Digital comics

Good news, digital comic sales aren’t killing physical comics

Digital media has been cannibalizing the sale of physical media for years – books are in decline, magazines and newspapers are dying, as the world goes digital. You would think that comics, where day and date releases are a given, digital issues first run amok and unlimited read subscriptions rise, would be the same thing. It turns out that’s not the case at all!

A new study by CNBC tracked physical and digital comic book sales over the past few years notes the surprising twist that, unlike other areas of publishing, both physical and digital comic book sales are on the rise. On top of that, the growing popularity of digital books, especially in the years since the launch of Comixology (which just announced its own digital comics subscription plan), has done nothing to stop the single physical issue sales – in fact, in the past five years, single issue sales have increased consecutively every year.

You might have expected digital services to become a lot easier and more and more people to abandon the perils of trying to store a comic book collection (although that aspect of collecting itself has also maintained sales of a solid issue) for physical sales to start declining as a rapidly expanding digital, especially now that we live in a world with subscriptions like Marvel Unlimited giving you access to thousands upon thousands of comics from decades of publishing for a monthly fee.

But instead, as superhero media has taken over TV and the big screen, both areas of comic book sales have seen rewards, and while growth is slowing, there’s been little signs that physical comic book sales are withering at the expense of a digital comic book boom just yet.