Posted by cbishop (7163 posts) - - Show Bio
#DateWelcome to my blog:Choose Your View:Attached to Forum:Back/ Next
607/17/10Why Comics Need to Change, Part 3: Death of the Local Comic Shop(Blog) (Forum)Gen. Discussion(Back) (Next)

In Parts One and Two, I've basically talked about the trade paperback - how it has changed the industry, and how it could change it further. All of that was saying basically one thing: the comic company needs to stop seeing itself as a magazine publisher, and start seeing itself as a book publisher. What would that mean to the local comic shop (or LCS) though?

There may have been some here and there before, but the LCS really started to become what it is today in the 1980's. Almost as soon as "comic shop" became a known phrase to me, comic companies - particularly DC - started printing series on Baxter paper instead of newsprint, and made them exclusively available to comic shops. It was a short wait for the "direct market edition," which was usually exactly the same as the newsstand edition, only the direct market version had a little picture in a corner box, where the barcode was on the newsstand version. This soon turned into the direct market version having an entirely different cover from the newsstand version. That later turned into the direct market version having more than one cover, which was known as the "retailer incentive cover," which eventually became known as the "variant cover" or "variant edition." Along the way, other things were enabled by the existence of the comic shop, like the ability to find back-issues, the various types of gimmick cover (die-cut, foil, hologram, glow-in-the-dark, etc.), the comic related trading cards, statues, apparel, and whatever other merchandise you can think of. In the course of all that, the newsstand edition pretty well died.

With the emergence of the trade paperback, comics slowly crept back into the retail bookstore, until today, your national book chain probably has a header that says "Graphic Novels" hanging from the ceiling, just as well as "Mystery," "Science Fiction," or whatever else they sell. They might have a spinner rack that holds several titles, but nowhere near what the industry has to offer, so it's clear that graphic novels are their principle means of selling comics. How long will it be before the comic companies realize that? If the graphic novel is what they're going to sell to the retail stores, they can make an eighty percent cut in costs (see Part 2) and still be selling to the national chains. Why are they going to worry about the comic shop?

If the LCS is left with only collected editions to sell new, where does that leave them? They've got back issues, comic related merchandise (statues, figures, apparel, etc.) and whatever gaming items they might sell (things like Magic the Gathering or World of Warcraft). For the five or six shops in my area, that would be their death knell, because the monthly issues keep them alive. So what happens? Do they branch out into other things to stay alive, or do they become extinct? Would it matter? Other than the convenience of walking in and putting your hands on the product, what can the LCS offer that the Internet doesn't? Most collectors I have run across who buy things like statues and figures are online getting the latest news about those items, and know what's coming out at the same time the LCS owner does, if not before. In my area, the LCS barely carries back-issues, because they consider them as something that's taking up valuable floor space for new product. For most shops in my area, the back issues they have are just the issues they were unable to sell when they were new. The only other back issues they buy are rare ones, usually from the 1960's on back, and they don't see those particularly often.

So has it become a Catch-22? The comic companies could make an approximate eighty percent cut in their costs by going to just graphic novels, but it could mean the end of the local comic shop. Would that mean the end of comics, or would they stay afloat simply with the national book chains, movie rights, and by pushing their comic merchandise through places like Wal-Mart and Target? That's all they had to work with before the LCS, and today, it might be an appealing thought to the corporate owned Big Two, because the death of the LCS might also mean the death of their competitors. Many smaller companies depend on that monthly issue, because the sales of the monthly issue determine whether or not they publish a trade paperback, and their often eratic publishing schedules makes the LCS the only thing that keeps them alive. When looking at the numbers, might the Big Two be interested in putting everyone else out of business? Could they do it, with the Internet out there to help the smaller companies?

*******

Back/ Next#DateWhich blog will it be:Choose Your View:Attached to Forum:
Part 1:407/17/10Why Comics Need to Change, Part 1: Continuity and Copyrights(Blog) (Forum)Retcon
Back:507/17/10Why Comics Need to Change, Part 2: Trade Paperbacks(Blog) (Forum)Trade Paperback
Next:707/18/10New Batman Family, The(Blog) (Forum) (List)Batman Family

*******

Want more blogs?ViewTheIndex
Full Blog Index:(numerical order)(alphabetical order)(categorized: [numerically] [alphabetically])

Thanks again!

