sold to comic shops is 24236, and the average price sold (unweighted) is 3.47usd.

So, the average print run of an issue takes in 84098.92usd. Not a bad monthly haul.

Lets assume that print dies today, and those numbers from Fleen are the new comics readership, digital only.
So, our average readership drops to 17789, and assuming that they’re gonna get their comics fix no matter what, the average monthly haul goes down to 61727.83usd.

But, if they’re unwilling to get their fix unless it’s a price they’re willing to pay, then at :
100% of price (3.47usd): 427 readers, 1481.69usd
80% of price (2.78usd): 1939 readers, 5390.42usd
60% of price (2.09usd) : 7116 readers, 14815.51usd
40% of price (1.39usd): 11421 readers, 15852.34usd
20% of price (0.69usd): 17789 readers, 12345.57usd

So, obviously going down to 20% is stupid, obviously. But, what if they kept printing books, and only those who would never move to digital bought them? Well, that leaves 6447 readers a month. And they’re buying at the cover price, so they’re spending….22371.09usd a month.

Now yes, the cost of distribution isn’t factored in here. Neither is the fact that retail price isn’t wholesale price. But the fact that if nobody was willing to buy digital comics at full price did, it still wouldn’t make sense to move totally to digital.

[…] from across the Ocean Sea³, Internet Jesus has some words on digital comics (cf: yesterday, this page), webcomics (cf: every day, this page), and some critical points of distinction between them. […]

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