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Report: Digital Comic Sales down in 2015


Well here’s a bit of a shocker: digital comics sales were down about 10% to $90 million in 2015, according to industry analysis site ICv2:

North American digital comic sales declined roughly 10% to $90 million in 2015, down from $100 million in 2014, according to an analysis by ICv2.  This is the first sales decline after a six year run of growth as the format exploded beginning in 2010.  

Industry participants cited a number of factors in explaining the decline, with perhaps the most important being the slowdown in new device purchases.  Now that smartphones and tablets have reached near saturation levels, there are not large numbers of new consumers coming into the market for digital content, at least in North America.  And without those surges in new digital consumers, catalogue purchases of digital comics are less robust, as longer-term digital consumers have already acquired much of the backlist that they want in their libraries.

The analysis does not include all you can eat services such as Crunchyrool and Marvel Unlimited. Nor does it include “bundling sales’ via Humble Bundle and other services that offer a lot of digital comcis at a cheap price.

Conventional ebook sales declined 11% in 2015, and ebook sales have been down or stagnant in most segments for a while now.

ICv2 notes that there the demos of digital are more varied now, and there’s a wider variety of material, including manga, bandes dessinees, and self-published titles.

ICv2 also not4ed that Hum
PW also offers some analysis of the trend::

Milton Griepp, ICv2 CEO, said many comics industry observers are blaming the decline in sales on a saturated market for digital devices. He noted that the report cites a slowdown in purchases of new devices, as well as a decline in the number of new comics consumers looking for digital comics content.

“Catalogue purchases of digital comics are less robust, as longer-term digital consumers have already acquired much of the backlist that they want in their libraries,” the report said.

I don’t think there’s too much to be worried about here, as the slowdown is generally explained by the general slowing of sales and interest in new devices. It does seem that mobile-native platforms like LINE Webtoon, Stela Unlimited and Tapas represent a new frontier to spark interest though.


  1. I am someone who had bought only trades the last 10 years.

    When Rebirth was announced my friend and I decided to get into buying issues. He lives near some great shops, I don’t live next to any shops.

    I decided to start subscribing to books via Comixology. Been at it for 2 months now and I am subscribed to about 12 books, some which are double shipping. So far so good I am happy with the service.

  2. I’ve read comics via Comixology and Dark Horse for three years or more. I feel that paying print edition prices for digital comics is too expensive, so I tend to buy only what Comixology/DH puts on sale. After three years, I’ve bought most everything I’m interested in that’s been on sale. There seem to be few sales nowadays with much of interest, and I see some of the same sales repeated from time to time. There are still some things I’m interested in that never seem to go on sale though.

  3. Would be nice if they would start selling all digitals for at least a third off on launch and, perhaps, half off after 30 days. A sale on the complete collection after a story or run is complete for 60 to 70% off would also be extremely fan friendly. Make it extremely affordable for the digital reader. Asking full price for digital is ridiculous.

  4. “Asking full price for digital is ridiculous.”

    Think of ti this way: you’re paying for the content, not the delivery method. Circs are low enough to begin with, and digital isn’t paying anyone’s page rate (let alone the conversion, the hosting, etc.)


  5. People claim digital web storeage for all the issues expensive total bs you can download every single Marvel and DC Comic EVER produced and wouldnt be over 2 GB of storage tops thats nothing. Digital sales will continue to decline as long as price still high as print and the fact that you can get any comic with easy From all publishers Free on torrents

  6. I buy my comics from Discount Comic Book Services and I get 40% off for buying 1 title or 30. The average price on a $3.99 comics is $2.39. Even with shipping costs, I’m saving over $100 per year. It’s hard for me to justify paying full price for digital.

  7. “you can download every single Marvel and DC Comic EVER produced and wouldnt be over 2 GB of storage tops”

    On a low estimate I’d say both DC and Marvel have each published over 1 million pages of comics in their histories. So 2 GB for 2 million pages of comics would be around 1 KB per image. You really think 1 KB gives you an acceptable resolution for a full colour comics page? (as a hint, that blurry chart Heidi posted is 30 KB)

    In actual fact, 1 MB is probably the minimum to get an acceptable resolution on a colour comics page, so your 2 GB is only enough to hold 1 month of either DC or Marvel’s current publishing slate. So you’re an idiot in addition to being a thief.

  8. Easy to understand why, more and more people keep coming back to our shop, and telling us the same thing, It’s a horrible reading experience for many. With tablet/reading device sales collapsing, the peak has passed

  9. Hej! Har precis startat med LCHF, detta för att må bättre, bli piggare, slippa sötsuget ochfförhoppningsvis tappa de sista gravkilona! Blir så inspirerad av din blogg och behöver mycket råd och tips nu i börjar känner jag!Vore helt underbart att vinna den fina tunikan (storlek s) och känna sig strålande i jul och nyår!Svar på frågar: 2004 av Ingela Grip och Johanna Ahlgren

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