#1 Posted by G Bird (1278 posts) - - Show Bio

That's quite an interesting post, and you bring up valid points. Personally, I would like if instead of single issues they would do a trade paperback the size of 5 or 6 issues. It would save money for us and you would have more to read at one time instead of a few pages at a time with single issues.

#2 Posted by Nova`Prime` (4157 posts) - - Show Bio

If I wasn't so impatient I would be a strict collector of trades, first off they look nicer on the shelf and can easily be picked out and they don't take up as much space as box after box of comics that maybe get read two or three times before being put away for ever... or until you pass them on to a child or donate them to a library. I don't think however that the comic industry themselves worry to much about the LCBS, or they all wouldn't relay on one single distributor.  However switching to this format they would get greater exposure to the general public.
 
I had a discussion with my LCS guy about the very idea of the industry going to strictly trades... or releasing trades sooner when a story arc finishes. His answer to that was he would order less single issues and start ordering more trades, which I replied I'd be happy with that (granted I wouldn't go there to get them, especially when I can get them for a discount price on Amazon). 
 
So in short I would be behind a purely TPB driven comic industry.

#3 Posted by pikahyper (11534 posts) - - Show Bio

It will never happen and honestly I don't want it to and nobody I know offline would want it to. Changing to a trade only policy would kill the comic industry not just local comic stores. The cost of printing may go down 80% but you have to think about how long inbetween trades timewise there is, a new trade from a comic title every 4-6 months is not nearly enough so sales would drop out of impatience so then the publishers would try to increase the amount of trades per year so instead of 3-4 trades a year for a title it would be 6+ and when you are pumping out that many trades in such a short time the comic quality itself will suffer cause that is a pace most writers and artists couldn't keep up with and the publisher savings would decrease putting out so much material and probably paying extra artists and writers to keep up the pace.
 
Going trades only would also kill off die hard comic book fans because reading strictly in trades if you collect a number of titles can be confusing continuity-wise because so much can happen title to title in four to six issues, how in the world could anybody keep a proper continuity? read an issue in one trade then switch to another trade and so on? Complete waste.
 
I'm not sure where you are from but comic stores where I am in SoCal don't really make much money off of new comics, most of the income comes from back issues, variants with inflated prices and other merchandise. The profit on new comics is not very much, when you order from Diamond you only get a small percentage off of the retail price. It depends on how much you order but the average is between 30-40% off retail so if the stores weekly order costs $1600 that is probably only about $600 "profit" from that week that goes towards business expenses and no store sells everything they receive each week so once you pay for store bills, rent, and employees there is no profit really. Any real profit comes from everything else you sell. Honestly any retailer that would be ok with switching from singles to trades is out of there mind, the discount may be greater with trades but because of the span of time between releases you will get less people coming in weekly and your store will not be able to survive especially since book stores and online retailers can give huge discounts.
 
I've read more then a few articles that have looked primarily at the big two and shown that the publishers do not need to make any money off of single issue comics because they are a form of advertising for all their other mediums like movies, tv, merchandise, and other media so for Marvel and DC their print branches are pretty much self sustainable because they make enough money to cover costs and staff and any money left over can be used to help with growth and if for some reason the print branch is in the red at any given time the parent company can use it as a tax write off so having single issues always be published is better in the long run because it saturates the market with their brand name and it will continue to do so for generations.

Moderator
#4 Posted by Prims777 (102 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think Comic Book Shops would disappear even with a switch to only trades. There's something about the atmosphere of a comic shop that will keep customers coming back.  
 
Another thing to think about is the money made off of ads in single issue comics. I'm sure Marvel and DC are making a fair few penny from those.

#5 Posted by cbishop (7163 posts) - - Show Bio
@Prims777 said:
"I don't think Comic Book Shops would disappear even with a switch to only trades. There's something about the atmosphere of a comic shop that will keep customers coming back.   Another thing to think about is the money made off of ads in single issue comics. I'm sure Marvel and DC are making a fair few penny from those."

