Robot 6

At last a digital comics number: ComiXology’s sales were $19M in ’11

The challenge with digital comics is that providers usually keep their numbers close to the vest; Milton Griepp of ICv2 estimated the total value of the digital comics market at $25 million in 2011.

If that’s right, then comiXology had the lion’s share of it. According to PEHub, a blog that tracks private equity and venture capital opportunities, “The comiXology platform produced $19 million in gross merchandise value in 2011, which is expected to jump to about $70 million in gross merchandise value this year.”

Gross Merchandise Value is pretty much what it sounds like, the total value of merchandise sold through a particular site at the retail price paid by the consumer. The article also mentions that users have downloaded 77 million comics since the company launched its digital comics service.

If Griepp’s numbers are accurate, comiXology owned almost 80 percent of the digital comics market in 2011. The growth number is even more impressive; if it’s accurate, sales will almost quadruple in a single year. (It should be noted that Griepp is a member of the comiXology board of directors so he was privy to these numbers all along.)

The information came during comiXology CEO David Steinberger’s presentation during the Software & Information Industry Association (SIAA) Conference; he also mentioned that the company may be looking for growth capital in the next six months.



Digital is just a fad. (Sarcasm.) Now if there was a way to track if digital books are being bought by lapsed readers, current readers or new readers.

That really doesn’t matter, does it? Fact is that with all these digital sales, print numbers are still up. That means whether they’re choosing print or they’re choosing digital, lapsed and new readers are in fact reading comics, and that’s a good thing.


Bear in mind, some of those print readers are also buying digital copies

As for the $19 million, any money is good money for a digital business that didn’t exist before. But to keep things in perspective, a single issue of Uncle Scrooge in one month used to sell 1 or 2 million copies. So at today’s cover prices, that would be $7 or 8 million in one month for one issue of a comic.

“If Greipp’s numbers are accurate”
“It should be noted that Greipp is a member of the comiXology board of directors so he was privy to these numbers all along.)”

All Griepp has is access to Comixology’s numbers right? Has iVerse reported to him? Dark Horse? Graphicly? DC? Marvel? Amazon? Apple? Barnes and Noble?

With Marvel and DC distributing directly to Apple and Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and Dark Horse with their own app and distribution service, how the hell can you say with a straight face that Comixology had 80% of the marketplace?

Marvel and DC sell their comics through ComiXology. Apple and Amazon weren’t selling digital comics in 2011. iVerse and Graphicly have been in slow motion collapse, losing publishers to ComiXology or never signing them in the first place (like DC). Meanwhile ComiXology has consistently been the highest grossing app in the iPad app store. I don’t doubt they’re 80% of digital comics sales.

What perspective do we possibly need for an Uncle Scrooge comic that sold that much decades ago. Please.

Keep deluding yourself Goodman. No one is going to benefit from recreating the direct market digitally with Comixology, which is exactly what’s happening. And basing anything off of Griepp, when he’s in their back pocket and has lost any and all credibility is a joke.

Brigid Alverson

June 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm

In defense of Milton Griepp, he has been doing estimates of comics sales for a lot of years, and I don’t doubt his integrity. I truly do not think he would be foolish to destroy the credibility he has built up over the years by slanting the estimates. If you follow the link to the ICv2 article with the $25 million estimate, they disclose right there that he is on the comiXology board and had access to their numbers. So he was privy to information that wasn’t available to the public at the time—that’s true of many journalists. ICv2 does have a business relationship with comiXology, and the figures have to be weighed with that in mind, but the numbers seem plausible to me.

Dubious, you said yourself what’s happening is we’re “recreating the direct market digitally with Comixology” – that is, domination by a single distributor. I didn’t say it was a good thing. I wish DC comics hadn’t gone exclusive with ComiXology for single issues. I wish Marvel hadn’t followed by going exclusive with ComiXology for single issues a month ago. But it’s not their fault the competition couldn’t keep up. ComiXology definitely offers the best app for buying and reading comics. It’s even preinstalled on the Kindle Fire. I just wish DC had been patient and offered their comics to more platforms, in the hopes of eventually creating a more competitive market. Maybe DC felt comics were too much of a niche for that to happen. Maybe they felt there needed to be an iTunes of comics, and ComiXology was it. I don’t know. But ComiXology has all the big comics publishers but Dark Horse, and they have the biggest names on an exclusive basis. And every week they spend at least some time listed by Apple as the highest grossing app in the iPad app store. And that’s with over 225,000 iPad apps in the App Store.

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