Free Comic Book Day 2016 Attended By 1.45 Million, But Retailers Want More Original Comics, Less Reprints

Every yeah, on the first Saturday in May, comic shops across the world conspire to give away free comic books to the mass populace. It’s become a mix of increasing awareness of the medium, the breadth of its form, creating an opportunity for stores to sell all their other products, launch a mega crossover or two from the big publishers and an opportunity for new publishers to launch themselves and maybe get a film deal.

Well, Diamond Comic Distributors’ Free Comic Book Day 2016 Retailer Survey has revealed the following statistics, compared to the previous year’s event

  • Attendance increased slightly to 1.45 million people (up 3.5% from 1.4 million in 2015)
  • Over 6 million comic books were ordered (7% increase over 2015)
  • 2,340 store locations elected to participate
  • An estimated $6.5 Million in free publicity (30% increase over 2015).
  • Over 93% of retailers that responded rated the day as “Extremely Positive” or “Positive”, which is similar to last year’s results.
  • 27% said that they had 500 customers or more, with 22% saying they had more than 1000 people visit on FCBD.
  • 58% said that sales receipts for May 7th was their best sales day of the year.
  • 75% of retailers surveyed said that they think 11-50% of people in their store on FCBD were new customers.

For next year, retailers have asked for more original titles rather than reprints (DC Comics we are looking at you) more gaming and toy items (which were sold for actual money), running national advertising for the event during comic book related movies, a co-op advertising programme and – in the light of more mature readers titles being offered than ever before, a rating on the cover of each book.

A lot of people objected to the store bags, that were covered in bag ads for FCBD sponsor Comic-Con HQ, but was only announced just before the event. Don’t expect such surprises next year.

There were also complaints about the severe allocation of the FCBD-exclusive Captain America and Iron Man Funko figures as many stores were shorted on their orders. Again, Diamond will run advance orders for such items in the future when a longer production lead time is needed.

Diamond will also be spreading payments across two weeks, Gold and then Silver, rather than concentrating them all into one week’s figures.

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About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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