Grotesque Anatomy
Thursday, January 15, 2004
  Shonen Jump Sales: Now Divide My Enthusiasm By Two
Almost forgot to mention this:  Last week I asked readers for help in determining what the actual sales figures were like for Shonen Jump.  Helpful reader Mark searched through the January 2004 issue of Shonen Jump and found the following information from Viz's circulation report:
Page 302, down in the corner in teeny tiny print. I'm not going to type the whole thing in, but for October 2003, they list total paid circulation of 140,323 out of a total of 283,000 copies. The average from February thru October shows total paid circulation of 150,961 out of 349,444 total copies.
Thanks for the info, Mark.  And thanks to Matt Maxwell for first bringing this to my attention.  I knew newsstand magazines faced returns, but I had no idea returns could account for half a print run or more.  I'll definitely keep this in mind when I read future press releases from Viz about the amazing sales of Shonen Jump.  Not that I'm suddenly declaring Shonen Jump a failure.  From what I understand, Shonen Jump's rate of sales vs. returns is actually pretty good for a newsstand periodical.  And Viz maintains that circulation continues to rise.  But I will definitely mentally adjust those sales figures from now on.

I'm still left wondering:  Why is selling half of your print run considered a success in the magazine business?  Why don't publishers try to bring print runs more in line with actual sales numbers?  Is having half (or more) of your print run sitting unsold on the stands considered the price of doing business (have to allow for reading copies, which will get damaged/beat up)?
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by John Jakala

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