How can a publisher of Marvel's caliber fail to meet the demands with a proper supply?
As a young teen, I was a huge Spider-man fan, and I used to be blind and naive enough to ever think they could do no wrong with the popular webslinger that is the very icon of the popular comic publisher. That was however before the infamous middle finger to the long time fans that was One More Day and Brand New Day. I was many of the former die hard fans that swore off all SPIDER-MAN titles, but I just refused to buy any as long as Joe Quesada was the EIC at Marvel. This isn't a blog about OMD, and I'm pretty well tired of people telling me about "all the great stories that followed". As if that justifies creating one of the most broken stories in comic history that treats your readership like morons who have the long term memory of a six months old.
Well, with Quesada no longer EIC I became open of buying the series. However, not enough to invest in the high priced monthly series. I follow events online and see if a story is interesting enough. I don't care about spoilers, and events in these series never have any long term hold to effect enjoyment of reading. I do the trade waiting when it comes to SPIDER-MAN. It was mainly because of my love of Humberto Ramos' art that I actually purchased the digital trade of SPIDER-MAN: BIG TIME on Comixology. I really enjoyed it, but I felt it was a bit over hyped. I might have enjoyed it more if people hadn't been repeatedly doing nothing but trying to convince me to come back to SPIDER-MAN becasue "Big Time is so great!"....... There is something to be said for underselling to make for a better reading experience.
I followed the news of SPIDER-ISLAND on Comic Vine, and Ramos' art had me seriously anticipating the trade for this story. Unfortunately, Marvel isn't especially good about announcing trade releases, and it was never appearing on Comixology. It was ultimately released in January 2012, but I didn't learn about that until around September. That's when I was putting together my Amazon wishlist for the holidays. Just out of personal tastes, I prefer the paperback edition of comic trades. Hardcovers can often be heavy and awkward to take anywhere. I'm also not thrilled about the idea of spending more on a story I've never read before.
So, imagine my surprise when the Amazon store has the hardcover edition available now, but the paperback edition wont be published until October 2013. That's nearly two years after the story arc ended, and 22 months after the hardcover edition has been available. That is inexcusable. I understand wanting some gap between the releases, but this is insane. You'd think they would get the hardcover out for the hard core, but also want the paperback available soon for those who maybe aren't as invested but still want to read it. It's basic supply and demand. It's why they put out DVDs and Blu-rays at the same time for new releases. You strike while the iron is hot and interest in your product is high. This is more a case of striking while the iron is dead cold.
Whoever is in charge of distribution at Marvel must be working under the assumption that making the more expensive version the only one available will make them more money. Unfortunately for them, I'm not biting at that bait. Since they can seem to wait to earn any profits from the paperback. I can also wait to buy it. Providing by in that time I don't lose interest or forget about buying it at all together. In which case, they earn nothing.
In an industry that struggles with dropping sales, and trying to undercut online piracy. You'd think a publisher at Marvel's level wouldn't be making such a Big Time face plant. You'd think they'd want the largest possible market share. I'm not going to stoop to reading some online pirated version, but it's far more likely that making me wait this long will only result in me never reading it, period. Which is a shame since I was really interested before this.