I actually hadn't considered the ad revenue.  I think they would find a way to make that up, if they went to trades-only.  As for the atmosphere of the comic shop, I have no doubt that fans would continue to go there, but I do have doubts that a comic shop could sustain itself on trades only.  I think they'd have to diversify, selling something non-comic related to keep the store afloat.  At that point, are they still a comic shop?
#6 Posted by cbishop (7163 posts) - - Show Bio
@pikahyper said:
"It will never happen and honestly I don't want it to and nobody I know offline would want it to. Changing to a trade only policy would kill the comic industry not just local comic stores. The cost of printing may go down 80% but you have to think about how long inbetween trades timewise there is, a new trade from a comic title every 4-6 months is not nearly enough so sales would drop out of impatience so then the publishers would try to increase the amount of trades per year so instead of 3-4 trades a year for a title it would be 6+ and when you are pumping out that many trades in such a short time the comic quality itself will suffer cause that is a pace most writers and artists couldn't keep up with and the publisher savings would decrease putting out so much material and probably paying extra artists and writers to keep up the pace."
 
This isn't true of everyone, but people typically don't adjust well to change, and yeah, I'm talking about a huge change here.  Let me be clear here though: the corporations that own DC and Marvel do. not. care. about the monthly comics.  They do not make money for them - the movies and merchandising do that.  I have talked to pros who say the projects are picked according to the mood the boss is in when he hears the pitch.  A twelve-issue mini-series might get retooled into a two-issue book, because they still needed a two-issue book that month - nevermind the story.  The same printer that prints Reader's Digest also prints (or did at one, at least) DC Comics' titles.  RD prints one million to 1.5 million copies a month, and a typical comic prints 30,000 copies.  The printer doesn't care.  They run those on the midnight shift, when everything else is done, and before the comic company's rep can look at the proofs and say, "The color's not right here," the print run is done.  Single issues simply do. not. make. money.  Not enough for anyone outside of the comic industry to care.  TW/AOL and Disney only care about the movies and merchandise they can sell.  Now, are they wising up, and realizing the comics need to be good enough to sell those properties to movieland and merchandisers?  Yes.  Is that totally screwing with the continuities we have come to know and love, and causing major changes/ updates to characters?  Also yes.
 
You're thinking of the trades as coming out the same way the single issues do, and as sustaining the same market.  That's not the case, and was exactly my point.  Bookstore chains have a few token titles on the spinner rack, but they are selling trade paperbacks.  You keep continuity by putting volume numbers on the spines - no biggy.  They don't have to be completely in line with every other trade out there - that's the point.  Epic crossovers are instead contained to one book - a book, not a monthly title.  Fans of Star Trek and Star Wars novels have been buying those for years, and they used to come out typically six months apart - it never hurt sales.  As demand grew, other lines of novels were released, and more writers were hired.  That's how you keep up with any increased demand for trade paperbacks: bring in more talent, not overtax the existing talent.  You also do away with that multiple title bull.  Superman gets one title, Batman gets one title, Spider-Man, X-Men, etc., get one title.  If they do put out different titles, they have different creative teams, and they tell their own stories - it's completely feasible.  They do a yearly "Superman Summit" now to coordinate continuity - there's no reason they couldn't do that with trades-only. 

There is a huge difference between a magazine market (comics) and a book market (trades).  Yes, it would be a change, but fans would get used to it.  Trades-only would mean a consistent writer/artist for the entire storyline, instead of writer/artist-A from title-A, writer/artist-B from title-B, etc. combined into one book.  How nice would that be? 
 
I don't buy the "dropping out of impatience" thing.  Too many fans read this or that title in trade, while collecting their other titles in monthly issues.  I think the transition would really be minor.

@pikahyper said:
"Going trades only would also kill off die hard comic book fans because reading strictly in trades if you collect a number of titles can be confusing continuity-wise because so much can happen title to title in four to six issues, how in the world could anybody keep a proper continuity? read an issue in one trade then switch to another trade and so on? Complete waste."
 
There's no such thing as getting rid of a diehard comic fan.  They will get their comics any way they can.  I know, because I am one.  The concerns with continuity here are again from the perspective of the comic as a monthly magazine.  Continuity would change, and likely be looser.  Is that really such a bad thing?  They don't really keep tight continuity now.  This writer changes something, and this writer doesn't know or forgets, and changes it or ignores it.  Characterizations are different from creator-to-creator, plot points are lost.  As a book, you tell a good story for that book, and you keep the book's continuity in the next volume.  You don't worry so much about the twenty other books (BOOKS, not issues) coming out at the same time. 

