Marvel Offering Exclusive Five-Dollar Paperbacks Through Walmart To Hook New Customers
Marvel is quietly making a big push to get its comics into mainstream retail -- the most mainstream retail -- at a hefty discount.
A report over at The Beat details how "exclusive" editions of Marvel trade paperbacks -- the key example is the Amazing Spider-Man "Big Time" trade from 2011 -- are selling at Walmart for $5 each. For comparison, the regular trade retails for $14.99 and is on sale at Amazon right now for $11.48.
The reprints are reportedly printed on cheaper paper than regular trades, and some are stapled rather than perfect bound, but perhaps the most important detail in the deal is that the trades include prominent ads for newer trades and for discount subscriptions on titles including Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Captain America.
That range of titles suggests a clear effort by Marvel to reach out to fans of Marvel Studios films at a retail venue that they're far more likely to visit than any comic shop. In a decade-plus of superhero movies absolutely dominating at the box office, comic book sales at comic shops have only seen a slight uptick.
The Walmart deal also seems to be a way for Marvel to make inroads in areas where comic shops are few and far between, but where Walmarts are abundant. Walmart is everywhere, but you can't buy single issues there. That's where the subscriptions come in.
I don't remember the last time I saw an ad for comic subscriptions in an actual comic book, but putting ads in cheap paperbacks seems like a smart move on Marvel's part. Marvel hasn't particularly publicized any of this, so we'll just have to watch and see how effective this new strategy is.