Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men Moving to $4.99June 5, 2014
Per Rick Johnson of Bleeding Cool, Marvel plans to raise the price of Uncanny X-Men from $3.99 to $4.99 starting with issue #25. This probably doesn’t surprise a lot of readers given how comics such as Amazing Spider-Man #1 have recently sold for as much as $7.99 per issue. In a previous article, I discussed why DC Comics wasn’t able to hold the line at $2.99, and both DC and Marvel have arrived at the same conclusion: Why sell a book for $2.99 if you’ll sell the exact same number of copies at $3.99.
The real issue here is that in terms of total sales, the actual physical copies sold doesn’t differ based on a price change. While it’s a great service to their fans and readers to lower the price of a book, if they can sell 100,000 copies at $2.99 and 90,000 copies at $3.99, it’s bad business to not be at $3.99. As someone who’s tracked the profitability of marketing campaigns/initiatives for a living, it’s nearly impossible to accurately quantify sentiment. So even if everyone in your local comic book store is griping over the price increase, they’re still buying the book at the end of the day.
To Marvel‘s credit, they are going to include additional content in Uncanny X-Men (we think). My hope is that it isn’t in the form of some unrelated mini-story at the end of the book that is written and penciled by some interns. I am all for giving new books a chance, however, I think most of us can spot a scam when we see one. Now, if what we are going to get is more actual content that supports the main narrative, I’ll continue to buy the book.
In a vacuum, raising the price from $3.99 to $4.99 doesn’t seem like such an increase, despite that it’s a 25% increase. The real effect here is that most people’s budgets can’t increase 25% on comics. For those that think that this is the only book that will be effected by the change, you’re wrong. If the sales numbers dip lower than 25% of what they currently are, then perhaps it will force Marvel to rethink the change. I am sure publishers will be watching closely, as they’ll be more than anxious to follow suit, if there is more profit to be had.
Just think about that last statement, though: Marvel would have to lose 25% of their actual sales in order to lose on this price increase. I think most comic/pop culture fans realize that this is a demographic that has no problems spending hundreds of dollars on a paraphernalia and things made out of plastic. With that said, it’s also a passionate group that can certainly band together and put their foot down on issues as well. I just don’t think a $1 increase is one of them.
The reality is that this will probably force more fans to be discerning about which books they’ll continue to read. From a personal standpoint, I am going to have to slash a few of the smaller publisher’s books because the characters and stories don’t resonate with my childhood the same way that the X-Men do. Again, I don’t expect this increase to be on one book alone, or limited to just Marvel.