@pikahyper said:
"I'm not sure where you are from but comic stores where I am in SoCal don't really make much money off of new comics, most of the income comes from back issues, variants with inflated prices and other merchandise. The profit on new comics is not very much, when you order from Diamond you only get a small percentage off of the retail price. It depends on how much you order but the average is between 30-40% off retail so if the stores weekly order costs $1600 that is probably only about $600 "profit" from that week that goes towards business expenses and no store sells everything they receive each week so once you pay for store bills, rent, and employees there is no profit really. Any real profit comes from everything else you sell. Honestly any retailer that would be ok with switching from singles to trades is out of there mind, the discount may be greater with trades but because of the span of time between releases you will get less people coming in weekly and your store will not be able to survive especially since book stores and online retailers can give huge discounts."
 
I'm on the West Coast, and I'd bet you are wrong about them making money on back issues.  The store owners in my area have outright told me that back issues are dead space in their store.  They sell for cover price or lower - usually $1 or lower - take forever to move, and are only being added to monthly.  Fans mostly have the issues they are looking for, and come in to get their new issues each Wednesday.  If comic companies allowed returns like book companies do, stores would be ripping the covers off and sending them back for credit, the way booksellers do, and then back issues might be worth something again, because an awful lot of them would be getting destroyed in the returns process.  Where you are correct is in the profit being from variants and merchandise, such as statues, figures, and clothes (among other licensed products, obviously). 
 
Also, you're correct in thinking the comic store owner wouldn't want the transition to trades-only.  They do rely on the monthly issues to bring people in to see the licensed merchandise.  As Prims77 pointed out, fans are still going to go to comic shops, just for the atmosphere, but with a trades-only industry, the comic shop would have to diversify to survive, and would not be recognized as the same animal we are used to today.  Which is exactly my point about it being the death of the LCS.  Which goes back to the original point: Disney and TW/AOL do. not. care. about the monthly comics, so don't think that they care about the monthly comic retailer.  There are book chains that will carry their trades.  I think that one day they're going to realize this, and it's bye-bye LCS.

@pikahyper said:
"I've read more then a few articles that have looked primarily at the big two and shown that the publishers do not need to make any money off of single issue comics because they are a form of advertising for all their other mediums like movies, tv, merchandise, and other media so for Marvel and DC their print branches are pretty much self sustainable because they make enough money to cover costs and staff and any money left over can be used to help with growth and if for some reason the print branch is in the red at any given time the parent company can use it as a tax write off so having single issues always be published is better in the long run because it saturates the market with their brand name and it will continue to do so for generations."

<Raspberries> Baloney.  "The publishers do not need to make any money off of single issue comics."  Period.  That's the whole point.  They don't need the single issue comics.  What market are they saturating?  The comic market?  Whoopee.  How many times have we read that the comic "market" is about 500,000 fans?  Drop in the bucket.  Box Office Mojo says that Batman Begins had a domestic (meaning USA) opening weekend of $48,745,440.  It's worldwide total gross was $372,710,015.  So did 500,000 comic fans each go to see that movie 745+ times, or did TW/AOL tap into a much larger market?  At $10 a ticket, that's 37,271,001.5 people (that poor half-person) that went to see the movie - that's 36+ million more people than the comic market supports.  Dude, I love this hobby, but Disney and TW/AOL do not care.  The Superman "S" T-shirt is the number one selling T-shirt worldwide - they care about that... and movies that gross over a quarter billion dollars. 

Woooooooo, pika' I like your comments!  We've had three or four exchanges so far, and I usually don't agree with you, but you make me think.  Love that!  Thanks for responding. :)
#7 Edited by pikahyper (11534 posts) - - Show Bio
@cbishop said:

