Last month, Bleeding Cool explained how Marvel uses variants, discounts, and extra shipping free copies to spike sales numbers in the direct market. Manipulating the Diamond charts can make Marvel look better against rival DC, even if nobody actually asked for the extra copies Marvel is shipping, and even if nobody ever buys them. Today, Marvel's retailer newsletter has gone out, revealing that Marvel is looking to spike the numbers for January, as quoted from the newsletter by The Beat's Heidi MacDonald:
10% EXTRA FOR FREE ON MARVEL UNIVERSE JANUARY SHIPPING TITLES!
As a thank you to Retailers, Marvel will be sending an additional 10% of FREE copies for all of January shipping Marvel Universe titles! For all orders made by FOC, Marvel will be sending 10% extra at no cost to Retailers!
The comic industry has seen a bit of a slump at the end of 2016, and there has been some panic about what could happen in 2017. It may not be time to admit the sky is falling yet, but Marvel should probably look to ways to get readers to ask for 10% more copies of their comics, rather than just sending them to retailers and calling it a day.