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  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkazaz View Post
    On the other hand my point was that there is a growing market for just trades i mean a segment that never buys magazines. That segment is better served by the online bookstores for the reasons I outlined. Has your analysis revealed something different?
    Here's the last four years of the total BookScan figures (I didn't create this just for you, I'm cutting and pasting from TaW #200) -- does this look like a "growing market"?

    This figures INCLUDE Amazon, along with a significant percentage of bookstores.


    Year # of listed items Percent Change Total Unit Sold Percent Change Total Dollars Sold Percent Change Av. Sale per title Av $ per title
    2007 13,181 ----- 15,386,549 ----- $183,066,142.30 ----- 1167 $13,888.64
    2008 17,571 24.98% 15,541,769 1.00% $199,033,741.57 8.02% 885 $11,327.40
    2009 19,692 12.07% 14,095,145 -9.31% $189,033,736.31 -5.02% 716 $9,599.52
    2010 21,993 11.68% 12,130,232 -13.94% $172,435,244.86 -8.78% 552 $7,840.32

    The book market for comics largely plateaued a few years ago, and the rising number of SKUs for TPs is just a repeat of how the comics publishers have done business for many years: find a trend and ride it straight into the ground.

    Quote Originally Posted by dkazaz View Post
    As another poster said the DM store model is the same as 30 years ago - most stores are run as nickel and dime stores with some notable exceptions.
    As Bob noted, the notion that the DM retailer operates in the same manner as 30 years ago is pretty damn laughable. The Me of 1989 (when I first opened) would go out of business in 6 months in 2011 if we were Quantum Leaped.

    Think about it rationally: if you're a "nickle and dime" operation, how do you stay in business year after year?

    -B

  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Hibbs View Post
    Here's the last four years of the total BookScan figures (I didn't create this just for you, I'm cutting and pasting from TaW #200) -- does this look like a "growing market"?

    This figures INCLUDE Amazon, along with a significant percentage of bookstores.

    The book market for comics largely plateaued a few years ago, and the rising number of SKUs for TPs is just a repeat of how the comics publishers have done business for many years: find a trend and ride it straight into the ground.

    As Bob noted, the notion that the DM retailer operates in the same manner as 30 years ago is pretty damn laughable. The Me of 1989 (when I first opened) would go out of business in 6 months in 2011 if we were Quantum Leaped.

    Think about it rationally: if you're a "nickle and dime" operation, how do you stay in business year after year?

    -B
    Good point - I guess I have been away from comic shops for a while now. The ones I see still seem stuck in the old ways but probably many have evolved.
    Regardless, my point about the average comic shop failing in the online market (for trades, or new stuff) still applies. As recently as two years ago, I tried switching back from trades to monthly books and order online from a very reputable (and supposedly advanced) UK store. It was a pretty sad state - wrong comics sent, difficult ordering system - an online model stuck in the 90's. I gave up after 6 months. I have found a group of large US stores that serve me well but still not well enough to make me switch back to monthly comics.

    Note that this does it run altogether counter to your basic argument. Perhaps the key problem online (same as offline) is exactly what you say - a glut of low quality titles, that makes ordering complex, risky and ultimately unrewarding. The shops didn't get it right but it was easier to get it wrong due to the publishers.

    As to your data on sales - that was a real shock. I never imagined the market for TPBs was shrinking like the monthlies, how could I since more material is published every year? I'm in strategy for a major multinational company and the idea that we'd produce more products in a shrinking market seems insane to me!

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkazaz View Post
    As to your data on sales - that was a real shock. I never imagined the market for TPBs was shrinking like the monthlies, how could I since more material is published every year? I'm in strategy for a major multinational company and the idea that we'd produce more products in a shrinking market seems insane to me!
    Hey, it's insane for those of us in a micro-market like comics, too :)

    Now, having said that, let's be fair and acknowledge that the overall bookstore market crash is PRIMARILY from the bubble popping on Manga, and that Western comics are essentially flat, which in this economy is up. But that SKU growth is radically out-performing sales velocity, that's 100% for sure.

    -B

  4. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by RolandJP View Post
    Book stores are closing due to exchange and sell book stores. they allow exchanges of gently read books in exchange for store credit. They also sale books online through Amazon.

    .
    I think this is a very good point. What I've seen survive in the music and book store biz is "new and used".

    There are books I've been willing to shell out ten bucks for -- especially in trade for old books -- which I wouldn't shell out twenty bucks for; and whole series that show up in the used store which are tempting at the 1/3 to 1/2 price because you've got the whole read, and a more-or-less guarantee of getting half your money back on return to spend on more books later on.

