Circulation Figures Show Archie’s Sonic Comic in Decline

The circulation numbers have been published for Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog comic run, and they make for some interesting reading. Comparing the sales, print and return figures between 1999, 2000 and 2001 offer some decent context for the health of the series, and while the numbers show that circulation is clearly decreasing year-on-year, Archie seems to have slowed down the rate of the comic’s readership decline.

There are potentially many factors behind the below statistics – the leadership at Archie, readership reception to the current era stories and artwork, and the lure of technological advances pulling some away from print entirely – but for now we get to see the raw numbers in Archie’s Sonic performance.

Ron Bauerle provided the following figures to The Sonic Foundation, which is where we sourced the below.

First number is the average for the filing period (issues 87-99);
Second number is for the issue nearest the filing date (11/7/00 (sic)):

Number of Copies:
Sonic 1999: 133908/118024
Sonic 2000: 103044/80607
Sonic 2001: 73201/68555

Dealer Sales:
Sonic 1999: 40716/41227
Sonic 2000: 32424/33815
Sonic 2001: 26983/29594

Dealer Sales – Mail Subscriptions:
Sonic 1999: 5338/4338
Sonic 2000: 4257/4870
Sonic 2001: 3682/3158

Total Sales:
Sonic 1999: 46054/45615
Sonic 2000: 36681/38685
Sonic 2001: 30665/32752

Free Distribution By Mail:
Sonic 1999: 290/291
Sonic 2000: 296/298
Sonic 2001: 293/292

Free Distribution, Non-Mail:
Sonic 1999: 197/198
Sonic 2000: 147/147
Sonic 2001: 141/144

Total Free Distribution:
Sonic 1999: 487/489
Sonic 2000: 443/445
Sonic 2001: 435/436

Total Distribution:
Sonic 1999: 46540/46154
Sonic 2000: 37124/39130
Sonic 2001: 31100/33188

Office Use / Leftovers / Spoiled:
Sonic 2001: 6767/6217

Non-Distributed Copies:
Sonic 2000: 3583/1198
Sonic 2001: 2187/2176

Returns From Agents:
Sonic 1999: 80601/64473
Sonic 2000: (62337/40279)
Sonic 2001: (39914/33191)

TOTAL:
Sonic 1999: 133908/116844
Sonic 2000: (103044/80607)
Sonic 2001: (73201/68555)

I see they don’t have to report the returns from agents any more; I subtracted the total distribution from the total copies to get the number above.

(Percentage Change in Sales):
Sonic 1999: -29.8/-30.5
Sonic 2000: -20.3/-18.0
Sonic 2001: -16.4/-15.3

(Percentage Change in Total):
Sonic 1999: -19.0/-21.6
Sonic 2000: -23.0/-31.7
Sonic 2001: -29.0/-15.0

(Percentage Change in Subs):
Sonic 1999: -19.4/-31.0
Sonic 2000: -20.3/+12.3
Sonic 2001: -13.5/-35.1

(Percentage Returns Total):
Sonic 1999: 60/55
Sonic 2000: 60/50
Sonic 2001: 55/48