" This isn't true of everyone, but people typically don't adjust well to change, and yeah, I'm talking about a huge change here.  Let me be clear here though: the corporations that own DC and Marvel do. not. care. about the monthly comics.  They do not make money for them - the movies and merchandising do that.  I have talked to pros who say the projects are picked according to the mood the boss is in when he hears the pitch.  A twelve-issue mini-series might get retooled into a two-issue book, because they still needed a two-issue book that month - nevermind the story.  The same printer that prints Reader's Digest also prints (or did at one, at least) DC Comics' titles.  RD prints one million to 1.5 million copies a month, and a typical comic prints 30,000 copies.  The printer doesn't care.  They run those on the midnight shift, when everything else is done, and before the comic company's rep can look at the proofs and say, "The color's not right here," the print run is done.  Single issues simply do. not. make. money.  Not enough for anyone outside of the comic industry to care.  TW/AOL and Disney only care about the movies and merchandise they can sell.  Now, are they wising up, and realizing the comics need to be good enough to sell those properties to movieland and merchandisers?  Yes.  Is that totally screwing with the continuities we have come to know and love, and causing major changes/ updates to characters?  Also yes.
 
You're thinking of the trades as coming out the same way the single issues do, and as sustaining the same market.  That's not the case, and was exactly my point.  Bookstore chains have a few token titles on the spinner rack, but they are selling trade paperbacks.  You keep continuity by putting volume numbers on the spines - no biggy.  They don't have to be completely in line with every other trade out there - that's the point.  Epic crossovers are instead contained to one book - a book, not a monthly title.  Fans of Star Trek and Star Wars novels have been buying those for years, and they used to come out typically six months apart - it never hurt sales.  As demand grew, other lines of novels were released, and more writers were hired.  That's how you keep up with any increased demand for trade paperbacks: bring in more talent, not overtax the existing talent.  You also do away with that multiple title bull.  Superman gets one title, Batman gets one title, Spider-Man, X-Men, etc., get one title.  If they do put out different titles, they have different creative teams, and they tell their own stories - it's completely feasible.  They do a yearly "Superman Summit" now to coordinate continuity - there's no reason they couldn't do that with trades-only. 

There is a huge difference between a magazine market (comics) and a book market (trades).  Yes, it would be a change, but fans would get used to it.  Trades-only would mean a consistent writer/artist for the entire storyline, instead of writer/artist-A from title-A, writer/artist-B from title-B, etc. combined into one book.  How nice would that be? 
 
I don't buy the "dropping out of impatience" thing.  Too many fans read this or that title in trade, while collecting their other titles in monthly issues.  I think the transition would really be minor. "

So you honestly see no problem with trades? I feel like you are oversimplifying the whole thing. What exactly is wrong with diversifying like they are and publishing both monthlies and single issues? I don't see it damaging the market or holding it back so why change it?
 
@cbishop said:

" @pikahyper said:

"Going trades only would also kill off die hard comic book fans because reading strictly in trades if you collect a number of titles can be confusing continuity-wise because so much can happen title to title in four to six issues, how in the world could anybody keep a proper continuity? read an issue in one trade then switch to another trade and so on? Complete waste."
 
There's no such thing as getting rid of a diehard comic fan.  They will get their comics any way they can.  I know, because I am one.  The concerns with continuity here are again from the perspective of the comic as a monthly magazine.  Continuity would change, and likely be looser.  Is that really such a bad thing?  They don't really keep tight continuity now.  This writer changes something, and this writer doesn't know or forgets, and changes it or ignores it.  Characterizations are different from creator-to-creator, plot points are lost.  As a book, you tell a good story for that book, and you keep the book's continuity in the next volume.  You don't worry so much about the twenty other books (BOOKS, not issues) coming out at the same time. "
Currently trades are fairly confusing as most of them do not follow a sequential numbering system, instead they have extended titles identifying what they are, I do believe all trades should have sequential numbering though but how is the average person supposed to figure out what to get and in what order? As you mentioned before they would have to cut down on the amount of titles and package all crossovers in specific trades but if they did that how would they get people to try new characters and titles? Wouldn't it be harder to attract a new reader to Title X when it has a high price tag of $14-20 instead of a single issue at $3.99? By minimizing the amount of titles to make it easier for readers to adopt it they also diminish the amount of money they can make from a characters stable of books.  
 
@cbishop said:

" @pikahyper said:

"I'm not sure where you are from but comic stores where I am in SoCal don't really make much money off of new comics, most of the income comes from back issues, variants with inflated prices and other merchandise. The profit on new comics is not very much, when you order from Diamond you only get a small percentage off of the retail price. It depends on how much you order but the average is between 30-40% off retail so if the stores weekly order costs $1600 that is probably only about $600 "profit" from that week that goes towards business expenses and no store sells everything they receive each week so once you pay for store bills, rent, and employees there is no profit really. Any real profit comes from everything else you sell. Honestly any retailer that would be ok with switching from singles to trades is out of there mind, the discount may be greater with trades but because of the span of time between releases you will get less people coming in weekly and your store will not be able to survive especially since book stores and online retailers can give huge discounts."
 