    "Return for trade" gives you something very like double the money you spent; you've paid half-price; so your ten dollars comes out looking a lot like forty (or thirty once you take the sales tax into consideration). For somebody who reads a whole helluva lot, and likes to keep a huge collection in turnover, that's an unassailable deal. Especially with the high ticket items.

    Of course, it's also killing the goose, because new and used stores can't get in or display as much new stock. But then again, maybe being pickier isn't such a bad idea.
    one of the highest principles of America is that we're a nation of people from different backgrounds living in equal dignity and mutual loyalty - Eboo Patel.

  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkazaz View Post
    As to your data on sales - that was a real shock. I never imagined the market for TPBs was shrinking like the monthlies, how could I since more material is published every year? I'm in strategy for a major multinational company and the idea that we'd produce more products in a shrinking market seems insane to me!
    As far as I can see, from a business analysis point of view, media companies in general are poor at analysis, strategy, etc. Modelling might be nonexistent. :)

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluetyson View Post
    As far as I can see, from a business analysis point of view, media companies in general are poor at analysis, strategy, etc. Modelling might be nonexistent. :)
    Indeed! It has to be, that's the only explanation!

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkazaz View Post

    This is something that stores have zero power over and cannot be blamed. If marvel choose to cross their most popular books over to their least popular ones, it forces the store to order at least some of them. A friend tried to radically prune the number of titles he ordered in his store and it was a complete disaster since fans couldn't get what they wanted and switched en mass to competitors.
    .
    I suspected that would probably be the result and certainly is a problem. Maybe it's different in the States but here in the UK outside of London very few places have more than one store. Couldn't stores just order copies when there's a crossover.

    Going by the diamond sales figures the crossover books may get a lift in sales but they don't always sell as much as all the others which suggests that it not all buyers would miss the titles.

    And what about mini-series you could cut those.

    If copies are really selling 1 or 2 copies would they really be missed?

  8. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBR News View Post
    Can you imagine a TV show succeeding with the kind of stop-and-start, constant change-in-scheduling kind of production that we have in comics? No, the mass audience wouldn't be interested in those kinds of shenanigans.
    I can only think of one TV show that can be used as an example, and that's about 25 years old: MOONLIGHTING. The first season consisted of 6 episodes - as a mid-season replacement, that's probably what was intended. The fifth (and last) season had 13 episodes - which is probably normal for a show that was cancelled partway through the season. However, at a time when 22-episode seasons were the norm, the three seasons in between had at most 18 episodes. While some would point to various storyline or creative issues, it's not unreasonable to assume that this played a part in the show's decline and cancellation.

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by poneley View Post
    Two points-

    2. The trade-waiting game. I get the feeling that both Marvel and DC have this weird "step-child" vibe with their TPB and HCs. What I mean is that both publishers seem to have upped the output on these items but not the promotion. I keep steady track of the TPBs and HCs I want and I pull them when Previews comes out. But I think I'm a rarity for this. Just like Marvel and DC go to CBR and Newsarama to hype their newest monthly book, why can't they hype a worthwhile TPB or HC that'll get released in a few days? Just a thought
    I do this too. I still read monthlies but also have alot of titles that I read in trade. I order through DCBS, so every month I load up on my monthlies, and fill in my budget with whatever trades I want. Usually my budget fills up with trades of the series I'm collecting, but when it doesn't I'll go in for something special like a Hellboy Library Edition or Deluxe JLA, or an Absolute. Whatever can't fit into my budget for that month just goes on my Amazon Wish List, which people pull from for Christmas and birthday gifts, or that I load up on when I get gift cards.

  10. #85
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    While I find 'state of the industry' discussions very interesting and Brians column fascinating the recurring problem I find is the number of people so steeped in nostalgia for the mythical golden age of when they were young that they can't have an honest discussion about the state of the industry. I don't run a comic store and have never worked in one but for all those people who think the stuff being produced today by the Big 2 are uniformly crap I'd like you to take a good honest look at the work from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and today. There is (of course) plenty to complain about and I have my own personal opinion about what I think is good and what i think is crap (which I don't want to mention because it will turn into a flame war with those who disagree), but I read comics when I was younger and i can say that as a whole the standard of art and writing is infinitely better. I mean when I go through my long boxes I have a lot of affection for what i am reading but the standard of the craft is on the whole (please note my use of that phrase) better today. Take off the rose tinted glasses. Now if you can't do that fine, but if comics are making you that upset just stop reading them. seriously. if you get no joy form the hobby then just stop. For your sake. I mean I get upset the way some people get upset here about comics about politics because politics affects every part of my life and there is no escaping it. Comics are supposed to be a fun hobby. The venom and vitriol (not to mention the egotism and narcissism) of the people who think they have all the answers and have the mentality that "everything would be better if I ran the show" makes comics a sadder place for everyone.
    That's just my two cents. Take it as you will.

