Has Marvel declared war on their own cover prices?  Remember that absurd (up to 80% off) sale on the Marvel digital graphic novels on Kindle back in June?  Well, it appears there’s a sequel in the works.

Marvel Labor Day Weekend Linewide Sale

Save up to 50% off thousands of single issue comics and graphic novels. Sale runs Friday, Sept. 1 – Thursday, Sept. 7. Does not include titles released after 8/31/17.

That alternate graphic to the left details it as “save up to 50% on every Marvel single issue and graphic novel on Kindle.  Excludes pre-orders and titles released after 8/31/17.”

What exactly is going on here?  A mix of speculation and educated guess:

  • Gosh, a big sale during that last month of Q3.  Could that possibly involve trying to hit anticipated quarterly numbers?
  • This could be an concerted attempt by Amazon to attract a new audience to reading comics on the Kindle platform, now that the Comixology software has finally been integrated.  If it’s truly a *new* audience that hasn’t been reading comics regularly, that could be a good thing for the industry in general.
  • Sometimes you view this kind of a sale as a sort of third or fourth level in the sales chain.  This is where you pick up a little money for things that are passed their release date and might not be selling rapidly.  Although, you wouldn’t think that’s the entire strategy if this week’s releases are going on sale.  (If I were a comic shop owner, I would not be a happy camper reading this.)
  • Sometimes you do this kind of a sale as a sampler.  You hope somebody tries something new because it’s cheap and goes on to buy some more at regular price.  Although these sales are kind of close together… if _everything_ is really 1/2 off.  There’s some ambiguity between the two sets of messaging.
  • There’s also a different digital reading model: the bargain seeker.  Comixology has a steady stream of sales.  Marvel sure has the optics of starting a steady stream of sales. (Will the next one be Thanksgiving weekend perhaps?) If you’re not terribly concerned about being current with your titles and “the story of the universe,” you can probably enjoy yourself hopping from sale to sale and catching up on varies titles when the discount hits.  Let’s not ascribe good or bad to this type of reader.  It’s just a different type of customer, likely more casual and likely more price sensitive.

It could well be a mix of those reasons, but that’s the basic set for trying to parse this behavior.   But two sales in roughly three months in addition to what certainly looks like a drastic increase in Marvel sales at Comixology would seem to signal a change in strategy for Marvel.  Perhaps not a coincidence that this is happening around the time Marvel let’s their digital leadership go?  One wonders to what extent Amazon is steering the Marvel digital path right now?

H/T: Jeff Lester of Wait What fame

Want to learn more about how comics publishing and digital comics work?  Try Todd’s book, Economics of Digital Comics or have a look at his horror detective series on Patreon.


  1. I deal with Disney — their financial year runs 1/10 to 30/9 of the next year. So, pretty self-explanatory then…

  2. Is this 50% off the cover price or 50% off the current price because that would make things a steal again if it’s the latter.

  3. What DaveOMac says, Basically after the last Marvel sale I would say quite a bit of the Marvel selection didn’t increase to full price rather stayed at a quiet medium. A 50% sale off of that would be fantastic, insane, and I can’t afford it. Do it.

  4. They were pretty much already at moderate pricing weeks before the sale. I was surprised to see new Marvel collections averaging ~$1/issue ($5-7) on Kindle on release day.

  5. I was just glancing at a lot of these on there now and some are already 70% off the trade price. So it looks like prices may end up being as low as last time which is awesome but insane.

  6. Amazon keeps the right to run sales at their discretion and their prices and publishers can’t disagree when they do. It’s just Amazon being Amazon.

  7. @brian the brain says:

    Absolutely 100% untrue. digital pricing is different than physical book pricing. if not, then why is Marvel the ONLY publisher Amazon is offering up in these sales?

  8. I don’t understand the point of buying anything Marvel on Comixology, even at a steep discount. You can get a month of Marvel Unlimited for $9.99 (or $5.75 if you pay for a full year up front) and get WAAAAAY MORE bang for your buck. I easily read 100 comics a month on MU.

  9. In terms of digital pricing on Kindle,

    single issues – Marvel sets the prices
    collected editions – Amazon can set the prices

    You’ll notice DC Rebirth trades at $9.99 on Amazon Kindle while pricing even on comiXology is different. Also, it seems Kindle sales promos for DC aren’t always in lockstep with comiXology sales promos.

  10. Checking this morning, the prices are the same as they have been the past several weeks. Specifically, I was looking at the Star Wars collections that are around $5.50 each and a few Epic Collections that range from $10-15.

    I was hoping to see those prices knocked down further today!

  11. I am confused as well as these are the same prices they have had for a month if not longer. Either Amazon is just bringing attention to their already low prices or the sale hasn’t been turned on yet.

  12. The Amazon sale prices are on the individual issues, which have been marked down to half the normal price. Compilations are at the same prices they were already at, which in most cases are at or near 50% off the standard price. At ComiXology the sale takes the form of a BOGO applicable to all Marvel releases.

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