I'm on the West Coast, and I'd bet you are wrong about them making money on back issues.  The store owners in my area have outright told me that back issues are dead space in their store.  They sell for cover price or lower - usually $1 or lower - take forever to move, and are only being added to monthly.  Fans mostly have the issues they are looking for, and come in to get their new issues each Wednesday.  If comic companies allowed returns like book companies do, stores would be ripping the covers off and sending them back for credit, the way booksellers do, and then back issues might be worth something again, because an awful lot of them would be getting destroyed in the returns process.  Where you are correct is in the profit being from variants and merchandise, such as statues, figures, and clothes (among other licensed products, obviously).  "
I don't know what shops you are going to but I have been in comic book retail for almost 20 years now and while I do know some retailers believe back issues are dead I've seen that they aren't, if they are for your specific shops then maybe they just have a crap back issue selection or the people in their community aren't in to older comics. All the stores in my area do pretty well with back issues but most of them also sell them online and it brings in a pretty nice chuck of change each month. If back issues are dead then how exactly is Mile High doing so well right now? Chuck is constantly buying up old stock from both collectors and stores and he is always looking for more stuff to buy and even has a wishlist of stuff he needs back in stock.
 
@cbishop said:

" @pikahyper said:

"I've read more then a few articles that have looked primarily at the big two and shown that the publishers do not need to make any money off of single issue comics because they are a form of advertising for all their other mediums like movies, tv, merchandise, and other media so for Marvel and DC their print branches are pretty much self sustainable because they make enough money to cover costs and staff and any money left over can be used to help with growth and if for some reason the print branch is in the red at any given time the parent company can use it as a tax write off so having single issues always be published is better in the long run because it saturates the market with their brand name and it will continue to do so for generations."

<Raspberries> Baloney.  "The publishers do not need to make any money off of single issue comics."  Period.  That's the whole point.  They don't need the single issue comics.  What market are they saturating?  The comic market?  Whoopee.  How many times have we read that the comic "market" is about 500,000 fans?  Drop in the bucket.  Box Office Mojo says that Batman Begins had a domestic (meaning USA) opening weekend of $48,745,440.  It's worldwide total gross was $372,710,015.  So did 500,000 comic fans each go to see that movie 745+ times, or did TW/AOL tap into a much larger market?  At $10 a ticket, that's 37,271,001.5 people (that poor half-person) that went to see the movie - that's 36+ million more people than the comic market supports.  Dude, I love this hobby, but Disney and TW/AOL do not care.  The Superman "S" T-shirt is the number one selling T-shirt worldwide - they care about that... and movies that gross over a quarter billion dollars. "
I agree with you they don't need to make money off single issue comics but I still think they do need the single issues to exist. By market I don't mean the comic market I mean the entire world as a market, comics are generally seen as for kids and that is for a reason the younger generation is seeing these characters on tv in cartoons and in movies and in the toys and merch, comics are another venue too pull in more kids and more money and the more they see in comic form the more they are likely to get in other forms which extends the reach of the parent company and gets them more money. Every year pulls in more and more kids and if you latch on to them early you have life long spenders whenever the parent company wants it.
 
Comic books have a long and rich history to them and I truly can't see any business with half a brain going and killing that history, it just doesn't make any sense to me, screw the profits dropping the single issues would just be a huge FU to entire generations of comic fans and while the comic market may be relatively small officially there are still hundreds of thousands of people that this would effect in some way or another. Something you haven't mentioned to is the fact that "graphic novels" are trendy right now and that is one of the main reasons trade sales have increased so much in recent years and why book stores have entire sections devoted to them, what happens when the trend ends like all trends eventually do? Comic properties and characters are big money now for movies mainly because the movie industry needs them because they can't come up with their own ideas any more, what happens when they over-saturate the market again and can't make money off comic movies and go back to more recycled garbage ideas? If comic publishers are using a trade only model and the bottom falls out for trades in the broader market because of trends what are they going to do? scramble and go back to the old singles model or just up and die? Single comics are a sustainable and grow-able industry with decades of proven success whereas a trade only industry has no real basis for sustainable growth and profitability because it is based on a foundation of trends.
 