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by usroycow View Post
    I have been a dedicated reader of comics for almost 25 years. Marvel lost me in the 90's and I held on to Batman at DC until last year. With the death of Bruce Wayne and no end in sight of Event-o-Rama, I just said "screw it" and went cold turkey. I now buy the same amount of books all from Dark Horse (Yayy Hellboy!!!), Vertigo (yes I know its DC, but its not Universe books) and many independent publishers. I do rely on trades and I do buy them from Amazon and EBAY. I visit local comic stores when I travel to shoot the breeze and see whats new. Quality gets my money every time. DC and Marvel would have my money still if they had a tight assortment of killer books. Eventually the marketing strategy will implode from the sheer volume of crap that nobody will pay money for anymore.

    I can't see how new readers are going to be attracted by content light, continuity heavy dreck.
    I've been trying to go this route for years, but can't break away from the "addiction" of having collected some of these titles for basically my whole life. I'm gradually becoming more trade and independent-heavy, but I still buy 10-12 monthlies that I just can't force myself to go "cold turkey" on.

    That said, I am really enjoying some of the stuff I'm reading monthly - Detective, Uncanny X-Force, Thunderbolts, FF - those are my favorites right now. I'm pretty much sticking with Amazing Spider-Man because it is my long-time go-to favorite character, but I have to say I'm not loving it.

  12. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbjeter View Post

    3. Stop major ground changing/continuity shifting events from happening every year. This is why I stopped reading most of my pull list. The stories are broken up and delayed because of tie-in issues to major events. Changing continuity every few years and having major events every year has gotten old. Why bother reading the major shake up when it is just going to be switched in a couple of months because the major event that is 6 issues long was delayed a few months, so the next summer event starts in just a couple of issues.
    Yeah, but as fans (myself included), we seem to eat this stuff up. And The Big 2 have said repeatedly that shakeups and events sell, so why would they change their behavior and stop doing them? I've tried to resist the siren song again and again, but whenever I swear off an event, I get sucked back in. In fact, just picked up the first 2 issues of Fear Itself and the first issue of Gates of Gotham even though a month ago I was certain I'd just catch up on them in trade IF the feedback from the community was positive.

    I think this strategy is much more sales-driven than anything else. If some of the top creators dug in and said they just wanted to tell their story for 1-2 years at a time, I think they'd have a hard time fighting that battle unless the shot callers at the Big 2 were convinced that they wouldn't miss out on the money they'd get from events and continuity shakeups. Sad but true.

  13. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by virtualmark View Post
    but for all those people who think the stuff being produced today by the Big 2 are uniformly crap I'd like you to take a good honest look at the work from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and today.
    There are elements of "the craft" today that are above and beyond most books I read in my "nostaligic" years. But what is missing for me, especially from the Big 2, is "magic". Dan Slott captured that "magic" I was craving with ASM Big Time. Erik Larsen captures that "magic" with Savage Dragon. Garth Ennis captured that "magic" with The Punisher. Brubaker and Epting captured that "magic" with Captain America & The Marvels Project. Mark Millar seems to capture that for me as well with his projects. But for the most part, I look to the creator owned indie stuff to find the "magic" I'm looking for. Stuff with heart. Stuff that communicates real ideas. Stuff that just wants to exist, despite the resistance against it. There is an energy found in that work that gets me excited.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbjeter View Post
    3. Stop major ground changing/continuity shifting events from happening every year. This is why I stopped reading most of my pull list. The stories are broken up and delayed because of tie-in issues to major events.
    This is exactly why I lost interest with Captain America (renumbering and spin-off mini series) and more recently Amazing Spider-Man (with the "death of the Human Torch" event).
    Mike Kitchen - Ultraist Studios

  14. #89
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    What with Marvel releasing all those Fear tie-ins, DC releasing 70+ Flashpoint mini-series issues followed by 50 number 1s I'd think retailers must be in a pit of despair right now!!

  15. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by briest57 View Post
    What with Marvel releasing all those Fear tie-ins, DC releasing 70+ Flashpoint mini-series issues followed by 50 number 1s I'd think retailers must be in a pit of despair right now!!
    On the plus side, a week with just two DC comics...
    one of the highest principles of America is that we're a nation of people from different backgrounds living in equal dignity and mutual loyalty - Eboo Patel.

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