DC With Another Round of Subscription Cuts And a New Online Store

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By Todd Allen

AQM Cv8 R1 DC With Another Round of Subscription Cuts And a New Online StoreYou never know where the next round of cuts is going to come from.  DC appears to have been cutting titles from their subscription program, not based on overall sales, but based on how many subscriptions they’re getting.  Which is to say, while Aquaman, which has caused much head scratching over it’s omission from the subscription list while being a top 10 Diamond seller, may be more of a Direct Market title than a mainstream title.

If we head over to DC’s Subscription Page, this is what we see left from the “New 52″:

  1. Action Comics
  2. Batman
  3. Detective Comics
  4. Justice League
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman and Robin
  7. Batman: The Dark Knight
  8. Catwoman T+
  9. The Flash
  10. Green Arrow
  11. Green Lantern
  12. Green Lantern Corps
  13. Nightwing
  14. Supergirl
  15. Superman
  16. Teen Titans
  17. Wonder Woman

Dan DiDio is reported as having said on Facebook

Unfortunately we are cancelling certain subscriptions that don’t do not get enough mail orders to justify the subscription service. A best selling book does not always translate to a high selling subscription and there is very little relation between the two.

Well, given some feedback, you might say that we reviewed the list and Aquaman might be “off the hook”.

So roughly 2/3 of the New 52 is deemed to have done too poorly via (print) subscription to be deemed worth offering the option.  Not exactly something you often hear from the world of periodicals.  On the other hand, I expect there are a few retailers quite happy that you can’t get Aquaman (unless there really is a change of heart) or Batwoman directly from the publisher.  That channel conflict is probably alive and well.

Apparently, there have been a few letters going out to titles whose subscriptions have been cancelled, attempting to switch the subscribers to another book.  Swamp Thing subscribers would theoretically switched over to Batman (Scott Snyder writes both, but I’m not sure that’s a one-to-one mapping — Wonder Woman might be a little closer in tone); Justice League International subscribers will be switched over to Superman (not sure what the rationale for this one is — possibly most of the JLI subscribers weren’t already subscribed to Superman?); Aquaman subscribers will be switched over to Justice League (this makes more sense, Aquaman being in the JL and DC’s doing the right thing and offering to eat the difference in cover price).  Justice League Dark subscribers are being switched over to… Batman: The Dark Knight?!? (Not a clue what the reasoning here is.  The most horror-oriented title still available by subscription is Wonder Woman.)

Now, you may note that the Cartoon Network line is still intact for subscriptions.  I’ve never seen DC’s subscription numbers, but I have seen the circulation audits for Marvel’s, a couple years back.  Marvel always did well with the Marvel Adventures line and would top 10,000 subscribers for Marvel Adventures Spider-Man.  It would not surprise me if the Cartoon Network books had more subscribers than Direct Market orders.

Still, it’s just strange to have circulation-based cancellations on subscriptions.  That’s a clear indicator DC is being cost-conscious.

The other big DC announcement of the week is their new web store: http://www.shopdcentertainment.com/.  Speaking of channel conflict, this web store isn’t all that different from http://www.marvelstore.com.  It’s mostly toys, clothes and merchandising.  No monthly comics.  No subscription link.  There is, however, a graphic novel page.  There are only 14 books listed.  Some Batman, Green Lantern and Superman books, plus the first volume of Sandman, two editions of Watchmen and that hardcover compilation of the New 52 first issues.  For the most part, it’s very movie-franchise oriented.  It’s also a little unusual to see DC (or Marvel for that matter) selling the actual comics directly to the public.  It’s even stranger that they’ll sell a graphic novel off this site, but not a subscription or even a link to the digital comics.  An oversight or a deliberate plan with a metric ton of nuance?  That I cannot tell you.  We’ll see how long the graphic novels stay up or if they add some more formats.

Tip o’ the hat to Bleeding Cool with the subscription materials.

Comments

  1. Torsten Adair says:

    The DC Shop is similar to the WB Shop:

    http://www.wbshop.com/search.do?query=DC+Comics&pp=12&sortby=bestSellersAscend

    Many regular publishers offer mail order via the web, and have offered such services for decades. (1970s paperbacks frequently listed catalog titles in the back of each book.) Random House doesn’t… their website directs to online booksellers.

    I do long for the day when DC follows the model of Warner Archives: print-on-demand graphic novels! Perhaps even allow customers to edit their own collections!

    DC’s “book shop” is located at:
    https://read.dccomics.com/

    Comic Shop Locator
    Comixology
    Subscriptions

  2. I know it has been mentioned on other sites and posts but if you can’t get to your local comic shop, and you do subscriptions, and your favorite New 52 got cut, you can still do mail order with another service to get what you need.

    I can’t recommend DCB Service in Indiana enough. I’ve been doing mail order with them since 2006 and routinely get 35 to 50% off on most books (monthlies and bigger stuff like Masterworks, Essentials, art books). They have a physical store in Indiana but have also branched out to use that store as a hub for mail order.

    Sounds like a great way to break the LCS sales blues by selling beyond their store limits. :)

  3. The rationale for the JLI-to-Superman swap could be a Jurgens-to-Jurgens move, perhaps.

  4. Jesse says:

    I am a reactionary DC hater but that is a fantastic Aquaman cover.

  5. Is hard to know how many actual sales via subscription they make… I don’t really understand how is it cost-effective based on how many subscriptions each title has. Is hard for me to imagine that whatever department does the job has to employ more people based on number of titles offered instead of the number of individual sales as a whole.

    On the other hand… ShopDCentertainment is a nice way to offer everything you can already order somewhere else, but at a higher price.

  6. Torsten Adair says:

    ShopDC isn’t too surprising… Disney and Warners both had retail store chains across the country.

    The DC store is just a boutique within the greater WB online store. And within that boutique, you can select smaller franchises, like Batman and Superman.

  7. MintyJester says:

    Did Bleeding Cool steal this story from you guys?

  8. BarryAlvarez says:

    Yeah, Bleeding Cool made a post about this but I think they we’re first. Funny because this all of brouhaha about nothing. DC does this regularly. I see titles dropped from the official subscription list and you think it means they’re cancelled. But this is not even remotely true.

  9. If I couldn’t get to a comics shop and had to subscribe I’d just do the digital thing.

    Even with a comics shop nearby I’m still considering digital.

  10. Andrew Farago says:

    This is pretty depressing news. When my local pharmacy changed ownership in early 1990, I suddenly had no place in town to buy comic books. My mother took pity on me and I managed to find a really good subscription offer for Marvel and DC books, which allowed me to keep up on most of my favorites, which I did until I went off to college and suddenly had access to several great comic shops.

    I guess that digital has replaced print subscriptions as the go-to format for new readers, but it’s sad to think that readers who are miles away from comic shops are going to have even fewer options for getting their hands on actual comic books now.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Publishing | Todd Allen notes that DC Comics has dropped some titles from its subscription service, including Aquaman, Batwoman and Swamp Thing. The move seems to be motivated by low sales in that channel, and Allen takes that as evidence DC is being cost-conscious. They are offering substitute series to subscribers, but it’s not clear what the logic is behind the substitutions. DC has also just launched a web store that sells lots of merch and a handful of graphic novels. [The Beat] […]

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