When the trends do end personally I won't be sad to see those posers leave and I can stop hearing everybody call comic books god damn graphic novels.
Moderator
#8 Edited by pikahyper (11534 posts) - - Show Bio

Here's another thing to think about, if the big two switch to a trade only model and they kill off comic book shops what happens to indie books? How many small publishers will perish because they can't afford the upfront costs and time of a trade only model? There are still some publishers that don't do trades at all like Archie and Eros. The big two can handle it and Dark Horse, Image, IDW, and maybe a few others but what about the rest? They would either have to go the underground route and self publish and self distribute print comics via the internet, switch to a digital only model or go under. Lord knows what would happen to Diamond.
 
Edited to add:
Also out of curiosity how old are you? I have a weird feeling our different views might be age related :P

Moderator
#9 Posted by Jnr6Lil (7689 posts) - - Show Bio

nice blogs man. really interesting
#10 Posted by turoksonofstone (13199 posts) - - Show Bio
I was thinking how the Medium may have really died with the end of "Newsstand" distribution and the move to the direct market. And now with Pirated comics available along with TPB's, and Marvel/DC losing touch with what is appropriate to charge for a monthly book, The medium has some tough times ahead for sure.
#11 Posted by cbishop (7163 posts) - - Show Bio
@Jnr6Lil said:
"nice blogs man. really interesting "
Thank you. Much appreciated. 

@turoksonofstone said:
" I was thinking how the Medium may have really died with the end of "Newsstand" distribution and the move to the direct market. And now with Pirated comics available along with TPB's, and Marvel/DC losing touch with what is appropriate to charge for a monthly book, The medium has some tough times ahead for sure. "

Nah, moving to direct market didn't kill it.  For the distribution system and specialized outlets it created, it actually helped it - we'd have little to no indie industry without it (until the Internet got going, but that was several years after direct market got going).  I think the direct market is an artificial system though - it's only sustainable for as long as those involved are willing to cooperate.  The direct market was great for Marvel & DC at first, because it gave them a place to get all of their product displayed in one spot, and really get it out there to the customers.  Now though, with book chains seeing that trades will sell, and with the Internet out there to help things, why would they want to sustain the direct market (the comic shops)?  Would it be totally cruddy of them to do that, since the DM got them where they are? Yep, but I believe that eventually, some corporate number cruncher with no love for comics is going to see how that business can be trimmed by changing their business model, and that will be it. 
 
They're going to see that it's too their advantage, because the end of the LCS would mean the end of their indy competition, as well as those indies that are starting to get larger, like IDW, Oni, DDP, probably Dynamite, and maybe Dark Horse and Image.  I think Dark Horse could weather it, and keep up with the trades-only process, but I have serious doubts about Image.  Pikahyper pointed out that Archie doesn't do trades (although they have done some) but the fact is, Archie did very well for themselves on the grocery store impulse counters.  They've always kept their numbers secret - no one really knows exactly how well they've done - just that they have done well.  I imagine they would go back to that model. 
 
I just think it's cold reality that one day, someone in the Big Two will see that it's better for their bottom line to put the rest of the industry out of business, by pulling out of the LCS system, and going with trades-only and bookstore chains.  I could be wrong... I'd like to be wrong... but I think it's coming.  I honestly don't think about it much, or even often, but when I do think about it, this is what I see happening.  <sigh> I owe pikahyper a response to his response, but cannot get to it tonight.  So I'm gonna cut this short ("short?") and say adios for now.  Adios for now! ;)
#12 Posted by turoksonofstone (13199 posts) - - Show Bio
@cbishop: 
I believe the "Comic Buying Public" had a population # like 150,000 in North America placed on it recently.
They are undercutting their own audience by moving toward TPB's, It would not surprise me at all if they killed the monthlies/Comic Stores etc.
Disney and Time Warner own the classic heroes. And therefore the majority of the Audience. In essence Supes and Spidey have "Sold Out".
If I have my way there will always be my line to look forward too, lol. And I'm pretty sure anyone willing to look should still have an option beyond Marvel and DC regardless of what they decide.